The New York Rangers are like a member of my family. I love them in a way that cannot be compared or explained. It's unconditional. I will love them no matter what happens, which I've only recently realized is something I can't say about many of the people I'm closest to. That's not to say that I don't have friends I wouldn't do anything for, let's just put it this way:
--In 2001 the Rangers acquired Eric Lindros from the Philadelphia Flyers. This mother fucker was one of the most hated people of my youth. The Rangers could not beat the Flyers for a solid 4 years, they had our number and this piece of shit was the face of the organization. In 1997 the Flyers dominated the Rangers in the Conference Finals and that series loss still stands as the most depressing loss I've ever felt from a game I wasn't involved in. And Lindros was at his best in that series. Then, after concussion problems, with everyone under the general agreement that his career was pretty much over, the Rangers traded for him. And they traded three great young guys for him, two of them are still in the NHL I think (Kim Johnsson and Jan Hlavac). It's your girlfriend sleeping with your enemy and then telling you how great it was. And I accepted it. I tried to like Eric Lindros. This shit would not stand if it were anyone else. I will always love this team.
And today I watched a stream of their last regular season game today. They win and they get the eighth spot in the playoffs, they lose and that's it. That big game that only happens in lame sports movies [question: have you ever noticed how in baseball movies the last game is always for the pennant and not the World Series? Check it. Major League, Angels In The Outfield, Rookie of The Year. Why is that?]. Henrik Lunqvist was unbelievable, 46 saves. Jody Shelley stepped up and scored the lone Rangers goal, his second of the season and the Rangers' 4th line was easily the best line on the ice for either team. Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik, Wade Redden, Michael Rosival, Ollie Jokinen--these guys who are making millions of dollars to carry this team--were complete non-factors. A couple had decent games, but not by the standards their contracts should hold them to.
And this game was a personification of every Rangers team since 2000 sans 2007 when they went to the Conference SemiFinals. Great goaltending (which wasn't really consistent til 2006), a couple role guys step up with big goals, and disappointing performances by the big names. This team has been built around big name mother fuckers that they bring in and pay a ridiculous amount of money to and get no results. Theo Fluery, Valerie Kamensky, Lindros, Jaromir Jagr (the one exception), Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik (who had a solid year, but was no where to be found today).
The formula doesn't work and I'm sick of all these attempts to try and make it happen. They need to fully rebuild. Their lineup is so top-heavy. All anyone needs to do is shut down the first two lines and they're fine. My favorite players for the past ten years (with the exception of King Henry) have been guys like Jed Ortmeyer, Blair Betts (now a Flyer, haha), Peter Pruca, Ryan Hollweg, Michael Nylander, Ryan Callahan. Guys that are carrying their weight in any way they can and producing while the spotlight is on the guys pissing their pants under the pressure. It's ridiculous and I'm not happy.
A change needs to happen and his name is Glen Sather. I want my team back, I want character. I want Mark Messier and Adam Graves and Pat Verbeek and Darren Langdon and Kim Johnsson.