Monday, June 16, 2014

The Continuation of the Quest

It was the wee small hours of the morning - in our time zone at least - on Saturday June 14 when the NHL season came to an end.  This season ended in a manner analogous to most seasons for those of us who root for the New York Rangers, which is to say it ended without the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup.  However, this season - while analogous to many seasons past - was far from identical to them for this Rangers team, long on grit and full of heart, did something that no Rangers team had done since 1994.  They played their way all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

There are those among my Rangers-rooting brethren who shall lay the blame for their defeat in five games at the sticks and skates of the Los Angeles Kings squarely at the feet of the officials.  Respectfully, they would be wrong.  The Rangers lost to a superior hockey team.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  In three of the five games, including two of the three games that were played in Los Angeles, the Rangers carried a lead into the third period, which lead they relinquished and which relinquishment resulted in overtime.  A team cannot win a best-of-seven playoff series - irrespective of its heart and its determination - if it cannot protect third-period leads.  The Rangers could not and, consequently, the Rangers did not.  Win that is.

At first glance, it would appear that a five-game series is at the very least suggestive of a series that was one-sided and non-competitive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Games One, Two, Four and Five were all one-goal affairs.  Of those four, three of them (Games One, Two and Five) all went to overtime.  And of the three that went into an overtime period, two of them (Game Two and the last game - Game Five) went into double overtime.  The two teams played enough "bonus hockey" that in five games they played the equivalent of six full games and two-thirds of a seventh. 

So, yet another Rangers season has drawn to a close.  And it has done so without Lord Stanley's wine goblet taking up residency at the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan.  What does that mean?  Nothing other than when the puck drops on the 2014-15 regular season in early October, the Rangers will resume their quest to capture the franchise's third Stanley Cup in the past seventy-five years.  And those of us who root like hell for them will be along for the ride, knowing that it is more likely than not that they shall fall short of their quest and in doing so shall break our hearts at least just a little bit along the way, but nevertheless hoping against hope that this year will be THE YEAR.   Logical?  Of course not.  But the heart wants what the heart wants.

And in the interim, we will continue to not only accept a year such as this one but to embrace it.  For when you root, root, root for the Broadway Blueshirts there simply is no other way.


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