Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Will the Wolf Survive?

To be a fan of the New York Rangers is to be well-versed in the ways of suffering.  It was on this very date, seventy-six years ago, that Bryan Hextall scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs (in overtime no less) in Game Six of the 1940 Finals.  The Rangers captured the Stanley Cup that year in spite of having had to play Games Three through Six in Toronto.  Madison Square Garden was unavailable to them after Game Two because the circus was in town.  Pachyderms were a sure thing for the makers of the MSG events calendar.  The Rangers needing the building to play in the Stanley Cup Finals?  Not so much.  

In the seventy-six years since, our beloved Blueshirts have won exactly one Stanley Cup. If I live to one hundred, I may not live long enough to see them win another.  But even if I live to be one hundred, I shall never forget the sound of Sam Rosen's voice as the final few frantic seconds of Game Seven of the 1994 Cup Finals against Vancouver ticked off of the clock.  How great a moment was it?  Ask Mark Messier.  

Being a Rangers fan is something akin to being an Irishman.  If you do not know that at day's end, the world is more likely than not going to break your heart then you simply are not paying close enough attention.  Tonight in Pittsburgh, the Rangers begin their first-round playoff series against the Penguins.  In the past four seasons, the Rangers have played in the Eastern Conference Finals three times and, in 2014, they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  The odds against them making a deep run this Spring seem longer than they have the past several years.  It will be an accomplishment of considerable significance for them to vanquish Pittsburgh and advance to the second round where, presuming I understand the NHL's playoff bracket correctly,   

Tonight it all begins anew once more.  It all begins anew.  So here is to hoping that the Blueshirts take the words of Keith Yandle to heart (and if you are a Rangers fan, then his piece in The Players' Tribune is an eminently worthwhile read).  Let's go to work, gentlemen...

...for it is time to feed the wolf. 


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