It is kind of fitting that the 2008-2009 New York Ranger season come down to one game. I say this because ever since February 1st, 2009, none of us knew what Ranger team would show up for the scheduled game that night. Would it be the team who shot out of the gate in October who outskated and outplayed teams for 10 wins out of 13 games? Or the team who for the majority of the second half of the season who couldn't finish to save their lives? Or would it be my personal favorite (jokes), the team who would grab a lead in the early periods; choke it late, and then win it in a shootout?
Frustrating, I agree. But this season has had so many highs and so many lows, which is what makes the Rangers so entertaining that some nights we're jumping for joy and other nights we are pulling our hair out. The one thing we do know is that these boys in blue do have it in them. If the right team shows up tonight, it will be a fight to the end. If the wrong team shows up, we will all know in about five minutes like I have said before.
But why should we put the faith in Blueshirt Faithful tonight? Let's first take a look at what Chris Drury had to say about going into Game 7:
"We've been booed at home, we changed coaches at midseason, now we've got to go play a Game 7 on the road," Chris Drury said. "Given what this group has been through, we should be ready for anything." - Rick Carpinielo; Rangers Report.
So why should we believe in this team tonight, and not just hope the right one shows up? Well listen up kids (My personal Don Cherry moment): it's not all about winning. Easy to say, not as easy to believe, trust me. I'm all about winning because I hate losing and I hate messing up. But the Rangers and the sport of hockey in general all give us something unique, and to that each his own. For me, it's something people identify me by. I'm the hockey guy. I have no problem with this because ever since I left competitive hockey the Rangers have given me a link back to those days (Bar-league Club-hockey just isn't the same without hitting).
We should also believe in this team because they have not lost three games in a row in regulation all season. That's right; some OT losses, some shootout losses, but not a single three-game regulation losing streak. Does this mean we will see OT tomorrow? No, but it's possible that after two losses the boys kick each other in the butts and say let's get it going. Another reason is that King Henrik has only had two three-game slumps this year, both back in December. Since then, he has been great, so as long as he doesn't have his third slump of the year in the biggest game of the year, we may be alive tomorrow.
Look, all I'm asking you to do, the Blueshirt Faithful, is when you fixate your eyes on that TV tomorrow seconds before the puck-drop; really believe that this team can do it. To break some news to some of you, us Ranger fans have a reputation of being, oh how should I say it, extremely pessimistic. Remember all the good times and wins this team has given you this season and over the years, and hopefully we will all be partying like its 1994 all over again tonight.
No key points to winning, no plays to work on since last game, let's just believe these boys have it in them like I and all of you know they do. Let's Go Rangers.
P.S. - Here was my pick from Rinktology.org for this series: