Final Thoughts On The New York Rangers 2011-2012 Season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 02: The New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2 during the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on January 2, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Well, it's over. Took me until today to really admit it, and fully come to an understanding with that fact, but it's over. The team that I, and I'm sure many of you, thought was destined to hold the Stanley Cup and send this site, and New York into a frenzy lost to the New Jersey Devils in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The problem with the way that the season ended for the Rangers is that it just ended. That may not seem to make sense to many, but there was no time to feel like the season was about to end. The Rangers seemed to have the momentum and needed one goal to force a game seven at home. Less than two minutes in to the first overtime and the puck went into the net. Over. Done. Finished. Not just the game, not just the series, but the season.

Every single game I watched during the season went down the drain in the moment the goal was scored. I couldn't believe it, and I knew immediately I should not write an article because it would be an emotional mess, the equivalent to a breakup letter with an ex. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the team, and until now I haven't been able to truly appreciate this season.

The season was amazing. The Rangers were expected to be a 4-6 seed and get bounced out in the second round. Instead, the Rangers won two seven game series, won the regular season Eastern Conference title, finally got out of the first round, finally beat the Capitals in the playoffs, won the Winter Classic, were stars of a television series, and saw players breakout, including one in the playoffs.

What a season.

Follow me for more after the jump

Again, what a season.

There are so many positive ways to look at this team in the present, but even better than that is looking at the future of this team.

Ryan Callahan stepped up as captain, Chris Kreider was a playoff hero and still has not played his first regular season NHL game, Carl Hagelin had a fantastic rookie season, Henrik Lundqvist was Henrik Lundqvist, and the defense was phenomenal.

No, the Rangers did not win the 2012 Stanley Cup. No, we will never be able to look back at this season and say "this was the team that won the Championship."

Still, this team was a team of champions.

Except you, Stu Bickel. What a ridiculous name.

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