Digger's Summer Survival Guide 2012

Chris Kreider Strategy: "Doug, you're fired." "Fired huh? You know what got me fired up? Chris Kreider, that's what." (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I’m not going to lie. I was really, really hoping to write this thing a week or two later than this after waking up with a glorious hangover... I guess that’ll have to wait until next year. The New York Rangers have been eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. As Ranger fans we are all wondering what the hell went wrong this past week. We’re asking ourselves the same questions over and over again; "Who the hell is Ryan Carter?", "Why is Mike Rupp on the ice?", "Was that Del Zotto again?!?", "Is this what it feels like when my soul dies?", "Can NO ONE hit the net?", "Stephen Gionta? Really?", and countless others.

After we watch the Kings destroy the Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals what the hell are we supposed to do with ourselves? Have social lives? Take care of our children? Work? Go outside? These all sound like terrible, terrible ideas that should be avoided at all costs. Thankfully we have the NHL Draft, free agency, and the Summer Olympics to look forward to. But what do we do for the rest of the summer? Join me after the jump for some helpful tips in the second annual Digger’s Summer Survival Guide.

I know that everyone has been squirming for me to write this after how the first Summer Survival Guide went over (that’s right baby, 40 comments). So let’s jump into it, how can one survive the long, brutal Rangers hockey-less summer?

Other "Sports" Strategy

Apparently there are sports other than hockey (isn’t that fucked up?) and some of them happen during the summer. There’s baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, and this year the Summer Olympics. I am sure there are a few more I could list but who really wants to watch Arena Football? The London 2012 Summer Olympics will be kind of lame because it lacks hockey, curling, and biathlon (they use guns!) but it will have some interesting sports… I guess. At the very least we’ll get to see Michael Phelps swimming instead of trying to sell us Subway or telling us all to get a Visa card. I for one am looking forward to a little bit of baseball, the remainder of the MLS season (yes, yes go ahead and mock me), and some major Olympic sports this summer as ways to try and fill the hole in my heart left by the end of the Rangers season.

Fake Hockey Strategy

Another way to try and fill that hole is to engage in the Rangers season in the virtual world, hopefully with better results than what the real team experienced. Hockey video games are a fantastic way to avoid not only leaving the house but also to avoid dwelling on this past season. I like to band up with my brothers and play random people on Xbox Live. For some reason it is ridiculously satisfying to win and absolutely humiliating, depressing, and maddening to lose. Fake hockey also presents opportunities to fulfill hopes and dreams that were dashed by poor performance, injury, and other obstacles the Rangers encountered this year. For instance, In NHL 12 one can actually score a goal with Mike Rupp, one can avoid turning the puck over three times in a period with Michael Del Zotto, and one can hit the net with Brandon Dubinsky… it truly is a world where anything and everything is possible (yes, even powerplay goals). Although it is a few months away, we can also start planning and thinking about fantasy hockey and who to draft for next season. And finally, just like I suggested to you last year, there is always the option of gathering up some Russian bears and coercing them to play hockey for our amusement.

Offseason Psychosis Strategy

This is the strategy we normally see most Ranger fans, especially loyal members of BSB, take part in. So many of us are so eager to play GM and to wheel and deal, re-sign or let players go, and to bury high-profile free agents in an avalanche of money (contractlanche!) and tell everyone why the Rangers should do it. I know we are all going to hear plenty about Alexander Semin, Zach Parise, Rick Nash, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, and all the big names out there. There is nothing wrong with playing GM a little bit, everyone gets a kick out of it every once in awhile, but let’s try and keep ideas/proposals/plans reasonable or as reasonable as they can be. Thank goodness we’ll have George around to inject some common sense and logic every once in awhile.

Blueshirt Banter Strategy

Realistically, this strategy is more or less the same as the Offseason Psychosis Strategy but has a much nicer name. One way to get through the long summer is to check up on any news, information, and/or discussion about Rangers hockey here at the Banter. The Banter is home to a wide variety of opinion, discussion, debate, and analysis and it doesn’t end with the Rangers being knocked out of the playoffs. It goes on and on forever… just like the Lord of the Rings movies, only with a lot less lembas bread and androgynous elf dudes.

Chris Kreider Strategy

This strategy is all about spending the summer talking about how excited you are about Kreider and how these playoffs were, more or less, all about him getting some playing time in the NHL without it counting against his rookie of the year push for next season. Excitement about Kreids can be used in almost any situation: "Charles, I’m pregnant… the baby isn’t yours." "If that baby was Chris Kreider’s I wouldn’t be so upset, did you see him play? Kid is going to be a monster."

Hibernation Strategy

Like I said last year another strategy is to find a cozy little cave somewhere and try to simply sleep through the summer, dreaming dreams of Rangers glory and powerplay goals. The Hibernation Strategy may or may not result in you starving to death out in the wilderness, isolated from everyone and everything you know and love. We may only hear about you when some hikers happen upon your corpse hanging out of the entrance of your cave, a tattered Rangers jersey mercifully hiding some of the horror of your decay from the eyes of the hikers. Some of you may try to blame me if something like this happens… which is why I am going to say that the Hibernation Strategy was Kevin Power’s idea all along.

Functioning Adult Strategy

You could, of course, spend your free time this summer with your family, wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, and/or friends. You could maybe find a job or a second job, take some summer classes, or maybe even try to just go a few months without caring about the New York Rangers. I would strongly advise against this strategy… taking the Rangers out of your life, even temporarily, would be like trying to breathe underwater or trying to see without the use of your eyes. Still, it is good to give people the impression that you are a functioning adult at least some of the time, so try to spend chunks of the summer being productive, seeing people, and all of that stuff. Pfft, society. Am I right?

I am probably going to be employing all of these strategies at some point during the summer. My only hope is that we can all find a way to survive those long, sticky summer nights without Rangers hockey. Some of us may turn feral and lose ourselves to savagery because we don’t have the structure of the Rangers in our lives… packs of us may wander the streets, suddenly lusting for human brains, blood, or flesh as a dangerous, mindless pack of predators trying desperately to fill the void in our souls with succulent, tender human meat… but I urge all of you to remain vigilant and try your best to hold on until preseason hockey or the first free agent signing. However you spend your summer I hope it will be a time of rest, laughter, and relaxation spent with those people you love and enjoy most.

So, how will you be spending the summer?

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