Hi, my name is Renato Hopp, I'm from Brazil and I have been a Rangers fan since 1998 when I started watching hockey. This is my first fanpost.
That said, I have not seen promise and deliver night by Messier in 1994, or the same guy lifiting the Stanley Cup a few weeks later ending the 54-year drought, or the other series against heated rivals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs like the Eastern Conference Finals against the Flyers in 1997. No, I have not seen Gretzky and Messier playing together as well. When I started following (and rooting) for this team we pretty much sucked, badly.
I have, however, watched Ron Low's team, the Lindros signing, Holik coming to town, Slats as head coach, the 2004-05 lockout, Jagr scoring galore, Hank blossoming as our No. 1 goalie (Thank God for that or it would be Kevin Weekes, sigh...). But I have never seen this team as real contenders, even when people said they were.
However, I am not here to make a cold recap on that season just for the sake of it. The NYR intertwinned with my life eversince I started rooting for them and it would be unfair to do just a recap of games. The 2011-12 season was the best ever, because it was also the best moment of my life. I'll tell the story and hope you guys are patient enough to go through it.
When the Rangers were eliminated from the '11 playoffs (screw you Jason Chimera), I was following the game on my cell phone and could not even watch it. I saw 3-0, then I saw 3-3, and boom, double OT, 3-4 caps (read last parenthesis). The end of that season coincided with me moving to Wales, where I watched Chara lifting the cup. A few weeks later I met her (this is when the story starts to swing for more of a love story) - Catherine. She was the sweetest girl on earth and we started going out and about. Summer was great (Hey, does anyone remember the Brad Richards signing?). We fell in love. I was as happy as I could ever be.
As I was in Wales, I got a ticket to watch the Rangers play the Ducks in Sweden. Boy was that a hell of a game. Brad Richards tying the game late with that amazing goal. It was a shame Hank couldn't get the win in front of his home crowd. I had a ton of fun in that game though. We were very happy together as well. The Rangers came out with 2 points from that trip, I came up with a true feeling for Rangers hockey and Cat.
Back to North America the Rangers played in Canada and did pretty well on that trip (Lundqvist robbing the Canucks game for a shutout, anyone?). And a few days later, while watching the Rangers actually lose that heartbreaking one to the Sens on the skills competition, I heard a thing I won't really forget. Cat sat on the couch with me and I asked her if the game was bothering her. She said "You like hockey, I like you."
We continued on a hot streak (Rangers and me), except for a few bad bounces (Bell Centre is not a good place to go). But I remember watching games late at night in the UK after being with Cat, especially Islanders games (Dubi ending his cold streak). It was so cool. The Coyotes game I missed, but it was one of the few ones due to being really late.
For the Winter Classic against Philly we were in Copenhagen. For the 0-2 Philly we were not in, but after we started following the game it turned around (In your face, Danny Briere). It was magical, it was cool, it was absolutely fantastic (me and her together and the game result of course).
January was a cool month where we beat the Pens and continued to beat Boston. In February I had to go back to Brazil, but me and Cat decided to keep long distance. Everyday talking on googlechat even during the games. I remember talking to her during wins and losses. Every win I got even happier, every loss she made me less sad. Especially on Cally's birthday we were talking while I watched the game, and then he scores the overtime winner, Boy was that cool!
Came playoff time and she stuck with me during Sens games, heartbreaking game 2 loss especially. When Dubi did that thing to the Gatorade bucket, it was cool. I never said a thing to her. The Washington series, she kept me awake during that boring 3rd period of game 3 (only for me to be able to watch one of the greatest games ever with that Gabby 3OT goal). She was also around when Richards tied game 5 and Stall won it. We were back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
That was a pain. Real heartbreaking to lose to the Empty Seat Redshirts. I won't forget though what a marvellous season that was. It had everything.
We broke up a few months later, during the lockout. I still love hockey, I still love Cat. I hope the Rangers can have a nice season like '11-'12 once again. I hope I can have a season like '11-'12 once again. It was the best season ever.
I don't think Cat will ever read this post, I won't tell her it is here (she lives in the UK in case anyone want's to play cupid and warn her lol). I just thank life (God? Hecuba?) for giving me the best season ever. And hope Slats can rebuild this team, and that I can rebuild my relationship with her.
Thanks guys, and LET'S GO RANGERS!!!!