Take a second. Reread that, and just bask in it. I feel like I'm still floating. We've come so far, and we're now four wins away from the unthinkable. I've always felt that if the Rangers could get to the last dance Henrik would find a way to bring it home, and soon we will see if that is the case. It's been an incredible journey, the pinnacle of these past 5-7 years of renewed focus on the roster. From the Cally/Duby/Arty days to MSL sniping that wrister over Tokarski's glove in Game 4, we've gone through a lot as fans.
I've never played hockey, though I've watched the Rangers for as long as I can remember. I was 4 years old when the Rangers won in 1994, and though I remember the players I don't remember the event. I found this site sometime in 2009 I believe. I've learned so much from everybody here at BSB, and as a non-hockey-player it's great to get insight from the folks on here who really know the game. I remain of the opinion that this is an absolutely stellar website, and my favorite place to talk/read about the Rangers, hockey, sports, or just about anything. Everyone here is incredible, and I would again like to offer my thanks to all of you for being tremendous.
Anyhow, I would like to discuss this wonderful opportunity the Rangers have in front of them. Regardless of the result, this year can be labeled a success. If we don't win this upcoming series, the team will still benefit from excellent playoff experience and a renewed faith in each other. I like our chances next season, with a whole offseason/regular season of having MSL around.
That being said, these chances don't come around every day, and this is our best chance to take home the Cup. If we do it, if we win the championship this year, I see an immensely bright future for the next 5 years or so. Taking what I said above into consideration, I like the future regardless of this series' outcome, but the positives of winning this season would propel this franchise into the future with all the momentum of a Saturn V rocket. Think of the teams that have won the Cup for the past 5 years or so. Chicago. LA. Boston. Pittsburgh. All of these teams remain perennial contenders, mostly because they have kept the core of those championship teams intact. And those core players have scaled the mountain. They know what it takes, and they know that they can depend on each other when it matters most. They know this because they've done it before, and this confidence buoys their already impressive skills.
Hank isn't going anywhere, and we've got a great window in front of us for the next 5 years or so to chase championships behind (or in front of) the greatest goaltender in the world. If we can win the Cup this year, the core of this team will have the benefit of the aforementioned championship mentality for that upcoming 5 year window. I believe that would enhance our team so much more, and that it could help the Rangers capture multiple championships in the near future. Taking our team as it is now, with youth, speed, savvy vets, and an elite goaltender, and adding to it the experience of winning a championship, creates a very, very dangerous squad. Hank, McD, Nasher, Kreids... Imagine how sound these guys will be mentally knowing that they've won a Cup together...
The fact is that this playoff run will help this franchise, win or lose, but the benefits of victory could be extraordinarily fruitful. As a fan, I want them to win so badly it almost hurts. I'm lucky to be a Yankees and Giants fan (a Knicks fan too, but that's unlucky lol) and I've experienced so many great moments with both of them. But I've never seen the Rangers win the Cup (in my memory). To see Henrik lift that great silver chalice... It would be really emotional, considering all we've been through with this team over the years.
So I close in saying that there's a bright future ahead for this team, but that future would be all the brighter if illuminated by the gleam of Lord Stanley's Cup in 2014.
Thanks for reading. LET'S GO RANGERS! WE WANT THE CUP!