I'm so proud of this team....a reflection on Ranger-domJune 4, 2014 at 2:28am PublicFriendsOnly MeCustomWalter Panas High SchoolFamilyGo Back
A friend of mine who hates the Rangers said he can't wait for me to put up a consolation status for when the Blueshirts lose. I don't think he foresaw them getting to the finals, though. This status would inevitably include sentiments of how proud I am of them and all that. He promised to mock it, and in keeping with our tradition since about 1993, I would expect no less from him. However, in the interest of fuck you, I am going to throw him a curve ball and I'm going to do it now. Whatever happens over the course of these Finals, I just want to say that I am gushing with pride over this team. Cause no matter how many band-wagon fans there are – and there are a lot – there are guys like me. Many of you out there who comment on my frantic posts are true blue Ranger fans, and together we have suffered with this team for YEARS.
In fact, let’s take a little trip down Ranger-fan lane and look at just how harrowing it has been. In 1988 I became indoctrinated and began my odyssey as a connoisseur of the boys of 34th St. It was not long before I learned of the Curse. In those days, as a kid, time stretches out and the present is all. Each fruitless spring punctuated the 50 odd years without a Cup. ‘1940’ chants and the derisive laughter of Islander fans . . . it was tough. And then Mark Messier swooped in. With Leetch, Richter, Graves, Kovalev, and Zubov we climbed the mountain with a little help from some Oilers and some Blackhawks. No more curse.
But the euphoria of that win quickly faded. Keenan bolted, and Neil Smith groped for answers, beating the same drum by trading away our youth for aging, useless vets. I was there when Brian Skrudland and Mike Keane were our top free agent signings. I was there when they traded Leetch, when shit could get no worse. I suffered through seven straight April break-up days. I watched Kamensky, Holik, Ulanov, Karpa, Malahkov, Quintal, Lefebvre, Bure, Lindros, Fleury, and a host of others sign massive contracts and either flounder, get miscast with the wrong guys, or prove to be the injury prone has-beens we all knew they were.
Then came the 2004 lock-out and the salary cap. James Dolan and Glen Sather were forced to get smart, to build from within. There were many hiccups. But suddenly we were turning those piles of shit (Scott Gomez) into (#) 27 Mack Trucks worth of gold. We lucked out with Henrik Lundqvist. No doubt – a seventh round draft pick wears the crown folks; seventh round.
Now lo and behold we’ve found the right coach and the right mix of players and we find ourselves on the precipice of greatness. One more hill to climb baby… but it isn’t Mt. Vancouver, i.e some upstart team no one expected. It’s the L.A. Kings. They’re deep; they’re big, and they’ve done this before. Christ, I think ¾’s of their fingerprints are still on the goddamn Cup.
It’s going to be brutally hard. But you look at this team, our Rangers, and you tell me that they don’t deserve to be where they are. This is no fluke, folks. This team is a unit – bonded by tragedy, united by desire to WIN. Look no further than Hank. He may be a fashionista, he may be prettier than most women, but when it comes to keeping pucks out of that net he is a tyrant. A man with a will of iron. And it’s infectious. Marty St. Louis returned the day after his mother died. He scored a goal on Mother’s Day. You can’t motivate yourself, fellow New York Ranger? What’s your excuse? This team has no excuses. Dominic Moore takes a year off of hockey – again from tragedy. He comes back and would ya look what this kid has done in the big dance?
Look who we’ve beaten. The Flyers are our mortal enemies, but you know what? It’s hard to truly hate them after the next two circus acts we faced. We fell down 3 games to 1 to Pittsburgh. Gloating, darling Pittsburgh. Smug bastards….sneaky, crying, whining; we broke their hearts with our heavy ones. And we didn’t just send Sidney Crosby home to his mother, sniffling and crying. We sent shockwaves through that whole fucking franchise. We humiliated them.
And Montreal? Jesus Christmas . . . I used to wonder why the Bruins fans hated them so much. Now I see why. You’d think we were playing soccer or auditioning for a Broadway play. I’ve never seen so much diving and acting in my life. It’s a disgrace to hockey. And guess what? We sent them home too; butt-hurt and embarrassed that they wasted the marvelous effort of Dustin Tokarski (who??) with all of their antics.
We’re the good guys, folks. Sure we’re not saints. Carcillo should never have gotten physical with a linesman, but guess what, they just lowered his suspension. When the hell have they ever done that before? But goddamn it we are the GOOD GUYS. No whining, no bitching, just honest to goodness hockey; played right. Played like RANGERS….the post lock-out Rangers; walking with the pride Mark Messier himself instilled the day he picked that sweater up off the floor and told the locker room it must never be dropped. Never be cast down like some jockstrap.
I don’t know what’s gonna happen later on tonight. Right now I don’t care. This post isn’t about that. This is in response to my good old Devil fan buddy, who’s always so quick to remind me of that one Cup in 73 years. Always so quick to remind me of his own team’s (now long-gone) success. You’re right pal. To paraphrase Marty St. Louis "I’m so fucking proud to be a New York Ranger right now."
It’s true. By puck-drop tomorrow, of course, I’ll be back to the drooling, rocking back-and-forth mental patient that constitutes the Ranger fan. I just needed to get this out of my system.
Now for fuck’s sake let’s go out there and win this thing. Let’s do it for France. Let’s do it for Katie….LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!