You guys know the drill by now. For both the First and Second Round my father has penned an article to run in this space. In the Second Round it was used as good luck and the Rangers ended up overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now the time comes for him to write again. This is the third installment. I hope to God there will be a fourth.
I know how you all feel right now as I share all the anguish and frustration at how Game 5 unfolded. I have been a part of having season tickets since 1968 and every year there comes a point where I irrationally threaten to give them up. That happened several times Sunday night. So believe me I understand the pain of being a Ranger die-hard fan.
There is no question if the Rangers don’t make certain adjustments, this round it will be the end of the season. But let’s step back for a second and realize we are in the Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs down 3-2 and far from out of the series. But, If you asked me at the beginning of the season (or even in December for that matter) if I’d take where we are right now without knowing the end I’d have signed on the dotted line.
This team, despite its obvious flaws, has heart and guts and a desire to win that not many Rangers teams of the past have shown me. Game 3 highlighted the best and the worst we have to offer. We blow a 2 goal lead and turn it into a 2 goal deficit in a matter of minutes. But we don’t give up and miraculously tie the game up with less than 2 minutes to go after coming back to tie the game and having a back-breaking late goal scored against us. What past Rangers team does that, now for the second time in the playoffs in the same year? Remember less than two weeks ago we were less than 2 minutes away from our season ending!!! I’m certainly not saying this is the way we want to play, but this team is different than most every other one I have rooted for in my long relationship with the Rangers.
We hate AV’s style right now as we want to see more emotion, more anger, and hear all the detailed adjustments the team will make in order to get into the Stanley Cup Final. Reality check here, guys, he isn’t paid to involve us or anyone else in his plans, AV is paid to guide his team to win The Cup.
And just as we correctly bash Rick Nash who for whatever reason can’t find the back of the net, AV will ultimately be judged on his ability to win a Cup. I like him and I hate him but if he brings me the Cup he will forever have my gratitude. When people talk about Mike Keenan -- who was clearly a caustic individual who always wore out his welcome wherever he went -- I just smile and say you're right but give me another coach like that and I’ll be happy. He delivered me a Cup!!
As I said in the last series I have no ability to see how this series will end. And personally I feel more nervous than I did when we were down 3-1 against Washington because we need more complex adjustments rather than tweaks to win this series.
But I will not count this team out. And if they lose it will not be for lack of effort and for lack of desire and that is something I can live with. Not be happy but live with. And I hope to be able to write installment #4 in sometime in June.
Let’s go Rangers #heartgutsglory