Normally I write my Summer Survival Guide within the first few days of the Rangers' offseason, but this time around I waited until I finally felt feelings again after the Rangers were eliminated. A lot of things have felt strange and foreign since the Rangers lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. At Madison Square Garden. For the first time since the cold, silent nothingness of pre-existence was interrupted by the sudden, orchestral explosion of energy, matter, sand, pinecones, relish, and burlap that splattered onto the aforementioned pre-existence like a Pollock painting. For many years I have gone to bed knowing that no matter what happened tomorrow, I likely won't be killed with a bayonet, sharks can't get me on dry land, and Henrik Lundqvist can't lose Game 7s. The fact that one of these things is no longer true is enough to shatter any sense of security or contentedness I had. The halcyon days of our youth are gone my sweet, gentle friends. What lies ahead of us now is an entire offseason of complaints and yammering about Tanner Glass, Alain Vigneault, and people who want to share their version of next season's Rangers' roster that they put together on generalfanager.com.
So, until June 26th (the day of the NHL Draft) and July 1st (the day free agency begins and we all wait to see who signs Jesse Joensuu) we all just have to wallow in the tepid backwash of yet another Rangers season spoiled by a premature and gutting ending. How do we fill the vibrant, obnoxiously beautiful days until hockey returns to us in the fall? Well, I have a few strategies and suggestions for how we can pass the time and get through this hurricane, bug, and humidity filled season. Here is your Summer Survival Guide for 2015, I'm so sorry that you have to read another one of these.
This Summer You Can...
Believe that the Cam Talbot trade will fix everything.
Apparently the Sharks, Sabres, and Oilers are all interested in Cam Talbot, or at least someone on the internet said they were and now it's treated as if it's fact. For a lot of people, the trade bait that is Alabammy-educated Cam Talbot might just be enough to sort out the Rangers lack of talented prospects and dearth of early round draft picks, or their salary cap issues, or Alain Vigneault's suspect deployment tendencies, or Derek Stepan's hair loss.
If the Rangers do move Cam Talbot (they should), they will almost certainly do it before the NHL Draft so they can fill their pockets with draft picks today instead of draft picks for tomorrow; when Henrik Lundqvist is 39 years old and is just a traumatized husk of the man he used to be after all of the heartbreak he has had to endure over the years.
Talk about why we can/should/must trade Rick Nash because reasons.
Rick Nash can take his 42 goal regular season, second on the team in postseason scoring, nearly impossible to move $7.8 million cap hit, and his maybe-still-active-but-maybe-not NTC and get the hell off the Rangers so we can replace his offense piecemeal and take on another big contract or two and then win the Stanley Cup with someone who has a really good playoff shooting percentage. Y'know, like something higher than 4.8%. Does Ruslan Fedotenko still play? Can we trade for him?
Being a fan of Rick Nash has really lost all of its splendor, but unfortunately I just can't quit the guy. As alone as I feel in my appreciation of Nash, I know that I am not truly alone. It's similar to how I feel that itch in the back of my brain about there being intelligent life on some distant, spinning sphere. I can just feel it. I know that somewhere, under a Gazdriggidx, a daydreaming Beququi is feeling a similar itch deep within his own Vufpili-sac. Whoever you are, fellow Rick Nash appreciator, please know that you aren't alone. I'm here with you always, under the boughs of the Gazdriggidzl.
Play the "Where Are They Now?" game with former Rangers.
Did you know that Ryan Hollweg and Jozef Balej play on the same team together in the Czech Extraliga? Did you know that the entire team they play for (Plzen HC) took offensive and bizarre pictures of all of their players wearing Native American dress for their website as their official player profile pictures? Here's Hollweg. Here's Balej. Yep.
There's a lot of potential in this game, we'll go ahead and play a quick round of right now just for shits and giggles. Where do you think Steve McKenna is? Let's Google it. He coached Team Australia (the Mighty Roos) in 2007 and the last time he was on the hockey radar was when he coached HC Alleghe in Italy's Serie A hockey league. I learned so many new things with that Google search that I can't even begin to list them. The Mighty fucking Roos.
Count the number of waking nightmares you have about how good Anthony Duclair will be.
How many times have I flinched upon reading the name Cam Fowler whenever someone mentions Dylan McIlrath? I didn't think it was possible, but we might be in store for something even worse. Thus far it has only happened a few times, but every now and then I'll be riding the frothy rapids of my stream-of-consciousness and go from thinking about ear wax, to thinking about candles, to thinking about Keith Yand-DUCLAIR. DUCLAIR. The word comes out of my mouth the way water might if I coughed mid-swallow. The only thing worse than the punch you've already taken is the uppercut that you know you are going to take. Unfortunately, Anthony Duclair has the potential to be the kind of uppercut that would make a boxer change his career.
I'm trying to convince myself that he'll be a dud, and so will the Rangers' 2016 1st round pick and 2015 2nd round pick that now belong to the whatever-city-wants-them Coyotes. I'm not saying that he has to do this, but if Keith Yandle can score 20 goals next season, find a way to trade Dan Girardi, and give me the mutant powers I've always wanted, that would sure be swell and might make me feel a little bit better about every-DUCLAIR. DUCLAIR, DUCLAIR.
Take up a craft, like whittling or scrimshaw.
If you are anything like me, you are looking forward to being a rheumy-eyed, toothless old man with knuckles the size of billiard balls gently shifting your body weight back and forth to keep your rocking chair moving just the way you like it. If I had my druthers, I'd count the days down to my inevitable demise by working a rust-speckled knife across a bit of whale tooth or perhaps a piece of driftwood that is just as worn, grayed, gnarled and twisted by the cruel hands of time and nature as I am.
No? Just me? I suppose we're all different. That's what makes us all so beautiful.
Tape your eyes open and stare into the sun to facilitate an odyssey into the spirit plane.
In the spirit plane, the earth is made from the bones of Jormungand and the dead gods that our ancestors sacrificed their firstborn sons to. The sky is nothing more than the cerulean blood spilled in the heavens of the mutinous titans and demons that thought paradise could be taken by force and fury. In the spirit plane, the truth is carried swiftly in the hard, yellowed teeth of Ratatoskr warns one and all of all things noisome and belligerent. In this plane, Henrik Lundqvist sits modestly on a throne of Stanley Cups, deflecting the praise showered on him with the grace and dexterity of a nurse removing dressing from a delicate wound. Martin St. Louis scores goals there, power play goals. It is a peaceful place that is just a spirit journey or elaborate hallucination away my friends, and I shall be waiting for each and every one of you in the place where colors have both sound and taste and heartbreak is as distant and forgotten as hoop trundling and war bonds.
Well, that's just about enough of my horseshit for one day.
I hope you all have an amazing summer filled with good health, good food, friends, family, and all of that malarkey. I look forward to finding a way to survive the offseason with you guys here at Blueshirt Banter and talking about hockey while trying not to fall asleep from the smothering blanket that is heat humidity and the never-ending baseball season. You may all now start putting together your fucking pipedream rosters, salary cap-defying free agent signings, and irrational, fantastical line combinations for next season. Have a great summer, buddies.
Let's go hockey. Let's go Rangers.