The Search for More Contributors: Rangers

It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, there are in fact, more than 10 hockey fans. Thanks to an early announcement, we have been flooded by requests to join the MYFO ranks to represent their team. This all makes for great theatre and quality posts that involve little or no work, so Raskolnikov can stop punishing himself now, but I think he kind of likes it. All this week we here at MYFO will be bringing to you the best applications we have received, so let us know what you think: do these guys suck, should we keep them around for good, do you want to see more before making a decision, or do you think you can do better? If you want to give this thing a whirl, email me at LButler36@Gmail.com.

Today: J Money – New York Rangers

Why My Team is Better Than Yours: New York Rangers

rangerssalute.jpg

Passion, baby, passion. That’s why my team is better than your team. Blueshirt pride and passion! And lots and lots of money.

That used to be the way the Rangers did business. They were a New York team with New York pockets and among the highest ticket prices in hockey to back up their free-spending ways. But with the Yankees just 120 blocks North spending money and actually winning, the Rangers spent the halcyon years of Messier, Leetch, Graves and Richter (and eventually the final productivity of Gretzky) flailing around in the bottom of the Eastern Conference not making the playoffs.

For seven god-forsaken years.

Being a New York fan my entire life, I’ve never been a huge proponent of salary caps. I realize it makes things more fair but who cares about fairness when you can outspend everybody! Wheeeee!!

But the lockout and ensuing new collective bargaining agreement, wherein the Player’s Association got bent over a barrel, led the Rangers in a new direction. They had to actually build from within and look to youth. Gasp.

The fan support hadn’t really waned, I wouldn’t say, but the fans were fed up with the mediocrity and we had become more bitter than we were before the ’94 Cup. We knew the bottom would fall out of any hope and shoes would drop and other such metaphors. When the Rangers didn’t make the playoffs year after year, we got used to it. I even considered giving up my tickets.

So when the team began actually playing well during the 2005-2006 season, the fans reacted with the passion they’re known for. We were so damn hungry for at least a taste of success that we ate it up voraciously. (Now I’m doing eating metaphors.)

Sure, that season ended with an awful sweep at the hands of the fan-less slugs from across the river, but it was still a 100-point season and a HUGE step in the right direction. The 06-07 season saw the team sag under increased expectations, and be on the outside of the playoff group looking in with about two months to go. Only they then did the opposite of what they’d done for years – they actually lived up to that “Hey, if we play .700 hockey from here on, we’ll get in” thing that all hopefuls say in those final weeks. They went on a tear that they rode into the playoffs, sweeping the Thrashers to the delight of their fans, and giving the Sabres a serious fight before losing the series (but ultimately winning the war by stealing Drury).

So why is my team better than yours? I could go on forever (and usually do), but I’ll just list some of my favorite reasons.

The Goal Song. If you’ve been to a game at the Garden and seen the Rangers score a goal, you know this song. I remember as a kid describing how great hockey was because whenever a goal was scored, it was like a party happened for a couple of minutes. I later learned not every arena was as boisterous, but in the Garden everyone is out of their seat high-fiving their seatmates (who become friends over the season) and within seconds “The Goal Song” comes on and the chanting begins. It’s hard to explain in print but go do a search on the Rangers Goal Song (or listen on this video) and you’ll get the idea. I think you can get it on MySpace Music… you know, if you’re into MySpace, and stalking 14 year old girls. Not that I am. Damn private profiles.

Potvin Sucks.” Dennis Potvin played for the Islanders in the 70s and 80s. The Rangers had a young European star named Ulf Nilsson. In February 1979, Potvin checked Nilsson hard along the boards – Nilsson’s skate got caught in a rut in the shitty Garden ice and his ankle broke kind of grotesquely. It was more the Garden’s ice than anything, but that was it for Potvin. The fans hated him with renewed vigor and, whenever the Garden organ would play “Let’s Go Band” the fans would punctuate the end with “Potvin Sucks!” instead of “Let’s go band!” The organ long ago stopped playing this tune and instead fans will whistle the tune at random times throughout the game. At the end, everyone will do the “Potvin sucks” chant. It’s amazing that it’s so consistent and there is NEVER a game that goes by without it happening. I remember asking my dad what they were saying when I was a tyke and him saying, “They’re saying Potvin…and then a nasty word.” And now I hear kids asking THEIR dads about it. Such a wonderful tradition, passed from father to son, over Bud Lights.

Tom Renney. Tom Renney is the man. There’s no other way to say it. He’s as even-keeled as they come. Even when the Rangers looked dead last February, he stayed the course and never sounded overwhelmed. And when they play winning hockey, he’ll often say during a press conference of a 5-2 win, “I didn’t love our second period.” I love that stuff, when a coach enjoys winning but won’t allow himself to be blind to the things they need to continue. Renney is perfect for New York in that he simply knows how to coach a young hockey team that is sprinkled with veterans, the guys respect him (Jagr says he’s the best coach he’s ever played for) and he has a sense of humor. And as calm, polite and professional as Renney is, I also love that he can sometimes be caught being…less than mild-mannered.

The Salute to the Fans. In Europe, it’s common to salute your fans after games. It’s not so common in me-first, athlete-centric North America. Yet after a fifteen-round shootout win against the Capitals in November 2005 (a game that prompted me to write a letter to Tom Renney thanking him profusely for simply putting a team out there that hustles and works hard), the team gathered at center ice and raised their sticks to the fans. I hadn’t heard the Garden that excited in many, many years (remember, no playoffs had been seen there in eight years at this point) and it was only November, which shows how much we wanted to see decent hockey. When the Rangers pulled out the win on Marek Malik’s ridiculous goal, the Rangers recognized the ballistic crowd by doing their center-ice salute for the first time. From then on, it’s been done after every home win as well as at the conclusion of each of the past two years’ playoff runs. The deafening ovations to those two teams (’06 and ’07) show how amazing New York fans can be – and it doesn’t only come after titles. It can also come as a young team grows up and continues to hustle, work hard and improve.

Sure, I could talk about Jagr’s career resurgence, 50-goal skills, and acceptance of the captain’s C. I could talk about Shanahan coming to New York and eating it up, loving the fans and being what a true leader and veteran is all about. Or I could talk about how damn giddy many fans are about the future of this team, with a 24-year-old goalie in Lundqvist and youth all over the place on this team. Or I could talk about how Drury and possibly Gomez (who I’m not yet sold on) could be the final pieces to a really deep playoff run.

But it’s more fun to yell about how much Potvin sucks. I can’t wait for hockey season.

Advertisements

10 Comments

  1. you mean 8 years. the rangers didnt make the playoffs in ’06 (people try to tell me otherwise, but i swear the devils had a first round bye)

    and that goal song sucks

  2. Chris Drury: American Hero.

    Chris Drury: Has never won shit in the NHL without JOE SAKIC.

    Afino: Bitter.

  3. To Baba or anyone else that may take that the wrong way: that’s not meant as an Avs bashing comment, merely yet another ode to the greatness of Sakic.

    He’s my favorite player of all time too.

  4. Nah, fuck Joe Sakic.

  5. Well the Rangers fans still got shouted down at MSG by Sabres fans whenever the Sabres came to play last year so I am looking forward to that at least…..

  6. Don’t discount Drury’s clutch performance in the LLWS.
    USA! USA! USA!

  7. it’s time to let the Potvin whistle die, live in the now. The D really tightened it up at the end of last season, Rachunek wasn’t getting caught as much–he’s too skilled to be playing sloppy at the blue line, he’s Newark Devil now so I guess it doesn’t matter. Fedor Tyutin was the only rock on D for a while, if they can improve on that and keep bodies away from the front of the net while staying proactive on the forecheck they will compete at the level everyone expects. It’d be nice if the trust fund/NYC commuter crowd to show up to fill their seats during the regular season instead of just showing up in the playoffs. It’s like the Berlin wall starts at the 200 level with everyone above and no one below.

  8. Wow, there really are some clueless people out there. “trust fund/NYC commuter crowd”? Uhhh, try going to a game once in a while, champ. I guess it’s a good sign when the haters are back out again… must be doing something right. The Garden is deafening. Good luck putting anyone in Prudential Arena.

    As for your analysis of the D, I think Michael Rosival might be worth mentioning there, too. He was their “rock” all season and logged huge minutes each of the past two seasons.

    As for the Potvin whistle (and the clown above who says the goal song sucks), that’s called a “tradition.” See the loser Devils wouldn’t know about traditions since their goal song until last season was still that awful Gary Glitter “hey” song — real clever! Only twenty years late to the game on that one. And let’s see…. if you attend a Devils game (hey, plenty of good seats ALWAYS available — even in the playoffs), you’ll hear that same Potvin whistle-chant there… only at the end, they say “Rangers suck!” So they’re SO unclever, they steal chants from other places to make fun of the teams they wish they could be.

    Can’t wait for hockey.

  9. Got a clue the last two seasons by being there.

    -champ

  10. Jagr played for Bob Johnson, Scotty Bowman, Herb Brooks, Ivan Hlinka and Rick fucking Kehoe! (laugh track)

    Seriously, though, might he not be drinking a little too much hyperbole juice as far as Renney’s concerned?


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s