In 24 short hours I will have to go from hating the Thrashers with every fiber of my being, to being at the Philips Arena cheering them on…well…also with every fiber of my being. Such is the state of the NHL, and Rangerland today. The Rangers stunk today. Nobody played well. Not Henrik, not Prust, not Dubinsky, certainly not a benched Marian Gaborik. Nobody.
But the story of this season is probably not going to be about what the Rangers did or didn’t do, it’s going to be about what the rest of the NHL did around us. Over the final 30 days of the season the Rangers, according to my math, have captured 17 out of a possible 24 points. That’s .708 hockey, or 116 points over the course of the whole season. During that time they have actually lost ground on the playoffs, slipping from 7th, to 8th and having a very tenuous grasp on the 8th place spot as of right now. It’s tough to be angry at the team when you look at it that way, in fact I feel compelled to tip my hat to the Canes for staying in it despite having a harder schedule than us during that span. They’ve played lights out hockey, and we’ve played pretty damn close to lights out hockey and still have lost ground.
People love to point to the February debacle as the reason this team may find itself out of the playoff race, but heres how I look at it…
During the February time which you say was so awful, their schedule went like this.
Lost by 1 in a shootout to the Pens
Lost by 1 to the nuclear hot Devils
Lost by 2 to the Habs including an empty netter
Lost to Detroit by 1
Lost to the Thrashers by 1
Beat Pittsburgh and the Kings
Once again lost to the nuclear hot Devils by 1
Lost to the Flyers by 2 including an empty netter
Beat Washington and Carolina
Then lost to the Bolts by 1
So the month looks awful at 4-8-1
But thats where all those bad bounces come in, how many of those games were lost by a puck going into our own net by us? Id wager almost half of them, we can go check out the scoresheets and such but i remember this team being just unbelievably unlucky during that time.
Could the season have been lost because of February? I suppose, but the fact is, this team actually played really close hockey against red hot teams and teams that were way up there in teh standings, they also were in the playoff picture just 1 month ago, played .700 hockey, and have actually lost ground. No matter how you slice it, it’s tough to actually expect even more. *shrugs*
So, all in all, while im unhappy with this game, and very unhappy that this team may find itself without a chair when the music stops, it’s still be a pretty damn good season for the blueshirts, one in which luck, and injuries, have really hampered them.