It's been a nutty week for me. Between the Rangers maddeningly inconsistent play and the flu that ravaged my family, my life has been flipped upside down.
But between vomit cleanups Saturday night, I had a moment of clarity looking at my Twitter feed. The early season struggles of our beloved Blueshirts have made us Rangers fans lose our minds.
Trade Gaborik. Buyout Richards. Kreider is a bust. Stepan has plateaued. Bickel is a pylon.
Ok, while the last one might be true, are we really suggesting the Rangers trade a guy who has scored 40+ goals in two of the last three years and already has seven in 13 games this year? BTW, you're not going to find someone of equal value with as good a cap situation as Gaborik (one year left at $7.5 million).
So it got me thinking. What put us on the bus to crazytown? I've always contended that Rangers fans are some of the most knowledgeable in the NHL, but this has been an off-year for us.
Let's look at some of the things that have put us one step away from the cuckoo's nest.
Coming off the playoff run of last season, Rangers fans are dealing with expectations we haven't seen since the 1992-93 team (bad memories) and I'm not so sure we know how to handle it.
We all expected the Rangers to just pick up where they left off and dominate the league. But it doesn't work that way in the NHL. Opposing teams improve or get healthy during the offseason and it's very difficult to translate success from one season to the next.
So when the Rangers struggled out of the gate the inevitable happened. We began to overvalue the players lost in the offseason (Prust, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Mitchell) and undervalue the holdovers (Gaborik, Richards and Stepan).
We quickly forgot all of Richards clutch goals from last year, you might remember a little one in the playoffs against the Capitals last year, and somehow erased the frustrating inconsistency of Anisimov.
Instead of talking actual hockey the last five months, we were forced to discuss hockey-related revenue, disclaimers of interest and other lockout nonsense.
So now that the season has finally begun, we're like a school of sharks waiting for chum. Every move the Rangers make, every player mistake, we're ready to pounce and dissect it ad nauseum (see every post on this blog).
This has led to declarations such as Chris Kreider is a bust. Yes, the same guy who single-handedly jump started the Rangers offense in the playoffs last year and has played all of seven career regular season games is done.
With the season virtually cut in half, every game means that much more so fans are less willing to tolerate a losing streak or inconsistent play. Especially from one that is a lock to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Every loss has Rangers Nation that much less convinced that their Blueshirts will win the Cup. Forgetting the fact that there's still 35 games left and the Rangers are just six points out of first place in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand on the first place Devils.
Their sluggish start has fans calling for John Tortorella's head. Despite him changing the culture of the Rangers where kids are actually given a chance as well as, you know, guiding the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals last year for the first time since 1997.
I hope I've added some levity to the Rangers current season with this post.
I know at the end of the day, we all want what is best for the Blueshirts and ultimately wins them a Cup, but when we start contemplating trading Derek Stepan, a homegrown player who's scored 96 points his first two seasons in the NHL, you know we're not right in the head.
So, my advice to everyone is this. Step away from your computer, take a deep breath and start enjoying your Rangers again.
Can we question decisions made by the Rangers? Sure. But before we start getting insane talking about trading away 40 goal scorers, we need to remember how dire things were for the Blueshirts back in the early 2000s, which make this team's issues seem like a breath of fresh air.
@TheNYRBlog Kevin thank you so much for this much needed article... :) indeed some Ranger fans are losing minds!!
THANK YOU!! I always refer back to the late 90's - early 200's when people get out of hand. That was suffering, not being able to beat the devils in like 30 games played against them, not to mention watching some of our past favorites declining or traded (Richter, my personal all-time favorite was tough to watch). We fans tend to get spoiled by any success, we lose perspective.
@TheNYRBlog some always lose It. My issue is the PP. It's pathetic and Torts keeps rolling out the same units expecting a different result.
@TheNYRBlog we're starting to sound like Yankee fans. Maybe because it SHOULD have been 5-0. That loss could have been a slippery slope
@TheNYRBlog In the offensive zone, team does little if any cycling - they did last year. Defense appears to be lost and confused
@TheNYRBlog you make me laugh my friend. 'Calm down, because life REALLY used to suck.' Rather than admit they are too flawed to win Stanley
@TheNYRBlog Think its the fact that the fans want to see offensive blowouts. Almost like they see a close win as a "bad" game
@TheNYRBlog Most likely bandwagon fans. Reality is no game will ever be 100% perfect. #NYR 7-2-1 in last 10. I'd sign up for that anyday.
@TheNYRBlog They've had their shit together since cracking 500. Not to fix the power play without losing steam. Today was nice, but...
@TheNYRBlog @ScottyHockey the reason why we r nuts is cuz we were so close last yr n now we went backwards n have no shot 2 win it this year
@ScottyHockey Nothing wrong with criticizing but some of the stuff I'm reading lately from Rangers fans is nuts.
@TheNYRBlog all the moving parts from the offseason and adjustment to a short season has people wanting instant results.
@metalsportsfan @thenyrblog @scottyhockey right, because anyone thought the kings would sweep three teams and win it last year.
@19Messier94 @scottyhockey @thenyrblog @roseranger5 being said i hope we just make the playoffs even though just making it isnt gonna cut it
@19Messier94 @scottyhockey @thenyrblog @roseranger5 if the Flyers from a few years ago can make it to the finals then anyone can! With that.
@ScottyHockey Its sports not reality, where 1/30 can "succeed". Keep it in context, not achieving ones goal and failure are not alike.
@ScottyHockey @thenyrblog @metalsportsfan @roseranger5 in other words they won't win of another 20+ years?
@19Messier94 @TheNYRBlog @metalsportsfan @RoseRanger5 new coach, deeper defense, more heart. Cally can't carry them every night.
@ScottyHockey Hello to life as a sports fan "29 teams fail" every year. You're negativity is ridiculous, because you're so sincere!
@ScottyHockey @thenyrblog @metalsportsfan @roseranger5 Scotty what do you think the Rangers need to make a real run?
@TheNYRBlog @metalsportsfan @RoseRanger5 there is no success in losing, unless we're talking about the movie 300.
@ScottyHockey @roseranger5 @metalsportsfan I don't blame Rangers at all for Prust leaving. He could have taken less to stay.
@ScottyHockey @metalsportsfan @roseranger5 Depends on expectations. No 1 talked Cup last yr so getting close was success. Different this yr
@TheNYRBlog @metalsportsfan Led to failure you mean. Team limped in and was smacked out. 7 games vs. 2 inferior teams, then blew ECF lead.
@ScottyHockey @thenyrblog @metalsportsfan maybe we would have locked up a certain guy b4 he got offered more money somewhere else
@ScottyHockey @metalsportsfan I'd say grit and character have been coming around nicely. Took a hit with Powe injury. Torts did lead to ECF.
@TheNYRBlog @metalsportsfan same coach, same half of a defensive corps, less character, less heart, less grit.