Ask any old time New York Ranger fan and odds are they will
tell you that they knew that the Rangers were going to win game 6 against the
Pittsburgh Penguins when Marty St. Louis scored at the 3:34 mark of the first
period. Why you ask and the answer was because a long lost weapon of the New
York Rangers returned to Madison Square Garden after way too long an absence.
The weapon was “the noise” as the Garden erupted like it had
not in years and if you don’t think it had an effect on the Penguins think
again. “The Noise” brought excitement to the Garden, it gave the Ranger players
a little more energy and it turned the Garden into quicksand of frustration for
Sidney Crosby and his teammates.
Many a Ranger fan has said that the Dolans have chased the
real Ranger fans out of Madison Square Garden with their insane ticket prices
as well as a renovation of the Garden which changed the seating of the place
once known as “the world’s nosiest arena.” For at least one day that place came
alive like it used to do come every playoff season.
Not knocking today’s fan because they weren’t a part of it
but Yankee fans could count on winning the World Series, the Mets were loveable
losers who once a decade would win something, the Giants and Jets spent a lot
of time losing before the Giants learned how to be respectable.
But if you were a Ranger fan from the 1950’s to 1990’s then
you loved your Rangers even though you knew they would find a way to break your
heart. Remember you are talking about a team that went 54 years in between
No team earned the kind of emotional attachment like the
Rangers did with their fans. Every year you would start by thinking that this
would be the year only at the end of the season as the heartbreak was going on
you would still find it within you to say that “next year will be our year.”
You are talking about the fan base that invented drowning
out the anthem singer at playoff time. The fan base that network TV would bring
decibel meters to show how loud the Garden was and then show how it was louder
than a subway train or a jet.
A fan base that would make the building actually shake
because of all the noise the fans made. A noise that started from the moment
the gates opened and didn’t end until the game was decided. It was so loud that
opposing teams could hear it in their locker rooms and because they had nowhere
else to go could never escape the noise.
You are talking about a fan base that you could travel
anywhere in the world and odds are you would find a fellow Ranger fan. To this
day my wife still can’t believe how I can find myself talking Ranger’s hockey
to a stranger who just so happens to be a Ranger fan.
It is in the blood and as mad as this team can make us; we
still remain faithful to the team. It is like a first love that you just can
never get over no matter how many times it will break your heart. It makes you
hope beyond common reason that maybe just maybe that this will be the year.
It means come Tuesday night despite all the statistical
information that says the Rangers don’t have a chance that I will be in front
of my TV believing that they do. Why?
Because I do bleed blue and hope you do too.