Looking out over the internet and seeing those posting about
how proud they are of the New York Rangers despite losing in the Stanley Cup
finals speaks volumes about why Ranger fans are so very different. Yes
different than fans of any other team in any other sport.
This is not about saying that Ranger fans are better than
anyone else but what we are is different because of the bonds that make us
Ranger fans. Ask a Ranger fan about how he or she became one and odds are there
is a good story about it.
From having passed down from generation to generation (I
once met 4 generations of Ranger fans together at a game) to simply developing
a love for the team that plays in New York. Entire families attend games
despite whatever differences they may have on everything else.
For me it was meeting Eddie Giacomin as a child and getting
an autographed puck from him. It was
having an Eddie Giacomin poster (without the mask) on the wall of my room from
age 6 until I left home at 20.
Sorry if you don’t understand how proud that so many of us
are of our team that we aren’t freaking out over the loss. Don’t get us wrong
as yes we would have preferred winning but what you don’t understand in our own
ways we did win.
We won because we know that Los Angeles who were supposed to
be overwhelming favorites to lay waste to the Rangers couldn’t do that. Los
Angeles never once defeated the Rangers in regulation when in the Staples
Center. And if it will make everyone feel better then Rangers fans could bitch
about the screwjob they got from the officiating.
We can be happy because Los Angeles couldn’t dominate us on
the scoreboard and barely held a lead during the games played. No the Rangers
didn’t win today but now we can have hope for a better tomorrow.
Ranger fans can be happy because this team did what nobody
expected them to do and that was reach the finals for the first time in 20
years. We are happy because along the way the Rangers defeated 3 teams that
have always given them trouble in the playoffs.
If you would have told me before the playoffs started that
the Rangers would knock off the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins
and the Montreal Canadiens in the same playoff year I would have called you
crazy. Ranger’s history is full of times when one of these teams would screw up
the Ranger playoffs and yet not this year.
We can be proud of the way the team came together after Marty
St. Louis’s mother passed away and rallied together not about the game but
instead for St. Louis in his hour of need. That is one of the reasons why we
cheer for this team.
We can be happy because we saw what this team had to go
through at the beginning of the season and yet they made the finals. Nobody
when the Rangers were 3-6 before their first home game would have picked the
Rangers in the Cup finals.
Yes there will be players who come and go but the main core
of this roster will remain and that will give Ranger fans something that has
been missing for a long time; hope. Yes hope that it won’t be 54 years between
Stanley Cup wins and who knows with the right combination of additions that the
Rangers could be right back in the finals next season.
For 20 years Ranger fans have been waiting for a chance to
believe that they have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. This team gave us that
hope and for that we are celebrating this season despite the outcome.
But we do have one last thing to say to the rest of you:
Seeya next year the Rangers are back.