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Monday, October 17, 2011

Snap Shot: Season So Far (3 Games In)

Um, is anyone out there satisfied with this garbage? Fans? Players? Coaches? Anyone enjoying themselves yet? Because I sure as hell am not. I have not yet found one second of this season to be truly enjoyable. Granted, we’re only three games in and that’s not much of a sample size, but I feel like a freaking Florida Panther fan here. What the hell has been going on? Where have we gone wrong? Let’s snap shot this shit…

For the Rangers, the regular season started two Fridays ago in Stockholm, Sweden. I requested to work from my company’s NYC office because I had planned a video shoot for later in the afternoon, so I bounced out of work early to watch the game at my friend Jean’s place. Now Jean (pronounced John because he’s rightfully embarrassed of his own French heritage) hates hockey. He’s the only one of my friends who can’t stand sports in general, but he tolerates our love of the game by snidely commenting and actively rooting against our favorite teams. We were joined for the game by my friends Rob, Brian and Dave, who are all Devils fans volunteering their services for my video project. Instead of enjoying the Rangers’ season opener, I spent the full three hours battling their bullshit as our blueshirts underperformed and lost to the Kings in overtime.

Cally’s ripper from the goal line and Gabby’s first of the year should have been enough for the win, but former Flyer Mike Richards had to score late in the third and fuck those plans all up. Once we took that overtime penalty and the winner went in, I remembered that special sinking feeling that comes after a Ranger loss; waiting all day for the puck drop, riding the emotional roller-coaster of the full game only to lose and walk away empty handed. Consolation point aside, I was bummed. Oh well, I thought, we’ll wait for Saturday afternoon.

God damn Ducks… This game literally put me to sleep. The Rangers were so mind-numbingly boring and didn't looked capable of pushing their way through a paper banner. Brad Richards’ first goal was a nice little treat, but too little too late in my opinion; we can’t be opening the scoring half way through the third. Shootouts shouldn’t be our only way of picking up the crucial second point – Saturday showed that. We usually bank on Hank to win us the breakaway competition, but he couldn’t pull this one off in front of his home country fans. Oh well, two points from two games in Europe isn’t all that bad, especially after country hopping the whole continent during preseason. We were given a football week to relax (and watch other Atlantic division teams tear up the league). Next up, the Islanders. I was ready for a win.

This past Friday was my birthday. Quarter century down, crisis impending. The obligatory parental dinner was postponed from Friday to Saturday due to the fact that I was once again in the city shooting scenes for Puck My Life’s pilot episode. Although I was concerned about the conflict, my Mom assured me that we’d get a table near the bar and would watch the game throughout dinner. Wrong. Three hours spent drinking wine and eating steak was marred by the fact that I was missing a Rangers game. Fine, whatever, I was given an iPad for my present so I could handle the slight delay. Rangers in 60 would provide a nicely concise review for my slightly drunken self once I got home...

10:30 rolls around and I switch the TV over to MSG. OH NO, I FLIPPED TOO SOON! I saw a split second clip of the Capuano’s press conference before desperately flipping back to Comedy Central. “Shit, they lost”, I told my fiancĂ©, “they don’t put the post-game focus on the loser. I know they lost." I flipped back to MSG again only to see another split second clip of Tavares with the puck. I was sure right then and incessantly lamented what I already knew to be another Ranger loss until my fiancĂ© could no longer stand it. She looked up the score and confirmed my correctness. Damnit, blueshirts.

So we’re essentially 0-3 with a couple consolation points. How, you ask, did this happen to our hyped up Rangers? PENALTIES! LOTS AND LOTS OF UNNECESSARY BS PENALTIES! Even my hockey hating French friend Jean can recognize how hard it is to win a game when you’re constantly killing penalties. Sure, we’ve been the victims of some dinky calls, but that’s no excuse to play undisciplined, sloppy hockey. Get your fucking shit together, boys. Stay out of the box and we’ll all be better off for it. This was a problem before the regular season even started so now we’re officially into beating-dead-horses territory. Torts must be beside himself. He’s already gotten hands-on with his coaching (evidenced by the sending down of Zuccarello and the calling up of Bell and Newbury) so let's all prepare ourselves for a season-long game of line roulette. Hey Torts, how’s Christensucks doing out there by the way? Is he injecting the team with much needed life yet? Killing it in the shootouts? Yeah, thought so...

So panic may be in the Ranger nation air, but we’re certainly not in any real danger. Our season is starting slowly and almost entirely on the road, so we’ve got to expect some rust in these early games. The key to everything, and I’ve said this since the beginning of last year, is the winning streak. We couldn’t even tie four together last year, and it showed in the stress of fighting for seventh and eighth. If we string some wins together, say four or five for every loss we suffer, then we’ll be golden come March. So go out west and take three out of four. Come back home, get your legs settled and start making some noise. Come on, Rangers, we need you here. Without your wins, there’s really not much of a difference between me and the Unibomber.

Until next time, I leave you with one of my PATENTED, ahem, haikus.

Katy Baker blows.
Grantland - home of the sports snob.
Stop ripping me off.

*I’d honestly be honored if KatyBakes actually read this site enough to consciously rip me off. She’s the established and I’m the underground. She’s Grantland/Goldman Sachs/Deadspin/ESPN and I’m Barstool/Basement/Unknown/Unpaid. I’m sure John Stewart would be honored to know that Sarah Palin was a regular Daily Show viewer.

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