As of right now, it’s doubtful that the New York Rangers will win the Stanley Cup this season.
The team is currently 15-12-2 and sits eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. Assuming that they’ll be able to put the pedal to the metal come April, they should make it into the postseason as the No.7 or 8 seed. But come the heat of the playoffs, I’m not expecting much more.
And I’m more than okay with that. Maybe I’m awful and/or cynical, but I’d almost rather the Rangers not win the cup this season.
That isn’t to say I’m going to be upset if they do win. I’ll still be a crying mess if I see Ryan Callahan lift Lord Stanley’s in June. I’m just not going to be disappointed.
Winning the Stanley Cup is the pinnacle moment of any player’s career, and I know just making it to that shining moment is a dream come true. However, I feel kind of sorry for the team that wins it this year. If you were only going to win the cup once, no way would I want it to be now.
If I were a player and I could only win the cup once in my career, there is no way I would want to win it during the half season product of a lockout born of greed and stubbornness. Even as the regular season goes on and we’ve moved past the lockout, it’s hard to not recognize that there is still hostility.
Maybe I’m just jaded at this point, but this season feels meaningless. For the Rangers in particular, there’s something missing and I’m willing to bet it’s the result of a shortened season.
The biggest difference between last season’s Blueshirts and this season’s Blueshirts is that last season’s team felt more like a team. There was a sense of brotherhood. In my lifetime as a fan, they are the one team I had no contempt for. Frustration sure, but in seasons past, there have been players I could not stand and wanted off the team desperately. Not last season.
And I think a reason why they’ve been struggling to click and build camaraderie is because they didn’t have that notoriously intense Tortorella training camp. Situations like that when someone is breaking you to your weakest is team-building. Suffering builds bonds and trust. It’s why when Tortorella has teams, especially younger teams, they do exceptionally well. They know how to come together as a team and overpower others that have kinks in the system.
A Tortorella team that is successful essentially doesn’t have any kinks in their system. This Rangers team does.
It might also be that losing guys like Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky are hurting the Rangers more than anyone anticipated it would. The third and fourth lines aren’t as strong as they were last year. Dubinsky and Anisimov grew up through the system and became character players during that time.
The Rangers clearly got the better end of the bargain, but the steal isn’t as much of a steal anymore.
It’s questionable if the team can come together and make something of this season. The hopes aren’t too high right now, but there is still time to turn it around. If they don’t, I’m not losing any sleep over it.