The Rangers are in 9th place in the Eastern Conference.
They haven’t lived up to the preseason expectations just about everyone had for the Blueshirts. The team was seen at the top of just about every list for who would be the best during the shortened season and, needless to say, they haven’t been that team everyone had predicted them to be.
Instead of being first or second in the Eastern Conference, they’re at the bottom of the postseason picture. John Tortorella even said they were a bad team.
And that’s okay. Really, all of this is fine. If you’re seriously worried right now, you shouldn’t be. The regular season doesn’t matter.
I’m not a New York Giants fan, but the 2007 Giants have taught me and everyone who follows sports one of the most important lessons about anything with a regular and postseason; The regular season is redundant. The only thing that matters is who brings it to the playoffs and who gets hot at the right time. Knowing how to play the game is more crucial than playing the game.
The Cinderella Story in sports used to be a thing you saw once every blue moon and then you’d see it again when Hollywood made a movie about it. But in the past several years the story has been an almost normal occurrence in the professional world of sports. The 2007 Giants are the most pure example of the Cinderella Story, but there are so many different examples of theory becoming reality that at this point, it’s hard to worry about your team not performing well early on.
If you want to look at the predicament the Rangers are in right now, you don’t have to look much farther than your own backyard. If the Giants are the most shining example, the Los Angeles Kings are a close second.
For the 2011 leg of the 2011-12 season, the Kings were hardly in the playoff picture. The team had so many problems and, regardless of how well Jonathan Quick was playing, nobody thought the Kings were going to make it into the top eight in the Western Conference.
And then they turned it around in 2012 and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
You can say that bringing in a new coach or new players did the trick, but to me that’s not enough to make a No. 8 seed a Stanley Cup champion. The Kings as a whole weren’t clicking or trying in 2011, and it was only a late season push that got them there. In the end, it didn’t matter that they didn’t play well in 2011. All that mattered is that they made it in and knew when to pick it up.
The Kings proved that you don’t have to be the best, you just have to be the best at postseason competition.
And that’s what could easily happen to the Rangers. Players like Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist are still top-notch competitors that any team would want in the postseason. The Rangers will make the playoffs, and they’ll make noise when the postseason rolls around. Fear not fellow Blueshirts fans, it’s a long way to go to the top.