Monday, September 25, 2006


What? Third? In the Conference? Oh yes!

Last year, the New York Rangers were picked by ESPN, Sports Illustrated and numerous other sports organizations to finish last or near last in the LEAGUE. This season? A totally different story has emerged.

Scott Burnside at has predicted the Rangers will finish FIRST in the Atlantic Division and THIRD in the Eastern Conference:

The Rangers had the division and home-ice within their grasp until a late-season woon. This season, they won't sneak up on anyone, but that shouldn't matter as they finish first in the Atlantic and third in the East.

For fans of the New York Rangers, this is awesome. But at the same time, it's almost annoying. Three seasons ago, the Rangers were criticized of "trying to buy a championship." Then, in an attempt to change their ways, they traded away veterans and such for youth prospects and draft picks. Still, the 'pros' said the Rangers were just trying to weasle their way out of old habbits and that such at attempt would never work. Last year, the first of the Rangers rebuild process, the pros picked teams like Pittsburgh (who signed a crop of over paid free agent veterans in a very Rangeresque fashion) to finish higher than NY and said the Rangers just didn't have what it would take to make it in the new NHL. But the Rangers pushed on and (nearly finished third) completed the season 6th in the conference, giving way to the first playoff berth since 1997. Though the season ended with a fizzle, it was a big step for the Rangers.

Now, the pros are kissing major Rangers butt. Talking about how great their young goalies are. How wonderful Petr Prucha is. How Jagr is going to "have a career season" and that veteran Brendan Shannahan--who by all accounts contacted the Rangers about playing for them--is
"playing like a rookie again." This from Burnside:

...the New York Rangers are for real. How do we know this? Because unlike Rangers teams of the past, whose future was only as good as the next aging free-agent signing, this team is building on its foundation rather than tearing it down. Instead of remaking itself in the offseason, the Rangers have added parts that complement coach Tom Renney's hardworking squad that recaptured the imagination of fans who watched their team become a caricature after winning a championship in 1994.

I don't care about the butt kissing. It's nice to hear good things about my team for a change. Let's go Rangers. Third place? That'll do...but first place would be better!



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