First things first, as I said here that if John Tortorella could not lead the New York Rangers to a win in game seven against the Ottawa Senators that firing Tortorella would be a fair option.
Final score was New York Rangers 2 Ottawa Senators 1, so no doubt about it, John Tortorella deserves the credit for getting the Rangers into the second round. One does not have to like somebody but one should always respect the efforts made.
There are not many things where I agree with John Tortorella, but the one place where I do agree has to do with the future. Oh yes, if we were John Tortorella and we had the likes of Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and some of the other young prospect talent then we too are licking our chops.
We have been saying for the last couple of years that the best of the Ranger's future had yet to arrive and when it did that we would be looking at, not a short term but a young team with a very good upside for the long term.
And there's more coming too , starting with Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller, and others like Steven Fogarty, Christian Thomas, and Michael St. Croix. As the years go by and these young players develop then you'll see a philosophical as well as a fundamental change in the Ranger system back to a more offensive attack that takes advantage of the skill sets. These kids have.
Every game that the Rangers can get these kids to play is just going to help them for tomorrow. As we speak, JT Miller, the 2011 first-round pick is with the CT Whale and unless a miracle happens; by the end of next week so will Dylan McIlrath, the 2010 first-round pick.
There are brighter days ahead for the Rangers and what you're seeing now is just a glimpse of things to come. How special was it for Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan to set up Marc Staal's goal?
On Twitter and Facebook, we predicted Brandon Dubinsky would score the game-winner. He didn't score it, but he sure made a hell of a play to set up Dan Girardi for the actual game-winner.
Brandon Dubinsky may not be the most popular player with the fans, but we knew we could count on him in a game 7. We know he was hurt and played most of the game hurt but we also knew that this game meant more to him than any Ranger fan will ever know.
The Rodney Dangerfield's of the NHL
The Senators are gone as Rangers move on to face the Washington Capitals in the second round. Already the naysayers are saying that the Rangers will lose to the Washington Capitals because of the same reasons why they were supposed to lose to the Ottawa Senators.
It's a funny thing how a team that finishes first in the NHL's Eastern conference doesn't get any respect because of the perception that they lack offense. At what point are we going to see somebody explain how a team as inept on offense as the Rangers finished with 109 points?
When will somebody explain to us how a team like the Rangers could win the Atlantic division with all of its warts? Yes the very same Atlantic division, where 3 out of the 4 teams that qualified for the playoffs advanced to the second round.
Against the three remaining teams in the Eastern conference, the Rangers were a combined 11-4-1. Why are the Rangers the underdog?
Here's something for you to chew on; out of the top 8 teams in goalscoring. There's only 1 team remaining in the playoffs and that's the Flyers.
But let's take a look at the top 8 teams that gave up the fewest goals in the NHL. What a surprise to see that 5 out of the top 8 advanced to the second round including the top 3 teams (St. Louis, Los Angeles, Rangers).
So maybe the so-called "hockey experts" are the ones who are wrong because every old coach I've ever had always taught me that while offense can win you games; defense is what wins you Championships.
Go right ahead keep saying the Rangers are going to lose because, well, quite honestly, you've been wrong before and you remain wrong as long as you keep disrespecting the New York Rangers.
Speaking of no respect
Congratulations to the Portland Winterhawks for advancing to the finals of the WHL for the second straight year. Number two, Portland knocked off number one Tri-City in a four-game sweep.
Going to be hard rooting against them as they are my home team and are full of some great people working for them that have rebuilt a proud franchise.
Portland awaits the winner of the Edmonton/Moose Jaw series and I'm pretty sure most people will pick Edmonton. My heart says Portland, but my wallet will say Edmonton because of Michael St. Croix.
(Tortorella - New York Rangers)