Originally posted on NY Rangers Blog  |  Last updated 2/17/13
It's been a nutty week for me. Between the Rangers maddeningly inconsistant play and the flu that ravaged my family, my life has been flipped upside down. But between vomit cleanups Saturday night, I had a moment of clarity looking at my Twitter feed. The early season struggles of our beloved Blueshirts have made us Rangers fans lose our minds. Trade Gaborik. Buyout Richards. Kreider is a bust. Stepan has plateaued. Bickel is a pylon. Ok, while the last one might be true, are we really suggesting the Rangers trade a guy who has scored 40+ goals in two of the last three years and already has seven in 13 games this year? BTW, you're not going to find someone of equal value with as good a cap situation as Gaborik (one year left at $7.5 million). So it got me thinking. What put on the bus to crazytown? I've always contended that Rangers fans are some of the most knowledgeble in the NHL, but this has been an off-year for us. Let's look at some of the things that have put us one step away from the cuckoo's nest. Expectations Coming off the playoff run of last season, Rangers fans are dealing with expectations we haven't seen since the 1992-93 team (bad memories) and I'm not so sure we know how to handle it. We all expected the Rangers to just pick up where they left off and dominate the league. But it doesn't work that way in the NHL. Opposing teams improve or get healthy during the offseason and it's very difficult to translate success from one season to the next. So when the Rangers struggled out of the gate the inevitable happened. We began to overvalue the players lost in the offseason (Prust, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Mitchell) and undervalue the holdovers (Gaborik, Richards and Stepan). We quickly forgot all of Richards clutch goals from last year, you might remember a little one in the playoffs against the Capitals last year, and somehow erased the frustrating inconsistancy of Anisimov. The Lockout Instead of talking actual hockey the last five months, we were forced us to discuss hockey-related revenue, disclaimers of interest and other lockout nonsense. So now that the season has finally begun, we're like school of sharks waiting for chum. Every move the Rangers make, every player mistake, we're ready to pounce and disect it ad nauseum (see every post on this blog). This has lead to declarations such as Chris Kreider is a bust. Yes, the same guy who single-handedly jump started the Rangers offense in the playoffs last year and has played all of seven career regular season games is done. Shortened Season With the season virtually cut in half, every game means that much more so fans are less willing to tolerate a losing streak or inconsistent play. Especially from one that is a lock to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Every loss has Rangers Nation that much less convinced that their Blueshirts will win the Cup. Forgetting the fact that there's still 35 games left and the Rangers are just six points out of first place in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand on the first place Devils. Their sluggish start has fans calling for John Tortorella's head. Despite him changing the culture of the Rangers where kids are actually given a chance as well as, you know, guiding the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals last year for the first time since 1997. I hope I've added some levity to the Rangers current season with this post. I know at the end of the day, we all want what is best for the Blueshirts and ultimately wins them a Cup, but when we start contemplating trading Derek Stepan, a homegrown player who's scored 96 points his first two seasons in the NHL, you know we're not right in the head. So, my advice to everyone is this. Step away from your computer, take a deep breath and start enjoying your Rangers again. Can we question decisions made by the Rangers? Sure. But before we start getting insane talking about trading 40 goal scorers, we need to remember how dire things were for the Blueshirts back in the early 2000s, which make this team's issues seem like a breath of fresh air. Remember to follow me on Twitter & Facebook or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.
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