Thursday, December 21, 2006

Third Period Stinker Has Me At A Loss

Over the past decade, there have been plenty of long nights where I just couldn't contain how much disdain and disillusionment I felt for the team I root for. Tonight is just another of those nights which makes me wonder why I am a Ranger fan.

I honestly don't know what to say about tonight's dreadful third period which saw every Ranger who was out there lose battle after battle and allow three unanswered goals to a bad Florida Panthers team to drop number four in a row. Usually, after such a defeat, I'd be saying every bad word I can think of. But what's the point of getting worked up over such a heartless team? They are the most unphysical hockey club I have ever seen. Forget the fact the officials made a terrible call penalizing only Petr Prucha for roughing when two Panthers assaulted him. This bunch isn't worth complaining over even when they have such a call go against them. What did it matter anyway? The power play was something like 1-for-10 and Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour had a throwback night which brought back visions of his last Vezina in a Blackhawk jersey.

On a night when call-up Brad Isbister actually scored a PPG off a deflection and played just the type of spunky game they brought him up for, it didn't matter. Neither did it when there was a Jason Ward sighting. Playing alongside Jaromir Jagr and Prucha, Ward netted his first goal in 26 games. So two bit players who you wouldn't expect to score did but got zero support. Some of that was due in large part to Belfour, who stoned Shanahan and Prucha repeatedly down the stretch to give Florida a split of the four games. By virtue of a shootout loss, the Panthers won the season series. And really, that's all that needs to be said. If you can't beat that undisciplined team three of four, then you aren't good and definitely don't deserve to make the playoffs.

That describes how I feel about this Blueskirt team. They're the polar opposite of last year's team. A club which did all the little things and overachieved. They didn't take periods off. They worked hard and also made the opposition work for their goals. Not anymore. I am still trying to figure out what Fedor Tyutin was doing on the last two Florida goals. Then again, that's how pathetic this Ranger team is.

There could be a lot more said about tonight. But what's the point? So disappointed am I that I no longer have the desire to go to any of the remaining home games our family has tickets for. Oh. Make no mistake. I'll be there. But if you think I'm going to wear a Ranger jersey and cheer like a maniac, forget it. It's not happening. And the reason is quite simple. Because Cablevision owner Jim Dolan doesn't get it. On an appearance with Mike and The Mad Dog, he praised this Ranger club and termed them "a great product." And that right there is what's wrong. It wasn't that they were a "great team." It's all about entertainment with Dolan. As long as fans continue to go, he's happy. And btw...if this joke of a team somehow makes the playoffs, tickets are going up next year again. Screwing over more paying customers and loyal fans to a fault who would die to see this team actually play like one. Does anyone actually think this soft team could beat anyone in a playoff series? They'd be lucky if they got one game.

At this point, I am not sure making the playoffs is worth it. Until the philosophy changes at the Garden, it will be business as usual. I never thought that when the Islanders hired and fired Neil Smith and replaced him with Garth Snow that they would be so much easier to respect. At the time, everyone laughed at them. Who's laughing now? The standings say the Rangers are three points better than the Islanders. Sometimes, stats lie.

If anyone cares, the next Ranger game is at Tampa Bay. I remember last year looking forward to watching games. Now, it feels eerily similar to the 1997-04 Era. This team is heartless. They take it out of you. I honestly would rather do something else than watch them on Saturday cause I just fear another embarrassing moment.

Sports sometimes can be tough. Between the Rangers and Giants, I'm not sure which team is worse. I guess it's the Giants cause of the audacity of some of the star players who act like it's their God given right to win and act like a bunch of jackasses. But make no mistake about it. The Rangers also came in with high expectations. To say I am underwhelmed is an understatement.

Merry Christmas.

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