Do a quick search for the “New York Rangers” and you’ll see the top news hits reference one of two topics, the lack of “1994 magic” and that their season long struggle to get the goal scoring going contributed to their loss in Game 6. Why are these the only two things that people want to talk about? Has everyone forgotten about the season as a whole?
You’re never going to recapture the 1994 Stanley Cup run, and honestly I don’t want to. Mike Richter isn’t in net, Henrik Lundqvist is a better goalie to have there. And the captain? Sure he’s not as charismatic as Mark Messier, making the big grand declaration of success, but Ryan Callahan has proven time and time again he deserves that “C” on his chest. You can go right down the line and compare the roster from then and this seasons roster, but you’re never going to get a fair comparison.
It’s a different game. The rules have changed, the style of play has changed, there’s never going to be another 1994 Stanley Cup run and the fans and media need to realize this. The team didn’t “fall short” of the 1994 team, they fell short in the season. The ghost of hockey past was not playing with them, they were out played by the 2012 New Jersey Devils. Craziness! I know!
And as for the goal scoring issue? The Rangers got to first in the Eastern Conference and second in the league with the same system they played in the playoffs. Fans never saw a blow out and they should not have expected one in the playoffs. Should Marian Gaborik stepped it up in the playoffs? Yes, it is expected of him, but he wasn’t racking up hat tricks all season. There’s a level of expectation that players “turn it on” for the playoffs, but it has to be with in reason.
You can go on and on about how the Rangers sabotaged themselves by not scoring more, but this is how they play. This is the system they’ve played, this is the system that got them to the Eastern Stanley Cup Finals. Rangers ended up facing a team that could beat the system. Rangers split the season series with the Devils, with one game going to a shoot out, it was going to be a close playoff series that could have gone in favor of either team. Unfortunately it didn’t go in favor of the Rangers this time around.
The Rangers went above and beyond what was expected this season.
The team is a young one, the changes that will come this summer will only strengthen the foundation that was laid this season and then bloomed during the playoffs. Don’t discredit what this team has done, they aren’t the 1994 New York Rangers and thank goodness for that.
And for those counting, July 1st is only 32 days away. Let’s see what happens.