While the New York Rangers were fighting for their post-season lives, the players that were not part of the lineup were up to their own shenanigans. The team of scratched players participated in an event known as the Press Box Classic. This is a completely true and not at all made up story. (That may be a lie)
Although the New York Rangers failed to defeat the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, Brandon Pirri had reason to celebrate. After an up and down post-season, Pirri defeated Adam Clendening and company in the inaugural Press Box Classic.
While the Rangers were playing in the most important game of the season, Pavel Buchnevich and company knew that Alain Vigneault preferred other options over them. Adam Clendening, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, and Chris Summers knew it would take a bevy of injuries for them to be allowed onto the ice for playoff action.
Should they have even gotten into playoff action, they would have played minimal minutes, watching future Hall of Fame players Nick Holden and Marc Staal hog up the minutes. Once Tanner Glass entered the lineups and started piling up the points, Pavel Buchnevich knew he was not getting back in.
Thus, the Press Box Classic began. Knowing that they would not see post-season action, the Press-Box Club decided to play their own game. Each player picked a Rangers player to claim as their own. The goal was to pick the player who would receive the most scrutiny at the end of the post-season, much like the Press Box club earned the majority of the season.
Pavel Buchnvich chose Chris Kreider because of the Russian connection. Brandon Pirri opted for Derek Stepan because he reminded him of himself. Both found themselves expected to produce on the power-play, and both could not do so.
Matt Puempel opted for Mika Zibanejad because he’s the only Ranger he could remember the name of after being claimed off of waivers. Chris Summers chose Kevin Klein because he related to Klein’s lack of playing time.
Finally, Adam Clendening repeatedly tried to choose himself. Throughout the year Alain Vigneault made it known that Clendening was to blame for any and all failures in New York. Clendening believed he was the perfect choice, but the choice had to be a player on the ice.
Eventually Clendening went with Brady Skjei because Skjei was essentially Clendening once the Foxwoods Final Five began.
In the end, Derek Stepan received the most blame of any Ranger for the series loss. Adam Clendening contested the result, claiming Vigneault secretly blamed him all along. However it was no use, as Stepan spoke shamefully about his play in the post-season.
Brandon Pirri won the Press Box Classic, finally scoring in a pressure situation.