Decision time has arrived for New York Rangers fans who have continued to watch hockey beyond the Blueshirts’ first-round exit. After 1,312 regular season games and 83 playoff contests, we have arrived at the Stanley Cup Final. While the ratings won’t meet last year’s championship because we have two mid-markets, the hockey, which begins Saturday in Vegas, will be great, if not better.
The Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers and the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights deserve to be here after successfully surviving the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ gauntlet. It’s more fun watching when you pick a team to root for.
There’s a guide for choosing a side for the championship matchup based on your fandom. It’s not an obvious choice, as the New Jersey Devils, who defeated New York, were trounced by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
The result won’t impact the Rangers’ position in the upcoming draft, 23rd. It leaves us with more to consider. There are former Rangers involved who became fan favorites before their departure. There are different philosophies of how these two teams reached the pinnacle of hockey, which the Blueshirts can take note of given the current dire state of the organization.
The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s why, as hockey fans, we should embrace the fact we’re guaranteed to see a team lift the silver chalice for the first time and enhance our experience by taking a stand.