Dive into the heightened expectations facing the New York Rangers amid a challenging year for NYC sports. Will they rise above the pressure?
While there are some avid Ranger fans out there who live and breathe hockey, we New Yorkers tend to keep an eye on all our sports teams, from NFL to MLB to NBA.
Here we are in 2023, and the New York Liberty have a shot at bringing a championship to the Big Apple. They’re in the WNBA Finals as we speak, and if they pull it off, it’ll be the end of a record 4,260 days(As of October 5) and counting drought of winning in this city.
Yes, women’s pro basketball hasn’t exactly been a gold mine. It’s been propped up by the NBA for years and only houses 12 teams compared to the males’ 30.
Unlike other leagues with multiple city teams, the Liberty is the only women’s basketball game in town.
However, watching the other teams in New York (Unless you count Buffalo, where the Sabres are fun again, the Bills are Super Bowl contenders, and the Bandits are reigning Lacrosse champions) doesn’t do much good.
New York has two NFL teams, two baseball teams, two men’s basketball teams, and two hockey teams(Unless you count the New Jersey Devils, it’s three).
Yet, none of them, in recent years, have brought home the prize. The Rangers and Islanders got close to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Tampa Bay Lightning dynasty played spoiler.
Yes the NYCFC won the MLS Cup in 2021. That said, there’s a reason why that championship was celebrated with a town hall ceremony instead of a parade.
NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls, although they have passionate fans, aren’t typically considered major New York sports teams.
They play in Major League Soccer (MLS), which, while growing in popularity, isn’t quite on the same level as the big leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.
Those four house the best players in their respective sports.
The MLS is referred to by most Soccer fans as a “Retirement League”.
Exploring the Pressure on the Rangers in a Year of NYC Sports Struggles:
The year 2023 –hasn’t been kind to New York sports. The mega-payroll baseball teams couldn’t make the playoffs, the Islanders are mediocre, the Knicks and Nets seem stuck in a rut, and the Giants and Jets in the NFL are off to identical 1-3 starts. Some folks are saying they’re the worst teams in football.
All of this leads to more pressure on the Rangers. That 2023 playoff loss stung. It was a horrific letdown considering the Eastern Conference Finals trip the year prior, and the star acquisitions at the trade deadline.
Fans will look back at that team on paper years from now and wonder aloud how they didn’t win the Stanley Cup, let alone make it past the first round. Entering this 2023-24 season, winning the Presidents’ Trophy and all the individual awards won’t cut it. It’s the Stanley Cup or bust for the Blueshirts.
So, when you see team president and GM Chris Drury and new head coach Peter Laviolette making moves, know they’re feeling the heat, just like the rest of us. Let’s hope they can bring that championship parade back to the streets of New York.