(Photo via dfw.cbslocal.com)
We look at stats. We look at standings. But the Rangers are Stanley Cup ready.
They said the 2012 ECF loss to the Devils was our time. They said the 2014 Finals loss to the Kings was our chance. They said the 2015 ECF loss to Tampa (moment of silence please) was our best chance.
“The window is closing,” or, “Hank is getting older,” maybe even, “Girardi and Staal suck.” These are quotes I hear daily about this Rangers team. While the critics aren’t necessarily all wrong, they’re not 100% right. With 92 points and still 9 games left on the table, the Rangers stand alone for second in the Eastern Conference. As a team with a sort of “identity crisis”, the Boys in Blue notched two big wins against the Panthers and Bruins, respectively.
We all point fingers at Nash for not scoring 42 goals again. We point fingers at Kreider for not living up to his expectations. We point fingers are Girardi and Staal for breathing air. We point fingers at AV for his coaching decisions (I agree, but not entirely). You can’t blame Vigneault for everything. “Fire him,” c’mon guys. The man has brought this team to a Cup Finals and to an ECF. Let him do his job.
This is the most important week this Rangers team has faced this season. The Rangers know they can win games at home, and this team knows how to show up for the big games. But, they need to get a better feel for who they are as a whole before anything else. Don’t count the Blue-shirts out in this year’s playoffs just yet. It’s a sport full of surprises.
– M. Fritz