The problem with the New York Rangers is a fundamental and a simple one: they lack heart. You need heart if you want to win big. Without heart, sure, you might win a few playoff series, you might even get all the way to the finals, but unless you really have what it takes deep down inside, that intangible quality that I’m talking about here, heart, the one that the blueshirts unfortunately seem to be lacking, most seasons, of course, but this season even more than ever, you’re never going to rise to the occasion, you’re never going to win the Stanley Cup.
And I guess I should put it out there, for the sake of objectivity, I’m not a Rangers fan. But I pride myself on being able to keep an open mind. Although I can’t really picture any way the Rangers would be able to win me over, sure, in the infinite possibilities contained in the universe, there has to exist at least one way in which I’d jump on the Rangers bandwagon. But I can’t think of what that situation would look like.
Maybe if they had a little more heart. Well, I probably wouldn’t be a Rangers fan, but maybe I’d start to at least respect them just a little. It’s just that, you can only go so far in pro hockey without heart. I think this year’s playoffs have shown us that you can go pretty far. All the way to the end even. But without heart, it looks like second best is as good as it’s going to get.
Who knows? Maybe something will happen. Maybe the Rangers will find heart sometime between now and game four. I can’t really see it happening, seeing as how they’ve been playing without any heart for years now. It’s just who they are, it’s not their fault necessarily. They get out there on the ice, they think they can skate a good game without even taking a second to consider what role heart plays in the larger NHL equation. And yeah, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.
But just look at where they’re at now. It’s totally deflating. And like I said, I’m not even a Rangers fan. But as a human being fan, I’ve got to say that the Rangers’ performance for the past three games has actually shaken my faith in the very definition of heart. I always thought that, even if you were generally devoid of heart, that there always existed a little bit of heart, even just a sliver, somewhere deep down, that heart had to exist in all of us universally.
But I don’t know, I see these guys getting manhandled and I’m thinking, this is what the void looks like. Here exists proof that life can exist without any heart whatsoever. And it’s just depressing, you know, I don’t want the Rangers to win, but I didn’t want to see them get completely annihilated either. Where’s the fun in that? I would have much rather watched the series go to game seven, maybe a triple or a quadruple overtime, and then maybe Nash or St. Louis or even some fourth liner could have accidentally scored on their own net by mistake. That would have been awesome.
But this. What else can I say? You need heart to win. But I said that already.
At least New York won’t have to endure the total absence of heart for much longer. After this next season, the New York Islanders will be officially moving to Brooklyn, once and for all giving New York City hockey fans a reason to get excited again. Sure, the Islanders came off a disappointing 2013-14, but the future looks bright for the Isles, arguably one of the best teams in professional sports history.
And if the Rangers have any hope at all of actually finding some heart and making a play for game four, they better look to their future cross-river rivals. The Islanders are one of four teams in sports history to have come back from a three to nothing playoff deficit. They did it in 1975 against the Penguins. Unfortunately for the Rangers, one of the other four teams happens to be the 2014 Los Angeles Kings, when they came back from three zip to beat the Sharks.
Oh well, sorry Rangers, sorry Rangers fans, just remember, it’s not about the goal, sometimes it’s more important to focus on the journey. What a ride. You made a pretty good run. But, and I’ll say it one more time here, just to really drive the point home, without heart, you’ll never be able to go all the way. There’s no chance. And this year’s Stanley Cup finals are proof.