NY Sports Day

The Fun Has Just Begun On Broadway

After everything is said in done for the 2011-2012 season, history will record the Rangers having a good run. It could have been better, but for a team, who no one expected to be the No. 1 seed in the East, this was as good run for the youngest team in hockey.

But in the end, the Rangers ran out of gas. The two 7-Game series in the first two rounds took a lot out of the team and even though coach John Tortorella scoffed at the suggestion, it was clear the Devils had the fresher legs and outplayed the fatigued Broadway team.

Also because of its young age, the Rangers needed a lesson about winning in the spring.

“It  has  nothing to do with being tired,” Tortorella said.  “This is part of learning to play.   And  I  couldn’t be happier how we responded after, again, a pretty shaky  first  period.   I  thought  we  were in a good spot going into that overtime.”

Whatever it was, one thing is certain: These Rangers had heart…miles and miles of it and while they never gave up to the end, the inexperience and the fatigue didn’t stop them fighting until the bitter end.

And they made New York proud. This is the type of team Ranger fans wanted for years – a bunch of scrappy fighters who take away the other team’s will by frustrating them every time out on the ice.

They play every minute of every game and earn their money with their bodies, hearts and souls.

“I love our jam.  I love our balls,” Tortorella said. “ I really like what we have here.  I don’t think it will be the  same.   There’s  always changes.  But what they have — what our group has  developed  in  their  identity, their mindset, I think showed tonight. Again,  we  don’t  get  it  done,  but  I  just  like  the  way they handle themselves.”

Yet, the Devils, who may be on their last hurrah with both Zach Parise and Marty Broudeur free agents, move forward to play the upstart Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup.

On the bright side, being one of the youngest teams in hockey does have its advantages for the Rangers. They will remain a force over the next few seasons with very few players over the age of 30.

Henrik Lundqvist just turned the magical 3-0, but he doesn’t seem like he is ready to slow down anytime soon.

The defense with Ryan McDonough, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Michael Del Zotto seem to be poised to form the core of the defense for many years to come. And with Tim Erixon and Dylan “The Undertaker” McIlrath in the minors ready to challenge for spots, the blue line is sound.

And the offense got a jolt with Chris Kreider starring in these playoffs. Ryan Callahan is only 27 and Derek Stepan is just 22.

“We’re  still a young club,” Tortorella said.  “And we still have quite a bit to learn as far  as  the  desperation,  when you get to this third round.  I just don’t want  us  to  — and you hear it so much, and I won’t accept it.  You know, you won a couple of rounds.  You got into the third round.  That isn’t good enough.  We still have to find a way to win another round and get there.

“I  just  don’t  want this organization to sit still and say, because, prior,  it was barely getting into the Playoffs, losing in the first round, maybe getting to the second round.”

Oh changes will come and the Rangers will be ready for next season, whenever it starts. Yet right now, Ranger fans should appreciate what happened over the last month and a half and know this is just the beginning for the Blueshirts.

The fun has just begun.

 


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