If you have been reading my blog for the greater portion of this season, you probably know that I have been holding onto my belief that the Rangers can win the Stanley Cup with the personnel that they currently possess. But after the Rangers imploded with a horrid 3 game losing streak beginning with a thrashing at the hands of Pittsburgh, my faith has deserted me. Yes, there is always time to win me back but until this team goes on a tear, and by that I mean a 10-2-1 type tear, I have lost hope.
What changed my mind? Well I always worried that my belief was irrational, and that my heart forced me to believe twisted logic. But perhaps what really broke the camels back was that the impressive run the Rangers were on before the break managed to evaporate quicker than a bottle of Poland Spring in the Sahara. The road trip that set off the run seemed like the turning point, the time and place where the Rangers defined their type of game and showed that they could beat any team on any given day. Turns out that this phenomenon only occurs once in a while, and the playoffs are much longer than just a few games. The consistency that I hoped for was faux, ersatz, false, bogus and forged. In other words, it did not exist.
But what really hurt was the way in which the Rangers lost those games. They played the way I believed they needed to. They played it safe, they were responsible. They got pucks deep and got pucks to the net. What they did not, scratch that, what they could not do was score. Not against Boston, very little against Pittsburgh and barely against All-Star and Hall Of Famer Kari Lehtonen and the Thrashers. So it turns out that the Rangers can't win consistently no matter how they play. They don't finish plays and they don't score on the power play, and when you have to outscore your opponent, this becomes a minor problem.
How did they win in October, you ask. Well maybe, just maybe, when you start the season before everybody else, you are more prepared. It takes some time for everybody to catch up. Maybe the Rangers were fastest out of the gate, but in the home stretch they don't have what it takes. They have lost more games than they have won since November 1. This is not promising. So no more blind belief. Until something dramatic happens, and I mean Sean Avery dramatic, this season is moot. I believe I am the last Rangers fan on this site to throw in the towel, but one more to the dirty pile makes it unanimous. The Rangers are dead and buried and all that is left is for Martin Brodeur to return and put the nail in the coffin. The only consolation is that reincarnation is a common occurrence in hockey. But that doesn't happen on its own. It happens when this changes: