Tuesday, July 31, 2012

AUGUST HAS 31 LONG, UGLY DAYS

In the hockey world, this is a horrible month. It's long and there is little to no action for those passionate about the NHL and it's teams. Sure, as a player, vacation is over and it's time to get back into the workout routine and get back onto the ice. But fans don't really need to get back into shape. Fans can ramp up to game ready in less than 24 hours. One doesn't need to practice the "Potvin Sucks" chant. There is no need to regain form.....we can stack beer bottles and cans in our sleep. It takes mere seconds to assemble the special jersey, hat or other trinkets used by us fans. I don't need to practice ordering a pizza. Very few fans will make their first jaunt to the world's most famous arena and those who do now have GPS. The Die Hard Ranger fan is ready 24/7 - 365. As Lady Gaga would say, we were born this way. (ew...er,..... I mean,....um, .....not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Yep, August is a horrible month for us.

Even the discussions about the Nash deal have gone stale. However, I have read through some message board threads concerning line combos and possible Power Play configurations. Those involved in these threads are hard core fans. While they are silly and meaningless exercises in futility, I do admire the hard core fan as they try and out think the head coach and GM, spitting out countless uninformed posts on who should be playing with whom. For someone like me, it's near torture to navigate through the uninformed, self indulgent diatribes. But like most of you, I am hungry for the game I love and I'm willing to endure one hundred silly posts to find that one gem in the rough. (I'm still looking for that one post).

OK, don't get me wrong(ly)......I shouldn't even talk on this as I am just as guilty as any I just offended in the above paragraphs. Not only have I done this in the past, I did it knowing how unproductive it was....yet I did it anyway. Hell, I may do it again as August doesn't begin until tomorrow. It reminds me of a famous quote from one of the all time great American films. "What the hell are we supposed to do, ya moron?". Ah yes, Stork from Animal House was wise beyond his years. Oh the gifts we give to the world.

It's occured to me that I've either ripped off or paid homage to the Hockeyrodent. It's not just the (ly) thing. I spent three paragraphs ripping a group of people only to admit that I belong in the group AND I haven't really said a gosh darn thing worth reading yet I'm filling up the page. If that's not classic Rodent......

There is one discussion that merits attention no matter what month we are in. The Rodent has pointed out for some time now that there is for the New York Rangers, a window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup and that the window while open now will be closing. His theory is not unique but it is dead on. If one contemplates the length of time that Henke can perform at his highest level (I for one believe he got better last year) and combines that thought with the contract status of players reaching the restricted and un-restricted free agent staus, it becomes clear that Glen Sather has little room for error in his quest for the ultimate prize. Those who read the Rodent know he refers to the Cup as Pie. Don't ask, I couldn't possibly explain. I believe I have coined the phrase, "Pie or Die".

PIE OR DIE

While we won't know the details of the new CBA until the two parties agree on something, it's fair to assume a few things. In order to retain the nessasary components in place for a realistic Cup run, Slats will have some issues in the 2013-2014 season. Players like McDonagh, Del Zotto and others will be asking to get paid. Their request (or those of their agents) may exceed the cap ceiling meaning that one or more current Rangers and fan favorites may have to go. I violently hate the cap as it forces teams to make roster moves that have nothing to do with winning, rather they are made for cap reasons only. For this reason and others I believe it's fair to suggest that the upcoming season just may be the best single opportunity for a Cup in quite some time and it's possible that we'll not have such a wonderful opportunity again. I am suggesting here that Slats should go for it. I'm quite sure he knows all this and is planning to do just that. Similar to the Keenan/Smith moves leading up to the '94 run, now is the time to throw caution to the wind and do whatever is needed to give Torts what he needs to win it all.

OK, it's true that the Rangers have patiently built this team the correct way with home grown talent and select pieces aquired. Eyes to the future has been the plan since the "Fire Sale" before the '04 lockout. Now is the time to collect. Let's face it, there are now die hard Ranger fans who were not even alive when Matteau scored in double overtime through the legs of Uncle Daddy. They didn't see the Devs score with no time on the clock to force OT. They know not of the angst of losing game one in OT vs. the dEvils and in the Vancouver series and the nervous, painful last 1.2 second face off after a horrible icing call. In a word, it's been a while. I'll never forget what some think of only as "history". Sure, I read about the 1940 Cup and even seen some black and white photos but it has no feel for me. It wasn't MY cup. The same holds true for many regarding the '94 team. Yes, it's time. It's our time. We want the Cup. So to wrap this up, (I know, you've been crying for mercy since you came here) the NY Ranger faithful as well as the owner, GM, coach and players must have one single goal this season. Last year was fun and the conference final appearence fulfilled a goal. But this year is different. This is the year we taste Stanley Pie.

It's PIE OR DIE time.
Now, where did I put that pizza guy's phone number? And CRAP, I'm outta beer. It's gonna be a long August.

----}- Bird

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