Man, I haven't said that in a while.
To be honest It's taken me more than a few days to recover from the loss to the Bolts at Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena. I had an expectation than not only would the Rangers beat the Bolts but also go on to win the Stanley Cup. It's true, I really felt that it was our year, our time, our destiny to win that damned Cup. Nope, it was not on all counts. I was so wrong.
I WAS WRONG.
I have no problem admitting that. I had solid data to go on. The data was right, it still is. What went wrong is kind of complicated but I stand by my prediction. Had the Rangers played as they did in the Regular season, they would have won the Cup. They didn't.
I have no clue.
Rick Nash scored 42 goals in the regular season. He had five in the playoffs. FIVE. I know, it's his history. Rick has poor playoff numbers historically but I saw no reasons he couldn't have scored more. Yes he was checked well, yes he took lots of shots and yes he showed effort. But he didn't score. The team itself didn't score but for three games maybe four all playoff long. Why? I have no clue.
It began in the Pens series.
Every damned game was decided by one goal. 2-1 became a normal game win or lose. In each game the opposition was close throughout allowing for one bad bounce, one spectacular effort or one bad play to give them a win. Unlike the regular season at no time during the playoffs did the Rangers dominate with the exception of game six in the conference finals. I really expected the Rangers to dominate teams and not even give them hope. Instead, every team had the feeling they could win and the Bolts decided to take that opportunity and cash in.
I have read that Dan Girardi and Marc Staal had surgery. I kind of expected to see a larger list of players who were playing with bad injuries. Marty St. Louis was nearly invisible after his return from a knee injury. His one goal and seven points in nineteen games was less than noticeable. His giveaways and missed opportunities did however stand out like an eyesore.
Going into the Playoffs I expected a deep team with many offensive weapons, the best defense in the NHL and one of the best keepers in the world to bull their way into the finals. From game one on it became a survival test. At some point they had to crack with all the pressure they had to endure. It was self inflicted in my opinion but I can't claim to know or understand what changed and why it had the effect it did. It was clear to me that the philosophy changed and while it seemed to work for a while, it did not achieve the goal. What else can I say?
I sure as hell didn't expect the pesky Bolts to replicate game five in game seven but that's exactly what they did. It was damn near flawless hockey from them. You work all year to get home ice in case you need it in a game seven, you get to that place in time and then........poof! It's gone. How in the hell can the NY Rangers fail to score at home in a game seven? How?
I have no clue.
As of today, The Hawks are one win from a Cup with two games to play. I am rooting for the Bolts to win the next two but Chicago looks tough to beat. I then expect to ignore hockey and play a ton of golf. I'm trying to break 80. So far I get close only to take a few steps backwards. It's a frustrating journey so far.
I am working on a project that might include Hockeybird, I'm just not sure yet, I'll let ya know.
Until then, Beer Me!