When Bruins greats of days past gather, it's a wonderful sight. Unfortunately, they never include the best goal scorer in team history. Phil Esposito never forgave the Bruins for trading him to the Rangers, and to be honest, I can see why he'd be offended.
We're reminded of their atrociousness with one of the preeminent story lines of the offseason's homestretch, the contract relations with Derek Stepan. Last year's best Ranger forward is currently being bullied by GM Glen Sather who's making little attempts to accommodate the team's next big star. And as we're all quite aware, Sather is among the more frugal GMs in hockey, particularly when it comes to free agent signings.
By the way, that Brad Richards contract is awesome.
Speaking of the team, no Rangers profile would be complete without mention of Henrik Lundqvist. While he may very well be the best goalie on planet Earth, he's going to have to defend that crown without the benefit of Michelin Man pads. Good luck, Hank! Oh, but what a dreamboat he is. If he is as much of a hunk as people claim, then why does he wear a mask that covers his face all the time? Think about it.
And you want to talk about ugly - his response to questions on Russia's anti-gay laws last month were just that. If you're going to support a cause, support it.
How about those Rangers fans? Like any New Yorker, their only real interests are telling you how great New York is and how every place that isn't New York isn't as good as New York. When they're not droning on and on about how awesome their bagels and pizza are (by the way, I have no problem getting comparable versions of each here), they're inciting their own players to violence. Is it any wonder that the team just sat around and watched as Milbury and co. jumped the boards to regulate?
But let me tell you, games at Madison Square Garden are a treat! They're chockfull of bad lighting, poor ice, questions about how magical is it to play there and of course, a goal song that gives fans a friendly reminder of who the team is in case they forgot.
This season, though, the Rangers will look a little different. Gone is the immature super tough guy John Tortorella as he swapped teams with his replacement, Alain Vigneault. A lot of people are excited about this because they feel Vigneault fits the team culture to a tee. I happen to agree, his penchant for whining makes him seem like a true New Yorker.
In an effort to keep things lighthearted, I'd like to leave you with a collection of fun thoughts from the Bruins/Rangers playoff series last year from MSG analyst and hashtag enthusiast Stan Fischler:
Repeat: #Rangers in five mostly because of goaltending and the emergence of #RickNash. If Boston wins the series, I eat beans for a week.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 16, 2013
Oops! Blueshirts have to win four in a row to make my call look good. Gotta go back to the goal and figure what went wrong. B's relentless.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 17, 2013
Hey, #Rangers lost first two in #Washington. A comeback -- after two days rest -- won't be tough.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 17, 2013
Whoops! Again. Looks like #Rangers are adopting beat #Washington strategy. Lose first two games; then go on to win series. Not to worry!— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 19, 2013
Since the #Rangers are closely following the #Washington series script, it'll be interesting to see how #Boston copes with MSG ice.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 20, 2013
If you were #ClaudeJulien would you keep #ToreyKrug on defense for Game Three? This is as starry a kid as I've seen in a while. Tough call.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 20, 2013
Plenty of historic precedent for a #Rangers comeback. Start with '42 #Leafs and '75 #Islanders. How about #Bruins blowing three game lead?— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 22, 2013
#MapleLeafs '42 comeback was launched with a major roster shakeup. Benching of #BradRichards could be portent of a restoration of '42 tale.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 23, 2013
If what I hear is correct and #Tortorella is benching more than just #Richards, Torts is doing precisely what Leafs coach #HapDay did in '42— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 23, 2013
#Rask unbelievably bad. Bad. #Rangers come right. Bs better start worrying.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
As I predicted, Rask blows one, Stepan scores. Bs in disarray. Rangers start the miracle. #Boston panic now in effect. Rask and Chara fold.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
What did I tell you -- a fourth-liner did the trick. #Rangers have #Bruins where they want them -- in Panics-vlle. #Rask won't be the same.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
Tuukka Rask slipping on invisible banana peel on ice is latest in the endless collection of #Boston sports blunders. Blowing series next.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
No matter how they conceal it, the #Bruins have to be concerned. 1. The Rask Gasp; 2. Poor series vs. Toronto; 3. Bs history of collapse.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
There is such a thing as "karma" and right now the #Rangers have it. Whether the #Bruins can remove same in time, is #ClaudeJulien's concern— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 24, 2013
Reasons for #Bruins to worry: 1. Ghosts of '42 Red Wings; 2. Ghosts of '75 Penguins; 3. #TuukaRask heebie-jeebies; 4.The King; 5. R karma.— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) May 25, 2013
Not quite, Stan.