I don’t have to describe the agony that every single Rangers fan felt upon losing the Stanley Cup Finals.
With the blare of that final fateful buzzer, a king sized spear (pun intended) sliced not just through our hearts, but our hopes of another title. The phrase, “there is always next year” offered little comfort.
Not even close.
So what happens now? Simple. They move forward, but that is easier said then done. While it is not in the Rangers to simply lay down and die, they need to regroup for a long and difficult season that looms before them.
The hockey season is a punishing and an unforgiving time, both physically and mentally. The injuries can be severe, tempers flare and the sheer number of games can exhaust any player. The Rangers cannot let their last game haunt them.
For his first season as their head coach, Alain Vigneault truly did a great job leading the Rangers this far, and has a lot to be proud of. It will be up to him to make sure that the team is ready. So far, he has done his part.Vigneault and general managers Jim Schoenfeld and Jim Gorton are filling the roster with some seasoned players such as; Chris Bourque, Nick Tarnasky, Matthew Lombardi Lee Stempniak and more . They also managed to re-sign Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreide rand Derick Brassard. We still have the draft to look forward to as well.
Personally, my heart breaks for the king himself, Henrik Lundqvist. While I am pleased with the overall performance of our team, it was Lundqvist that got us this far. I believe that I speak for all Ranger fans when I say that nobody can blame him for our loss. I used to play water polo back in the day as a goalie, and whenever we lost a game, I always put the weight of the loss upon my shoulders. While hockey and water polo are polar opposites, and I was nowhere near as good of a goalie as Lundqvist was, my father told me something that rang true, no matter what sport you play: “If they got passed you, they also passed through the rest of the team.”
Lundqvist took this loss hard, understandably so. “It’s always like that when the season is over; you keep thinking about things and you try to learn from it, but after a while you kind of move on,” he said. He is one of the best goalies in the league, and still has the ability to keep moving forward. I just hope that his mind follows his body.
Preseason starts soon, and we will truly see if the Rangers still maintain that conviction that got them on the edge of a championship, a championship that they long deserve. A championship that they will win.