Thursday, November 13, 2008

15 Years Later, It Still Hurts

I have to give credit where credit is due. The Rangers are one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. At the moment, I'd probably give a slight edge to Montreal. It's still early, and a lot can (and hopefully will) still change. But over the past few seasons, regardless of their record or place in the standings, I never considered them to be a true threat to even advance to the Cup Finals. Too many missing pieces. This year, things appear to be wide open.

For whatever reason I woke up this morning pondering what things would be like if, gasp, the Rangers win the Cup this year. And yes, I am knocking on wood as I write all of this.

It took me back to the summer of 1994. I was returning home after my freshman year of college. Through May and early June, I was dealing with some major damage to my knee which kept me distracted from most things - including, mercifully, the Rangers march towards the Eastern Conference Championship. I was certainly aware of it, it just wasn't as big a priority as it normally would have been. In early June I had knee surgery which essentially had me on modified bed rest for most of the summer. Which meant a lot of time planted in front of the TV. Just in time to watch 54 years of futility come to a gut wrenching end.

June 14, 1994 - a day that will live in infamy. Literally the second the clock hit triple-zeroes, I turned off the TV. I couldn't watch. I was depressed enough being laid up for the whole summer, I needed this like a proverbial hole-in-the-head. Try as I did, it was impossible to avoid coverage of the win. It took all I had not to jump out the window every time I saw the cackling Messiah Messier hoisting the Cup.

As guilty as I feel saying this...thank goodness for OJ. Three days after the Evil Empire proved you can buy the Stanley Cup, a former NFL star led the LAPD on a low-speed chase down I-405. From that moment, all you could find on TV was coverage of all things Simpson. No more media time for the NHL's new darlings. Like any victim in denial, I was able to pretend like it all never happened.

Should the unthinkable happen again this season, I actually think I'd be able to handle it a bit better. Maybe it's the natural maturity that comes with age, but realistically I haven't matured much over the years. I think what it boils down to is, as much as I despise the Rangers, I don't have a lot of hate for the current players on the roster. Sure, I hate Queen Henrik, but I respect his skills. And of course I loathe Colton Orr, but isn't that what he's there for? Beyond those clowns, the Rangers have put together a pretty good team. Sure, a lot of it was bought, but in this new salary cap era their moves are far less detestable than they were in the early 2000s. I think they've put themselves in a tough position for the future with some inflated contracts, but as far as the team today, it's pretty solid. If I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind having some of those pieces on our roster.

But still, it would hurt. A lot.

Between now and June, I'll continue to stick pins in my Drury voodoo doll. But should worse come to worst, I'll just move back to my state from 1994 - denial. I'll draw the curtains, plug my ears, and wait for October to come around and wipe the slate clean.



murph said...

Good story Mike, mine is mostly the same...minus the busted knee.

I was still at college for summer classes. First, I started yelling at the TV for a penalty with 1 second left as the Rangers started to jump on the ice a little early. Then I headed to the back porch of my house and screamed "noooooooooo!" at the top of my lungs for as long as i could.

Fish Bulb said...

I think part of this has to do with the fact that you're not starved for a title. Giants won last year which fills that void a little bit. They are playing their way to possible another title this year. It's easier to sit through a tough Isles season when you've got that to fall back on.

Mike Carey and Brian Carey said...

Murph - I think, for Islanders fans, it's one of those moments akin to a tragedy. "You'll never forget where you were when the Rangers won the Cup". Sorry to make you rehash those memories!

Fishbulb - Go Big Blue!

Chris said...

is that the same knee you hurt when you fell down the stairs as a kid?

Anonymous said...

i think this islanders/rangers bs is bs;let's be honest with ourselves at least once-our beloved islanders unfortunately suck and rangers have nothing to do with it;if they win cup this year i would care less just b/c they have right ownership and management to put great team together;look at our roster!!! it's a disgrace; i've been following this team for 15 years and for all those years it showed nothing;with all due respect to the islanders fans, you can blame only the ownership and management of this organization;this is my last season as a ticketholder, b/c it's waste of time and money; again,if rangers can pull stanley cup this year-good for them,but MR.WANG and COMPANY should concentrate on puting good team together instead of thinking how to make more money by building in coliseum area

Anonymous said...

islanders suck!!! let's go rangers!!!

Anonymous said...

rangers all the way!!! let's go for the cup!!!

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