It’s amazing how one week you are riding high. Everything was turning up NYR. The trade deadline was seen as a success, the Rags were winning left and right, our team defense was stellar, our all-stars were dominating, and Igor couldn’t be beaten. This week, the sky is falling and making the playoffs seems like a laughing matter.
Breath in for 4 seconds. Hold for 4. Breath out for 4 seconds. Hold for 4. Repeat this for at least a minute. Calm the body. Calm the mind. I’m here to tell you everything is going to be ok. Playoffs are not out of reach. And if we do fall short it is a great teaching moment for the youngest team in the NHL.
The New York Rangers have now lost twice to the Flyers who have won 6 in a row. They are chasing that number 1 spot in the toughest division in hockey. Then they fell to the St. Louis Blues who are the top team in the West. Defending Stanley Cup champions and are in an 8 game winning streak. We didn’t get knocked out of the playoff race. We ran into a perfect storm of very tough opponents.
Luckily for the Rangers, the teams amidst the playoff race in the East are all hitting a rut. The Islanders just got blown out by the Habs and cannot score. The Hurricanes have question marks in goal and can’t seem to find the consistency that they had last year. The Blue Jackets are so beat up, I would be utterly shocked if they make the playoffs. Props to Torts and those players for rising to the challenge every game. Gutsy win vs the Nucks. And finally the Florida Panthers are…well…the Florida Panthers.
The Rangers are in this. They have just a good shot as any of those teams. There are 16 games left in the season and have to gain 4 points. It’s not unfathomable. Let’s all take this ride one game at a time and concentrate on the game at hand. They play the Caps next and even if they lose, it’s not all over. Let’s just get through this game and gear up for the final 15 games. If we get a point or not, we just survived the toughest week of hockey without losing any ground. Every game after the Caps is winnable and I fully think the Rags can go on a nice 10-5 run to make the playoffs.
If we don’t. That’s ok. This season has been a huge success in terms of development and experience. We have the youngest team in the league and nobody expected us to be playing meaningful hockey in March. Be proud of this squad and take it all in. What’s happening in NY is special and the start of a potential cup contender. Remember. This is year one of the rebuild. Let’s finish strong. Let’s grow next year and build off this success and then let’s gear up for our contending years. We are well beyond expectations of our managements timeline. Let’s all take a deep breath. Enjoy it.