The Invisible Team

Has anyone noticed that the Rangers have the best record in the NHL?  After 43 games they have 60 points and sit a top the Eastern Conference, but they don’t seem to get a lot of attention in the local media.

Part of it is the fact that they are a hockey team.  I love hockey, but I get that a lot of people don’t.  It’s not a game that the casual fan necessarily makes a connection with.  Furthermore, it is the sport that loses the most on TV.  Watch a football game on TV and you don’t miss much.  Watch a hockey game and there is a lot that you simply don’t see.

And watching a game has become harder recently.  Time Warner Cable and MSG Networks have gone to war and the result is that the Rangers are no longer on local television.  The dispute started January 1st and to date, the two sides haven’t sat down to talk about things.  That isn’t a good sign.

It’s funny, but I think back to 1994 and the Rangers were the toast of the town.  Part of it was the fact that they hadn’t won a Stanley Cup in 44 years, but they also hit a fallow period for New York sports.  The Yankees were a team with a great history that hadn’t made the playoffs in 13 years. The Giants were on the decline after a Super Bowl win in 1991.  The Mets had squandered a budding dynasty. Other than the Knicks, the Rangers were the only game in town and they had superstars like Mark Messier to capture the imagination of the city.

And here we are 17 years later and the Rangers can’t seem to get any attention.  Ryan Callahan isn’t Messier, but he is a force on the ice.  Marian Gaborik can score with anyone in the league and Henrik Lundqvist may be the best goaltender in the NHL right now.  It may not add up to much come the playoffs, and Rangers’ fans certainly understand that, but it is a great story right now.  Hopefully, it starts to get some attention.

 

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Comments

  • tim  On January 19, 2012 at 3:13 am

    It’s not just the Rangers. Hockey isn’t what it used to be. I loved hockey. Season tickets during the late 90s for the Rangers. Just not the same after the lockout. League expanded too much. Quality of play dropped.

  • nysportsfanatic  On January 19, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Tim

    Do you think hockey is worse now than it was right before the lockout? Personally, I think the post lockout rules have made play a lot more exciting than it was in the late 90’s/early 00’s. (No more neutral zone trap)

  • tim  On January 20, 2012 at 12:03 am

    For me, I just lost touch with the game post lockout a bit and the re-organization of divisions just changed the feel of the game & rivalries. It seemed the local media cared less too but maybe that is a projection. So my point/question (and its a real question, not rhetorical) is “I don’t think they’ve gotten much attention in the local media for a decade, are they getting less now?”

    I know there was a big push to have the game open up and take out some of the chippy intimidation play and increase scoring but maybe guiltily I liked the game before. Some of the best hockey games I ever witnessed were Rangers Devils games where Devils employed a neutral zone trap. The heated Rangers Islanders rivalries. Boston v Montreal. I tried to get back into it but it just felt unfamiliar to me. To be fair, my capacity for sports was less with the intro of a marriage and family so I don’t want to “Mike Francessa” you here, I haven’t watched much hockey in the last 10yrs.

    Mike Francessa (verb): To express strong opinions on sports I have little knowledge about to someone who does with the infalliable sense of the pope.

  • blmeanie  On January 20, 2012 at 1:14 am

    I wish I had a hockey team in town

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