A Love Letter to the New York Rangers

Let me just start this off with a joyful and very well deserved “Congratulations.”  You boys made it to the Stanley Cup Final. For the first time in 20 years, you’re 4 wins away from hockey’s gold, 4 wins away from hoisting 35 pounds of silver and sacred bliss. Just as a mother taking pride in her son, a wife whose heart is locked in her husband’s hands, and a fan whose undying passion matches that of the men on the ice – I thank you. We thank you. We thank you for all your fight and all your spirit. 

We thank the King as he steps closer to his throne. Henrik Lundqvist. The man whose gaze can lure in anything with a pulse. The man who has undoubtedly been a brick wall this postseason. The man who head butts pucks as if his face was not carefully crafted by the gods. We don’t love you because you have the highest save percentage this postseason. (A whopping .928, atta’ boy.) We don’t just love you because you make Game 7’s end with happy memories. (Only goaltender in NHL history with 5 straight Game 7 wins. That’s not luck, that’s talent.) No, that’s not just why we love you. We love you for your heart, your passion, your strength. We see it in every move, every word, and every heartbreaking look in your eyes when the media floods the locker rooms after a loss. Even with a rough start to the season. Through the emotional pressers and interviews, the weird bounces, superhuman saves and everything in between – We will always love and admire you. It took you 9 years, Hank, and you made it. If any one man deserves to hoist that Cup, it’s you. 

And my man, Martin St. Louis. Maaaarty. After Biron bid his farewell, I didn’t think we’d hear a GOOD “Marty” chant at the Garden again. I’m glad we’ve gotten that chance, and (after an emotional and head-scratching trade) I’m glad you’re a Blueshirt. Your story has been a big one, and I send my most sincere condolences to you and your family after losing Mama France. But I truly believe, all ‘hockey god’ talk aside, that she has been the one watching over you and the team. Whatever ghosts followed us in the past, whether it be at Bell Centre or otherwise, didn’t stand a chance against the angel you now have accompanying you to every game. I know she’s always with you, and the truly heart-warming way the team came together for you has been a privilege to witness. We’re no longer watching a team play; we’re watching a family play. 

And we’ve watched you all from the start. We were there through the rocky never-ending road-trip in October. And there when the Sharks won 9-2 and ‘heart-break’ earned itself a new meaning. We were there through the horrid power plays – season in and season out – and you nearly killed us by going 0 for 36 this postseason. (Seriously, Kreider, thanks for putting an end to that.) 

We were there to watch Kreider act as a human ping pong ball as he got sent from NHL to AHL and then back again. (Seriously, Torts?) We were there to welcome Dominic Moore back to the game after the tragic loss of his wife. (Again, D.Moore, my deepest, most sincere condolences.) We were there with Nash through his goal droughts. We were there for Stepan through his stalemate with management, waiting ever so patiently. There with Staal through his horrific eye injury, and again when he shot a puck right at our dear friend, John Giannone. We were there to watch and admire the beloved Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust line, and there again to give Prusty a piece of our minds after his hit on Stepan. We were there for every “Potvin Sucks!” and twice as loud for every “Let’s Go Rangers!” 

We were there through the firings and hirings and the welcoming of Alain Vigneault. And game in and game out, we’d watch him smack his gum, or hard candy, or whatever the hell it was that he seemingly always has on hand. We’d watch and pray that the man knew what he was doing, that the man would take us to the Promised Land. And he did. And for that, AV, we thank you. 

20 years. It’s been 20 years since we’ve been here. 20 years of waiting, 30 years of Sam, an eternity of hope – and now we’re here. And if we’re good at anything, guys, it’s hope. There’s a reason the word “Believe” marries a hashtag and we wear the hell out of it. There’s a reason the Garden is a testing and downright scary building for other teams to enter. The Rangers have one of the best and most loyal fanbases within the NHL. We’re loud, proud and passionate – and will always stand behind you – through the ups and downs, through every and any outcome. 

Listen, perhaps it’s too early for a “love letter.” Again, we’re a mere 4 wins away. The Cup is still a dream, a goal, a series long reach away. But we’re proud of you boys. You’re the first to come this close since the ’94 team. You’re the only team in Rangers history to rally and come back after being down 3-1 in a series. You’re the only team going for it without a captain, and that only emphasizes the point I made about playing as a family. (Good look on Richie, Staal and Girardi for inviting the team to accept the Prince of Wales trophy, by the way. A truly beautiful moment.) You, the 2014 Rangers, are already winners in our book. We will continue to love you whether we get swept in the Final or if you take us to another Game 7. The love will always be unconditional. (But take it easy on the overtimes, guys, because heart attacks are really not fun at all.) We will always be the Blueshirt Faithful and we could not be more proud than we are now. If there’s anything you should know before heading to the Cup Final, that’s it right there. We’re with you ‘til the end. 

Yours truly,
The Blueshirt Faithful