If the alternative was to be a healthy team with a wounded pride because they’re already out of the playoff race, the Rangers will surely take their reality: one of a decidedly unhealthy team that is still just two points out of a playoff spot.
With that in mind, the assortment of ill-timed injuries (including “Brendan Shanahan’s uncertain condition”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070308/SPORTS01/703080349/1108) is the focus around the Rangers heading into tonight’s re-match on Strong Island.
There are two ways to look at the team’s current dilemma: they are either cursed to have lost so many key players at such a crucial point in the season; or they were lucky to have spent so much of the year relatively healthy, and they should be kicking themselves for not making more of it.
Either way, I’m not sure you can fold up the tent just yet, and here’s why: be it last season when they were picked to finish dead last, or this season when they seemed to be well off the playoff pace, the Rangers have played some of their best hockey when the expectations have been lowest. The opposite is true as well, that they’ve been mediocre when they’re supposed to flourish. Fortunately now, with the likes of Shanny, Tyutin, and Hossa on the sldelines, the bar can’t be set very high.
Man. And I thought golfers were head cases….
Meanwhile, a brief word about my situation: it’s looking more and more like you’ll be in the capable hands of Andrew Gross today and tonight because of my ongoing civic duty in Westchester County Court. If I get out at a decent hour, I might try to fly down to the Coliseum in time for the opening face-off. Otherwise, I’ll be relying on Sam and Joe on the TV (and maybe Kenny and Dave on the radio) to get me through the night.
There’s nothing like being in the press box and breathing the musty air of an ice rink, so this is absolutely killing me. But far more important people than I have to endure jury duty, too, so maybe it’s time I stop complaining about it….