…the Rangers need a win tonight for the poor vendors who I shared an elevator ride with at the Garden this afternoon.
“I hope they win,” one woman said. “When they win, people want to buy stuff. No one buys anything when they lose.”
See, I was actually surprised by that. Isn’t it when a team is so depressingly bad that fans start drinking en masse? Aren’t the Rangers just one more bad period away from a record spike in Budweiser sales?
OK, so they’re not there yet. Believe it or not, a win tonight vaults them right back into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, which, while well short of what they expected during the off-season (“We signed Drury and Gomez! We’re going to be scratching and clawing for a playoff spot!”), it does serve as a reminder that their fate is in their hands.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi will be reunited as a defensive pairing. Since Michal Rozsival and Marek Malik will be together as well, that leaves Marc Staal with Paul Mara.
<li>Don’t expect any emotional “These bastards knocked us out of the playoffs!” speeches from any Rangers. Given the turnover on both teams, especially on the Buffalo side, there doesn’t seem to be much point.
Strangely, I think back to that series last spring with a tinge of sadness, which is amazing when you consider it included two trips to Buffalo of all places. But having covered a lot of different cool events, playoff hockey beats them all. And right now, that’s not a given for the Rangers.
<li>On the Rangers European plans for next season: The deal that would have them play part of their exhibition in Switzerland before opening with a two-game set in Prague isn’t done yet, but either way, the team would still play some preseason games here as well.
<li>And regarding next week: The Brian Leetch retirement ceremony next Thursday begis at 6:30, not 7. Pass it on.
More in a bit…