I will try to contain my emotions that this will be my last trip here for a while—barring an unforeseen switch to the Arena Football beat (I should keep my voice down. I don’t want to give the boss any ideas).
But at least tonight will be packed with meaning. It used to be that qualifying for the playoffs in the NHL was about as noteworthy as getting a base hit in tee ball. But the 30-team league has changed that dynamic, and as any Rangers fan will know, it’s hardly a given.
Yes, these Rangers were always supposed to make the playoffs, and should they never make it past the first round, the season will be a disappointment. But given where this team was around the All-Star break, a clinch tonight would at least be worth celebrating.
“It’s an accomplishment for me,” Tom Renney said with a laugh. “No, it is an accomplishment. It’s a very, very competitive league and this has been one of the better years in a long time in terms of the space between one and eight and eight and the rest. I think it’s super. I think it’s outstanding for the league, outstanding for the fans, and certainly for the teams who play hard right to the end, as they should. This is serious stuff.”