It’s up to buzzkills like me in the media to harp on the improbable odds the Rangers face down 3-0 in this series.
But it’s not the responsibility of fans. And I truly believe if you’re a professional athlete, you’re hardwired differently than the rest of us anyway.
My point is this: yes, the Rangers are most likely going to lose this series; and given the assorted injuries they’re now facing, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it all ended tonight.
But I don’t expect them to go quietly, for all the obvious reasons: because it’s their job; because they’ll be galvanized by a home crowd; because even if they do end up losing this series, I doubt they want to lose it in such demoralizing fashion.
Plus, I go back to what I said: athletes are different. When I write that only two teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit, you and I are probably focusing on the “only” in that phrase. The Rangers may well choose to think, “Hey, two teams have actually come back!”
Contrary to what you might read, hockey players are not stupid, nor are they oblivious to the severity of their situation. But I don’t care who you are: Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Nigel Dawes. You don’t make it to this level of your profession without occasionally dismissing the odds.
“Great things are done in the face of doubt, and that’s why they’re great,” Tom Renney said just now, sounding not unlike Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks. “That’s why they’re exceptional, and extraordinary people do those kinds of things. And extraordinary teams. Weâ€™re trying to write our own story.”
<li>Chris Drury is definitely in according to Tom Renney, but everything else is in flux. Earlier in the day, Renney said Lauri Korpikoski would probably play, but just now he said the center would be a game-time decision. As far as I could tell, Petr Prucha, Colton Orr, and Ryan Hollweg are all preparing to skate in warm ups.
<li>I could be reading into this, but it did seem like both Jagr and Shanahan had more than usual on their minds when they entered the Rangers locker room earlier. Shanahan is never much of a talker before games, but he barely looked up when he walked in. And while Jagr is usually good for assorted jokes, observations, and trivia questions while preparing his sticks, he mostly kept to himself.
Just think, tonight might be the last time I breathe in the assorted paint fumes from the captain working on his lumber.
OK, more in a bit…