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.”
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…