There are a few defining moments in a person’s life. First kisses; Hair where there was no hair before; and, of course, choosing a professional sports team. As important as it is to use extra tongue on that first kiss, it’s just as important to pick the right team to follow. After all, it’s a lifetime commitment (most of the time). Sometimes, it’s out of your hands (i.e., if your allegiance is handed down from your parents). As far as Jobu’s case goes, looking for a new NHL team in the tri-state area is an easy choice. Spoiler alert: it’s not a team from New York, and I will tell you why.
Picking the New York Rangers or the Islanders wouldn’t be the dumbest thing you could do. You could drink a gallon of lead paint. Cheering for either of those two would probably be the second dumbest thing you could do, however, and they’re equally as harmful to your physical and mental health.
Let’s start with the Rangers, who first appeared in 1927 and are one of the original six NHL franchises. One might think that in the 86 years that the franchise has been in existence, they would have built quite a storied legacy. Regrettably for their fans, that is not the case. They have won four Stanley Cup titles in their history, and only one of those titles came after the NHL expanded in the 1967-68 season. Think about that: for the first 40 years they played, they only had five teams to compete with, and they could only win the championship three times? Then, once more competition showed up, they only won one time in the next 46 years? Even Oscar the Grouch would say that’s poor, and the dude lives in a trash can.
For a quick comparison, the New Jersey Devils have been in existence for 30 years, and already have three Stanley Cups to their name. Even the Islanders, who have barely sniffed the playoffs at all over the past 20 years, at least pulled off a respectable feat with four consecutive titles in the 1980s. Of course, their futility since the 1980s, horrible leadership (see: Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract) and an impending move to Brooklyn, make them nothing more than a charity pick at best.
Let’s also look at the great players who’ve played for the Rangers. Most people would point to Mark Messier, the architect of the 1994 Stanley Cup run, as one of the most iconic Rangers of all time. Since this is the only Stanley Cup that any Rangers fan born after World War II will remember, I guess that makes it a big deal for them. However, if you look closely at Messier’s tenure, he really only played with the team from 1991-97. He would return for the sake of publicity from 2000-2004 after a failed stint with the Vancouver Canucks, but the Rangers did not make the playoffs at all during that time.
More recently, the Rangers have made their name by trying to bring in high-priced, big name free agents. Marian Gaborik, Theo Fleury, Eric Lindros, Rick Nash and Pavel Bure are just some of the names the Rangers have brought in over the last decade, but they have still not been able to get out of the Eastern Conference (the closest they came was in the 2011-2012 season, when they lost in the Conference finals to, you guessed it, the New Jersey Devils).
By contrast, the Devils have built a long-lasting tradition of success. GM Lou Lamoriello is one of the best in the league. In fact, some of the most prolific talent, including arguably the best goalie to ever play the game Martin Brodeur, has been cultivated by the Devils and has stayed in the Garden State for more than a decade. If Jobu wants to cheer for the NHL equivalent of the Cleveland Browns, a long-existing yet long-suffering team, by all means pick the Rangers. If Jobu wants to pick the NHL equivalent of the Buffalo Bills, a team that had a brief flash of success but has sputtered since, then pick the Islanders. There may be those who decry the Devils simply because they are from New Jersey, but the team always finds a way to compete, and at the end of the day, that speaks volumes.
P.S. If I still haven’t convinced you, maybe David Puddy will:
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