You know what, I have to say it feels great to be back. For those of you who are new to Jobu, I used to post mainly about college football and basketball with some random professional sports tidbits sprinkled in too (mainly the Mets & the Jets). Something happened in the fall of last year, though. I just wasn’t into it anymore. Big League Clu needed a break!
So after hibernating for the winter and a bit of the early spring, I figured out what kind of message I needed to spread in Jobu’s world of sports. I figured that Jobu needed a little bit of love. So, I put down the bat, the chew and pine tar, and traded it in for a squared circle and a pulpit. Now I, Brother Love am here to bring forth a positive message about all things considered in professional and collegiate athletics. Don’t you worry, folks; I haven’t forgotten my roots. I plan to keep the traditions alive, just in a more positive light. So, lets get started shall we?
For many months now, Jobu has been trying to pick a new hockey team, in a series known as Decision 2013 (I guess it’s Decision 2014 now, eh Jobu?). For those of you who do not know, for the longest time Jobu was actually a Boston Bruins fan. I mean, he got his degree at Boston College! It only made sense for him to like the Bruins, right? Anyway, for whatever reason, during last years NHL Stanley Cup Finals, he had a change of heart, and was left without a team to root for. Dr. Bones felt that the New Jersey Devils were the right prescription for Jobu. I was suppose to chime in as well, but at that point, I had gone AWOL. I figured since playoff hockey is under way, it would be a good time to talk about why Jobu should pick the Broadway Blue Shirts, a.k.a The New York Rangers, as his new hockey team. Better late than never, right?
Your New York Rangers!
Lets start off with the most obvious reason first. Jobu already roots for the New York Yankees and the New York Giants! So wouldn’t the Rangers be the most logical of choices? I mean, the Giants and Rangers wear the same colors too, so you are already killing two birds with one stone if you did choose the Rangers. Plus, if you are ever at a bar, or some sort social gathering, people come to expect that, if you already root for the Yanks or G-men, that you must root for the Knicks or Rangers. I mean its always those Cowboys, St. Johns, Bruins and Texas Rangers fans who live in Spokane who like to throw you for a loop; am I right?.
In a New York Minute
Well, I might as well dive right into the history of the Rangers. For those who do not know, the Rangers were one of the “Original Six” teams–along with Detroit, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago and Boston–that made up the National Hockey League upon its inception. The last time New York won the cup was in 1994, when I was just a little lad who barely knew anything about hockey. Fast forward 20 years, and I couldn’t bleed bluer.
The 2014 Rangers had many challenges to overcome. Nobody knew what to expect from their beloved Broadway Blueshirts, as they went out and signed former Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault (Vig-nawlt, but just call him Vinny, since we do live in New York) to take over for John Tortorella after he was fired last season. Other questions would arise too, like what would happen to the contract situations of both defenseman Dan Girardi and beloved NY Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Also, how would Vigneault incorporate his fast paced style of offense into a team that was so accustomed to sacrificing their bodies in order to block a shot in meaningless regular season games? Would goalie Henrik Lundqvist hold up after starting every game for Sweden in the Sochi Olympics? And, of course, could the Rangers score on a freakin’ power play for Christ’s sake!?
I would like to think that, all in all, the Rangers lived up to their hype, and even exceeded some expectations. For one, they finished the season 2nd in the Metropolitan division with a 45-31-6 record, and home field ice for the 1st round of the playoffs. Starting last night, they are currently doing battle with their hated rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
New York did figure out those contract situations..sorta. They signed Dan Girardi (no relation to Yankees skipper Joe Girardi) to a 6 year, $33 million extension. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Callahan, who was traded to Tampa Bay at the deadline for experienced scoring machine Martin St. Louis. Lundqvist proved to still be a beast in goal, as he was sharp throughout the 2014 season, including when he helped Sweden get to the Gold Medal Game at Sochi. He even held up after returning to the Rangers too. It was nice having “The King” in goal all year long. Finally, the Rangers did learn to score power play goals this year! They scored 48 goals in 264 attempts (18%) which is up from 2013, when they only shot 15% on 153 attempts. Vigneault was able to infuse a high speed offense with his gritty Rangers defense too.
Water Under the Bridge: Nothing Good Ever Comes From New Jersey
Let’s talk about the other NHL options for Jobu now, shall we? I mean the title of this section speaks for itself: nothing good has ever come from the state of New Jersey, except maybe Bruce Springsteen. As far as hockey goes, the Devils have not been relevant the past few seasons, as they are in the middle of a rebuilding period. Gone is arguably one of the best goalies in NHL history in Martin Brodeur, as he seems to have hung up his skates. Yes, I will admit that they play in a beautiful arena, as I have been there to see a game or two, but have you ever been to Newark? Not exactly the friendliest of areas in the world to walk around after a game. Also, it’s not the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden!
That being said, if Dr. Bones really wants to try and take a dig at the Rangers, I can hit back just as hard. It all comes down to championships. Sure, the Devils were the team to beat from 1993-2000, winning 3 Stanley Cups as the most dominant team of the decade. However, to say that they are better than the Rangers is awfully big talk. The Rangers actually have more cups than the Devils, taking 4 of Lord Stanley’s goblets in their history (the Devils only have those 3). Even though most of the Rangers’ cups came way back when the Devils didn’t exist; the last time I checked, they all count.
I know there’s another team in the area, but I’m not going to even bother talking about them. Maybe when they move to Brooklyn?
The Rangers have overcome a lot in the past decade, in their quest to get to a point where they can be a formidable NHL franchise. I could really go into detail about the history of all of the great players in the history of the franchise, as well as how much more exciting it is to go see games at The Garden when compared to “The Rock” (The Prudential Center) in Newarkm but I’m not going to. Jobu should realize that there is only one team to root for here in the tri-state area, and they certainly don’t play in Newark!
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