Rangers Flashback: The Decade That Was 2010-2019
The Ranger Rebuild: It’s slow, it’s murky and it is testing the razor thin patience of the jaded and frustrated Garden Faithful. As Rangerstown continues to take to Social Media and question David Quinn’s coaching acumen and wonder what is taking Kaapo Kakko so long to break out and organize Lindy Ruff’s tar-and-feather party, let us take a look back at the decade that was.
As we prepare to flip the calendar to the year optometrists and ophthalmologists have been waiting for, let’s hit the rewind button and examine what has to be universally considered a very successful ten year span.
As many other Ranger scribes have stated when opining about the decade known as the two-thousand-teens, the New York Rangers accomplished every goal a franchise could achieve other than, say it with me now, winning the Stanley Cup.
Pieces in place
The year was 2010. The fiery John Tortorella was the head coach. Sniper Marian Gaborik was the team’s most dangerous and potent offensive threat. Chris Drury was the captain and Henrik Lundqvist was in the midst of re-writing the goaltender section of the team’s media guide. The Rangers may have failed to qualify for the playoffs in the first year of the second decade of the new millennium. However, the foundation was being set for the Blueshirts to give their “Long Suffering” fans thrills and memories that would surely last a lifetime.
2012: The Rangers took part in their first regular season outdoor hockey game defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the NHL’s marquee New Year’s tradition, the Winter Classic. Behind two goals from tough guy MIke Rupp and a performance for the ages by Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes, the Blueshirts, on national television, showed the hockey world they were locked and loaded and ready to beat the league’s best. The Rangers would go on to capture their first division title since 1994 and win two scintillating playoff series against Ottawa and Washington before running out of steam against the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.
2014: The meandering Rangers spent most of the regular season transitioning from the fiery but fired John Tortorella and assimilating to the placid, cerebral approach of new coach Alain Vigneault. After surviving a hard fought first round seven game battle with the Flyers, the Rangers found themselves down three-games-to-one against the mighty Penguins from Pittsburgh. Then, Marty St Louis’ mother, France, sadly and shockingly passed away and the team would rally around their grieving comrade. The Rangers, for the first time in franchise history, roared back from a 3-1 series deficit to steal the series in the Steel City from Sydney Crosby and Co. winning game seven by the thinnest of margins, 2-1. Next up would be the Montreal Canadians. It took the Rangers six games to say au revoir to their Original Six rivals from French Canada and wouldn’t ya know it, the New York Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Finals! The size, strength and moxie of the LA Kings proved to be too much for the gallant and valiant Blueshirts to overcome. Five games and three crushing overtime losses later. the Kings were raising that silver chalice towards the heavens while the Rangers embarked on a somber six hour flight back east.
2015: The 2015 New York Rangers were, in a word, dominant! This very likable group of players, lead by Rick Nash, captain Ryan Mcdonagh and terrific goal-tending by both Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot, would set franchise records for wins with 53 and their total of 113 points not only were the most in the 90-plus year history, but it also earned the Blueshirts their third President’s Trophy. Steven Stamkos, Ben Bishop and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning may have ended the Rangers dream season on Garden ice in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, However, that team and that season will forever remain in high regard among the Garden Faithful
2018: February 8th, 2018, Ranger fans were sent a letter from team management alerting the most loyal fans in hockey about the plans to reshape and rebuild the franchise. One-by-one, fan favorites and stalwarts were being jettisoned in favor of young prospects and future draft selections. This act of courageousness and transparency is extremely hard to pull off, especially in the New York market. However, thus far. Glen Sather, Jeff Gorton and now, John Davidson have more than kept their promise made to their desperate and championship-starved fan base almost two years ago. The Rangers have a loaded farm system, not to mention of plethora of young studs currently inundating the big-league roster. The future is so bright for the Rangers, they have to wear…
2019: In April, at the NHL’s draft lottery selection show and with the heroic Steven McDonald’s badge and the luck of the Irish in tow, Jeff Gorton sat there patiently watching team after team having their logo cards flipped by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daily. Gorton and the Rangers would, as we know, end up with the 2nd overall draft pick and in June, the selection of Finnish man-child Kaapo Kakko caused pandemonium at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Ten years from now, in the year 2029, how will Rangerstown look back on that decade that was? Hopefully, for the sake of the exasperated and embittered fan base, they’ll have memories of championship celebrations and victory parades.
Player of the decade: Henrik Lundqvist
Moment of the decade: When the clock struck all zero’s at the end of game six of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals
Stat of the decade: The Rangers won six consecutive game 7’s from 2012-2015