Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two Generations, Two Ranger Fans, and Two Rival Teams

NEW YORK RANGERS:  While NYC got snowed in, our Hockey Rivals have been ICED.

Because of no train service on the ELevated-portions of the system out here in Brooklyn and impassable streets, my son and me wound up eating our tickets to Monday night's game against the Islanders.  It was his birthday and he pretty much spent the day clearing snow with me.  He vented a lot of hate that afternoon..; - for Mother Nature, Bloomberg, the MTA, and with more venom than ever because of the way the day was shaping up, for the Islanders.

One of the things I had gotten him for Christmas was a new Ryan Callahan jersey.  I then gave him the tickets for the NYI game two days later on his B-Day.  My wife also got me a Lundqvist Retro jersey.  We were all dressed up with no-where to go except to the sofa where we'd watch the game together with our jerseys on.

Seven goals weren't nearly enough for him.  He really hates the Islanders, but that has more to do with two or three friends of his.  His hatred for them evolved that way; not "our" way.  In his youth he needed to be "learned" about the whole POTVIN SUCKS thing and about what exactly happened all those years ago.  He gets on me for saying I wish the Isles were good again.  He's young (20) and revels in their folly. 

Me?  I love the competition of playing top rivals when both teams are at their best.  Quite honestly, the seven goals we scored against the Isles was a bit of a bore.  I spend more time feeling sorry for their situation out on Wrong Island than I do spending time having "fun" hating our Traditional Rival these days.  It's just not the same anymore and hasn't been since the mid 90's.  I would really love for my son to fully understand the magnitude of this rivalry.  But unfortunately, he has spent the last 20 years growing-up while they've been so down.

I really wish Charles Wang luck with his plans for the team and if the LightHouse still has legs..  I'm a long time removed from relishing in their continued state of futility.  I want good Hockey in Uniondale again.  Only then will my son know the true magnitude and greatness of what this rivalry can be, and then I can finally channel some good old fashioned Hockey Hate on the Isles again.

But such as life.  Just don't tell that to the Devils.  I'm not Islander bashing here.  But I just find it incomprehensible the Devils being worse than the Islanders.  You have to admit, this hasn't been the case since the late 80's and early 90's.

The Devils' new, old Boss, Jacques LeMaire, said about the Battle of the Hudson rivalry between the Rangers and Devils, "There is no rivalry right now!  We have to start playing well.  Never mind the rivalry."  At this point Jacques LeMaire is still determining if this team is salvagable.

And because the Devs find themselves trapped in their own quagmire, both these rivalries; the Rangers against the Islanders and Devils are not delivering on the potential SIZZLE these teams can generate when things are well.  If you're a Rangers fan, who cares?  Right?  But I like the competition and welcome it.

I AM A RANGER!  But I've always had a slight liking for the Devils just as long as they aren't playing us.  Don't worry, my son kills me about it for you!

I was intrigued by them and about the prospect of having a third team in the area when they moved here from Colorado where they played as the Colorado Rockies.  All my hate was already invested into the Isles.

The Devils evolved into a great organization with players like Pat Verbeek, Stephan Richer, John MacLean, Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and of course Martin Brodeur.

I try to tell my son, you don't have to like Brodeur. - Just pay attention to him so you can say you saw the All-Time Wins and Shut-Outs Leader.  But he'll have none of it and abuses me anytime it comes up.  I think I taught him well.  My own evolution as a sports fan in middle age is a different animal.

I'm not a Devils fan because I don't feel the pain when they lose.  But I do like having them around.  I know full well I'd probably have a whole different outlook on the Devils had they beaten us in the 1994 Eastern Conf. Championship.  But they didn't, so I never really invested any hate in them.  Henrik has dominated the head-to-head match-ups against Marty also.  So, I'm sure that makes them easier to tolerate too.

My son?  If asked who he hates more, the Devils or the Islanders, he'll tell you...the Penguins.  But then he'd tell you he hates the Devils more.

To me (us), POTVIN SUCKS really means something.  For him it's just fun.  But when Martin Brodeur is topic one, he's the first to scream BRODEUR SUCKS!...while I just find the fun in it.

With three teams, The Metropolitan Area Hockey Scene is a unique situation in sports.  I try to enjoy that fact to the fullest by just being a NYC Sports fan.  But when it comes time to play the Rangers, there are few teams I enjoy playing and beating more than the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders (..and the Flyers, Penguins and Capitals!)

The Rivalry ~ Game Four
MONDAY  December 27, 2010

N.Y. Rangers  7
N.Y. Islanders 2

Tonight's Islanders/Penguins game went into a Shoot-Out.
Islanders win!
Final ~ 2-1
Sid "SlewFoot" Crosby had his consecutive points streak snapped.

Battle of the Hudson ~ Game Three
WEDNESDAY  December 29, 2010

N.J. Devils   1
N.Y. Rangers 3


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