Providing the critical reason why the New York Rangers need to take care of business in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals.
By Robby Sabo
The New York Rangers have provided their fans with a whirlwind of emotion over the past decade.
There have been great times and a few bad times. Let’s face it though, they’ll provided mostly good times since the lockout of 2004.
Prior to the lockout, general manager Glen Sather was just another guy. He brought in high-priced free agent after another, only to watch them all disappoint. It lead to a hockey wasteland which included seven straight non-playoff seasons.
It’s often said around the streets of mid-town: the lockout of 2004 was the best thing to ever happen to the Rangers.
The team was so stripped down after the realization that the hard salary-cap was coming that most outlets had them projected to be the worst team in the NHL during the 2005-06 season. The only Ranger that was recognizable to the average fan was Jaromir Jagr.
Neverthless, guys like Jagr, Blair Betts, Jed Ortmeyer, Ryan Hollweg, Martin Straka, Michael Nylander, and even Dominic Moore, shocked the hockey world and made the playoffs.
The real success of the season, however, was finding their franchise goaltender.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 13, 2015
From that season on, Henrik Lundqvist has only failed to make the playoffs once (2009-2010). The team has won nine playoff series during that time. One season they made the Eastern Conference Finals (2011-12); once they won the East (2013-14); and once they captured the Presidents’ Trophy as best team during the regular season (2014-15).
So, why do the Rangers have to win Game 7 against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden? Well, the reason comes down to their guy, Lundqvist.
Is this Rangers team young? No question about it. Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and many more make up a nucleus that’ll be here for a very long time.
Who won’t be here forever will be Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist, now 33, might only have a couple more years left at an elite level. He’s won a Vezzina Trophy, been a Conference Champion, and has been called one of the greats during this specific era.
The only thing left on his ledger is the Stanley Cup.
Much like Alex Ovechkin – who by the way guaranteed victory in Game 7 – Lundqvist remains one of the top talents in the game to not win a cup.
This is the reason, this team needs to get it done now. For all the great times Hank has provided to his team and the garden faithful, he deserves this one major accomplishment he came oh so close to tasting in 2014.
Hopefully, tonight, the garden faithful and his teammates can bail him out before he even becomes the difference maker.
For at least one night he deserves it.
If the Bluehsirts don’t get it done tonight, those Henrik Lundqvist-Patrick Ewing comparisons will rage on all the more. While there’s nothing wrong with having a Ewing-like career, Hank deserves better.
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