The New York Rangers have quietly been New York City’s most successful team over the past decade. Other NYC teams should take a hint from the Blueshirts.
By Chris Wengert
Name a New York City team that has been more successful than the New York Rangers over the past decade.
Name a team that has made nine playoff appearances in the past ten years.
Which New York team has made two Eastern Conference Finals appearances and one Finals appearance?
Your New York Rangers.
Yet when you turn on the radio all you will hear about are the New York Knick’s struggles, how the Brooklyn Nets are basically a D-League team, the New York Mets bullpen, The New York Giants brutal seasons, a Jets PR fiasco, or how the New York Islanders can’t even find a suitable arena.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think that hockey will ever be more popular that baseball, basketball, or football, but maybe it is time for some of these other teams to learn from the Rangers success.
Teams are not successful for a decade just by chance. The Rangers organization has consistently demonstrated a standard of excellence that all teams should be held to.
But why? Why have the Rangers been able to enjoy a level of success that other teams have not been able to achieve?
It’s because the Rangers have a true team concept that breeds a winning culture.
The Rangers can be compared to the New York Yankees of the 90’s in some ways. Both teams established a core group of players that the organizations built their rosters around. The Yankee’s famous “core four” will be remembered as some of the best players to pass through the organization.
Great athletes, great team players.
The Rangers also have a central core in players like Henrik Lundqvist, Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh.
The difference here is that the Rangers were able to build such a core without an bottomless stream of cash at their disposal. In a lot of ways, the salary cap era helped to focus the Rangers’ roster efforts.
But when it comes down to it, the team concept trumps all. The Rangers have lived and died as a team for a decade. Their players always stick together and have never threw one of their own teammates under the bus.
The NBA is often described as a “league of stars”-that you cannot win without a LeBron James or Stephen Curry on your team.
While this is true to an extent, the New York Knicks would be a much better basketball team if they actually played as a team. But Carmelo Anthony is too worried about one player: himself.
Last year’s All-Star incident cemented that fact. The New York star put playing in an All-Star game above rest, health, and ultimately, the team.
While the New York Mets finally experienced some success last year, their ownership has made it abundantly clear that incompetence is often their biggest attribute. What the Met’s fan base has had to endure I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
As of today the New York Rangers are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, 59 games into the season. The team has experienced some serious highs and lows along the way, but this team’s resiliency has been their rallying cry.
Perseverance, Resiliency, and team.
The Rangers have lost key players to injury in Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash, but haven’t lost a beat. When one of their teammates fall, another one is willing and able to fill the void.
Win as a team, die as a team.
The New York Giants have had some great years. 2007 and 2011 were some amazing teams. But the “all-in” mentality of those teams are mantras that the Rangers have been preaching for a decade.
But the Giants too, have faltered lately. Finger pointing and too many bad personnel decisions have cost the Giants over the past few years.
The Rangers won’t always be the strongest franchise in New York City, but right now you would be hard pressed to find an organization that has consistently demonstrated excellence like the Broadway Blueshirts.
Now if the Rangers could just take that last step.