New York Rangers: Dissent among the Blueshirt faithful has reached a new low
May 18, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Fans stand and wave towels during the national anthem before game two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While some New York Rangers fans are happy following a six-game winning streak, a majority of the faithful continue to cannibalize their own.

There is, undoubtedly, something special about being a New York Rangers fan.

The franchise has a strong foundation that is set in history, tradition, loyalty, pride, and family.

Family.

That’s a big one for Blueshirt fans. If you’re anything like me, you are a fan because someone’s passion for the Rangers, in my case my Dad, was passed onto to you when you were young.

If your path to the Broadway Blueshirts was on your own accord, then you were probably accepted into the family with open arms.

There is nothing quite like talking New York Rangers hockey with another fan who you have never previously met. It’s always exciting to hear how they became a fan of the team and share in that Blueshirt passion.

It’s that feeling of knowing someone because of your mutual interest in this hockey team, without really knowing them at all, that makes New York Rangers fans great.

Technology has made these small interactions very accessible. With the click of a button, you will suddenly have access to thousands of fans. Multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook and media sites such as this one, have not only been a venue for sharing information but also debating viewpoints.

Debating viewpoints.

In theory, debate is a healthy way of expressing your opinion. Healthy debate is a fun way of interacting with other fans while also sharing your knowledge of the sport. Somewhere along the line, though, healthy debate morphed into something very different.

What was once fun banter between New York Rangers fans suddenly became a cannibalization of our own kind. The loyalty was gone, the traditions were mocked, and what was once passion for the team became an obsession with mockery.

Blueshirt fans have always thrown grenades at Penguin, Flyer, and Devils fans. This is to be expected. But it seems as if we have started to turn our aim to our own people lately.

Something is wrong in Rangerstown.

Sure, everything is fine and dandy right now … well, mostly. Even after a six-game winning streak, there are still fans who will not only find ways to rip their own team apart, but their fellow fans as well.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the current events that are happening in our country?

We all have witnessed what can happen when you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a political debate. It almost always ends in frustration. But politics are politics and have no place in sports, right? Sports should be an escape from those heavy political conversations, right?

It seems as though those lines have become blurred by a good portion of this fan base.

While fans aren’t exactly debating politics, they are taking the same combative approach when discussing our beloved team. If you are brave enough to share an unpopular opinion about the Rangers via social media, ready yourself for some nasty pushback.

I remember when Twitter really started to become a place for New York Rangers’ fans to mingle during games. It was around 2010. Jesse Spector was the current beat writer for the New York Daily News and he would banter back and forth with fans.

Parody accounts, such as the now famous Broadway Hat Twitter handle, were just making a name for themselves. It was as if a group of fans was gathering at a bar or restaurant for a game, except they were sitting on their couches with a computer in their collective laps.

The banter was fun, light and enjoyable. Well, that was then.

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Fast forward to 2017 and interacting with other Rangers fans can often feel very different.

If you dare to criticize Henrik Lundqvist, you are instantly labeled an idiot. If you share a positive outlook, you are uneducated and “don’t know this team like I do.” Conversely, if you have a negative opinion about the team, you are instantly labeled a “crab.”

What was once fun banter has now become a war of sorts and it has started to erode the camaraderie of the New York Rangers’ faithful.

If you ask me, I say that the past year or so has started to take its toll on all of us. No matter which side of the line you stand on, you probably have felt frustration. Well, that frustration has found its way among Rangers fans.

When this team faces adversity in the coming weeks, which it most certainly will, take a moment of pause before you unleash on a fellow Ranger fan.

Watching New York Rangers hockey should be an escape, not a platform to cut down a fellow Blueshirt fan.

 NEXT: Zero to Hero: The emergence of New York Rangers’ stud youngster J.T. Miller 


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