New York Rangers fans hoping to play the Atlantic division in the first round of the playoffs are playing with a dangerous double-edged sword.
Professional sports teams approach every matchup with dignity and honor. At least fans like to think they do.
“Tanking” games to obtain a better draft pick or a more favorable playoff spot is disrespectful, it’s wrong, and it’s gutless. (Yes, if that sounds familiar. it’s a John Tortorella reference.)
Now there will always be your pitiful, classless teams like the New York Islanders of 2015-16. John Tavares and the boys tanked their last game of the regular season versus their “rival” New York Rangers in order to avoid playing the soon to be Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, the Isles took the low road and defeated the Florida Panthers in the opening round to then be beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
Serves them right.
The New York Rangers currently have 88 points and sit in the highly coveted first wild card position. The Blueshirts will not, I repeat, will not be trying to lose games on purpose to maintain this slot. The organization has too much class and respect for the game.
However, as the season plays out and the teams in the Metropolitan continue to play top-notch hockey, the Rangers will likely remain the top wild card team. Many fans and sports analysts believe this is the path to take if Alain Vigneault and the boys are serious about a Cup run.
Don’t be so sure this is the best idea.
Let’s break down the two divisions in the Eastern Conference: