Thursday, April 21, 2011

No Pain No Gain

As the pain of the New York Ranger's double overtime loss to the Washington Capitals make feel bad to most of you; to yours truly it was a cause of celebration. Oh no it is not because I wanted to see the Rangers lose but what I saw come out of the game.

Anyone who has ever been through a boot camp will tell you that the one phrase that the drill instructors love to use is "No Pain, No Gain". It is what makes someone run 8 miles up a hill because at the end of the day it makes you better and stronger

Well I am here to tell you that the pain you think you suffered because of the loss is actually the first small steps towards the Rangers returning to Stanley Cup contention. It was the Rangers trying to make it that 8 mile run and it make look like they did not finish; maybe you should look closer.

Now you may think I am crazy but please allow me to explain why a heartbreaking loss is something to celebrate. Stop and think for a second about this entire series and ask yourself how many games have the Washington Capitals won?

If your answer is 3 then sorry you are wrong as the correct answer is 1 and here's why.

Game 1 was decided on a Marc Staal turnover in overtime. The Capitals trailed in this one before being able to tie the game to force overtime.

Game 2 was the only game that Washington actually won on it's own merits but an argument can be made that the Rangers just did not show up to play. But a 2-0 win is a 2-0 win.

Game 3 was the Ranger's win thanks to Brandon Dubinsky's late game heroics.

Game 4 was as you know lost because of a fluky strange goal that only could happen to the Rangers. The Rangers blew a 3-0 lead and it cost them dearly.

That is right it was not that the Capitals have been beating the Rangers but rather the Rangers beating themselves. The Capitals are supposed to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference but yet look at how much trouble they are having with a team that backed it's way into the playoffs.

You say you saw a loss and I say I saw the coming of age for Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Michael Sauer, Artem Anisimov, and even Matt Gilroy. I saw the kiddie Rangers grow up right before your eyes and it is just the beginning.

I saw the changing of the guard as look who was out on the ice to start both overtime periods on defense? It was McDonagh (47 shifts 31:58) and Sauer (47 shifts 32:32) that is who.

The duo had more shifts than Staal and Girardi did but here is where you have to look closer at the message that John Tortorella sent out. That he was not afraid to put those 2 rookies out on the ice at any time and remember that once upon a time Tortorella had Sauer demoted because he did not think he could make it.

There was Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov who yes had growing pains during the game as well as the series but there they were playing in key situations that they had not been in before. Yes even Matt Gilroy showed up and sure it would have been nice if he could have finished on a couple of his breakaways the difference was that instead of just reacting there he was reading the plays unfold in front of him.

The kids took their first real steps in front of a loud and supportive crowd of Ranger fans. People you said that win or lose that this experience was only going to help them grow and that is exactly what happened.

The Rangers have been in every game, not one blowout which is a heck of a lot to expect from an inexperienced team. No offense to either Staal, Gaborik or Henrik but the Rangers did not lose because of any of the kids.

But here is the one lesson that the kids will take away from this series and that is if they can play with the Capitals who are the best in the conference then they can play with anyone.

And even better is that we will not have to wait 54 years for another cup.

So who wants to think the Rangers lost on Wednesday night?

(Ranger logo courtesy of the Rangers)

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