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The Five Stages of Grief for 2016-17 New York Rangers Fans

It’s been almost two weeks since the Rangers were eliminated from the 2017 NHL playoffs by the Ottawa Senators. If you’re like me, you’ve run the gamut of emotions from denial to rage. So let’s take a closer look at the five stages of grief for New York Rangers Fans.

Stage 1: “We were better than Ottawa” aka Denial

Yes, if the Rangers didn’t blow two leads in the final seconds they would have defeated the Senators in five games instead of losing in six. But let’s not fool ourselves, when you have a defense as sieve-like as the Blueshirts, collapses are going to happen. Let’s also not forget that Henrik Lundqvist was coming off the most uneven regular season of his career, so him having a roller coaster series against Ottawa shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

And please don’t disrespect Ottawa. They have a generational talent on defense, who, despite playing on a broken foot, was still impactful enough to pilot his team to victory, while the Rangers had too many passengers.

Meanwhile, Guy Boucher ate Alain Vigneault’s lunch this series. While AV was playing conservatively with a lead and botching his final minute deployments, Boucher exploited the Ranger skipper’s short comings while inspiring his team to never give up.

The Rangers the better team? I think not.

Stage 2: “Blow It Up” aka Anger

Trade Lundqvist and Nash!!!!! Expose Stepan in the expansion draft!!!! Fire AV!!!!!!

As we get further and further away from 1994, it’s easy to want to torch the whole thing…

…but, to me, the Rangers are closer to being a legit Cup contender than a team that needs to be blown up.

Despite what many proclaim, the Rangers window is far from closing. They had the 8th youngest team in the league this season (26.783) even with Lundqvist (34), Glass (33), Girardi (33), Nash (32) and Klein (32) on the roster. So while a few tweaks need to be made on defense (COUGH buyout Girardi or Staal COUGH) and a guy like Stepan could be a necessary causality to accomplish that (See Stage 3), the foundation is there.

And for those concerned that father time is catching up with Lundqvist, I’ve seen enough marginal goaltending win Stanley Cups to know that an aging King (who just led Sweden to the Gold Medal at the World Championships) or a green Igor Shestyorkin are enough.

Stage 3: “Trade Stepan” aka Bargaining

To win a Stanley Cup, certain sacrifices need to be made. Rangers fans need to look no further than 1994 when Neil Smith traded away Tony Amonte and Mike Gartner to bolster the roster for the playoffs.

The same tough decisions will likely be pondered this offseason. If the Rangers agree that Kevin Shattenkirk is their main target while also wanting to bring back Brendan Smith, buying out Girardi or Staal won’t be enough to open up the necessary cap space needed. So a guy like Stepan, who is one of the few expendable pieces on the roster with any value, might need to be surrendered.

Stepan’s worth will be felt when gone, but overall the Rangers will be a much more balanced team.

Stage 4: “Will The Rangers Ever Win Another Stanley Cup?!?!?” aka Depression

Me waking up in my house after attempting to cope with another Cupless season by going on a 10-day bender…

Stage 5: “This Was A Flawed Team” aka Acceptance

Not many of us were expecting the 2016-17 Rangers team to make the playoffs, let alone be two wins away from another Conference Final. The young forwards garnered a ton of valuable experience as they were counted on to carry a heavier load, while the fans gained some unexpected memories along the way. So I’m going to look at this season as a stepping stone to something great. That is, as long as Jeff Gorton upgrades the defense.

I’ve also come to accept that the Sam Rosen “This one will last a lifetime” Curse is real and the Rangers will likely never win another Cup until he retires. Sorry Sam, we’re going to need you to step aside.

So there you have it, the Kübler-Ross New York Rangers fan model. Leave some of your emotions in the comment section so we can all grieve together.

Remember to follow me on TwitterFacebook & Instagram or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

16 thoughts on “The Five Stages of Grief for 2016-17 New York Rangers Fans

  1. Another great read Kevin! The King proved today that he isn’t done yet. Give him a decent, not great, blue line and he can still get the job done. I do think we might be saying goodbye to Stepan (who I love) which might be a good thing. Right this minute I am really happy for Hank and hope this win gives him some mojo for next season. So I guess that means acceptance for me. LGR!

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  2. Great read as usual Kevin!.

    Unlike most though I can’t get all worked up about an IIHF gold win for Hank (I’m thrilled more for Oscar to be honest) when it comes on the heels of arguably his worst playoff round and many goals against that were 100% soft goals that were on him rather than the Trainwreck Twins. People may blame/credit the defensive differences but Hank stones four shooters in a row in the shootout? Additionally it’s not like he faced his nemesis i.e. Crosby (still a little busy).

    King of Team Sweden and international play, but in the NHL he remains Baron.

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      1. Considering some of the goalie names on the SC, yes. Don’t mistake my cynicism for dislike of Hank, I do adore the guy. I just hate his contract and how the majority of fans refuse to hold him accountable for his play (or more importantly lack of the same) when they will crucify any other NYR in a heartbeat. The eyes and hair are great, but that GAA isn’t what it was folks.

        For years Hank was the reason we won those one goal games, now he’s actually just as liable for the losses as the guys in front of him.

        I simply can’t get aroused for the IIHF win. For example, does anyone think Carl Hagelin is sad he missed out on a chance at the gold?

        I am chomping at the bit for July to come around so we see how the front office deals with all of this. Unfortunately I think AV makes it to next season unscathed, and that could be counter to any positive player moves made.

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  3. Elisabeth Kublar-Ross!!! Bravo sir. Since I brought up pretty much all these points in The last couple posts obviously I’m in full agreement. Without a marquee center it’s hard to see us as a favorite any time soon but I agree that it will just take a few tweaks to be legitimate contenders. Now we get to see if Gorts has any balls. Unless he changes the coaching staff, and maybe even if he does Step has to go. The friction on the team was palpable and Step seemed to be a big part of it, and when you talk about the underperformers his name has to be at the top of the list, which is often a symptom of disharmony with your team mates and coaching staff. And then he has a smile on his face during his exit interview. Really??? Don’t blow up the team but identify your deadweight and try to deal for character players. Next to skill character is the single most important attribute to winning championships.

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    1. I keep hearing that step is under-performing, but the numbers just don’t add up to me. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

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      1. In prior years Step’s playoff numbers have been pretty close to seasonal averages. He looked engage throughout and netted a few clutch ones, the double overtime winner in game 7 against Washington comes to mind driving to the net to knock in a rebound. How often did we see him driving to the net these playoffs? This playoffs he had 2 goals, one empty net in 12 games with very few assists. . He was largely invisible to start the post season and then became very visible with multiple uncharacteristic turnovers and bad play killing momentum time and time again. Then his normally competent defensive play lacked. He looked disinterested and just awful out there to me and I tend to support him on this blog. I know he’s better than that. Something’s not right with him. Locker room issues maybe?

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  4. I agree it’s time for Sam Rosen to retire. I don’t think he has cursed the Rangers with his “lifetime” prediction, but he has cursed the English language with his repetitive use of the adjective “good”!

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  5. I’m not even going to talk about this team. My comments are strictly related to the headline photo. A) What is happening that poor Margot looks devastated yet the woman next to her appears to be laughing her head off? And B) I find it incredible that we as a society have gotten to the point where Claudia Schiffer is just “some woman in the corner of the photo…”

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  6. Kevin, can you or someone else please explain to me why there are so many Rangers “fans” out there who are angry that Hank won the World Championships? Why exactly is he not allowed to have success with Sweden once the Rangers were out of the playoffs? I literally cannot fathom the level of idiocy in their posts. “He obviously didn’t try because he wanted to go play with his brother. His bags were already packed. He chokes in the big games for us but not for Sweden. Yada yada yada.” WTF? He went and played great and achieved a gold medal in a tournament that is for all intents and purposes Europe’s version of the Stanley Cup. And he did it with his twin who he clearly adores. I think this is a major boost for Hank and a harbinger of good things to come next season. Rant over….

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  7. enuff eulogies .. time for the start of next season of “as the stomach turns”
    or NYR off season plans

    question: where is a top center possibly coming from ?
    just heard Asiminov out of Chi may be a cap casualty?
    Asiminov is an upgrade over Step if traded but not for each other ?
    I am trying to find a top yg center (Larkin ) may be available after tough soph yr.
    May have to take one not yet there (Dano)? but will with another season under his belt?

    I say Kopitar but …. where is either an established center who is a cap issue or
    off year that we can procure for assets we have in play …
    expansion draft will give us an off season like no other till #32 is found in next few yrs…..probably Canadian (Queebec )?
    Draft: let Aanti get his shot at full time #1 target for expansion team
    deal him for picks to Vegas not let them draft him…..

    I know we have depth and options to make our major moves ..cant wait to see if
    another Z bad for Brass deal is out there ..I liked it alot and it will benefit us long term …

    1. top D mate for Mac & Shey … or top 4 could be great …….Smith ?
    2. top center ready to be push Krieds or Nash to top scorer in division?
    better subject than whats trending thats for sure

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  8. Unfortunately Kevin I cant agree with much of what you wrote.

    1) Rangers are better than Ottawa, the Rangers beat themselves. I do agree AV was out coached, but we definitely were the better overall team. The stats prove it, our gameplay proved it. AV didnt have the right players on the ice at the end of the games when the leads were blown. Lundqvist let in some softies and got beat clean in OT.

    2) Lundqvist might not be done but he is not great anymore. The world cup? Really? Who gives a shit he won gold. I dont see how people are delusional with this. He is not top 3 maybe not even top 5 in the league but is paid the BEST. We are better off with Raanta in net, Lundqvist gone, and Shattenkirk on our blue line. Everyone thinks we are favored to get Shattenkirk, again delusional. We wont be able to fit him with the cap. I do agree that Staal needs to be bought out, but not Girardi. Girardi would be a great 3rd pairing defenseman and his contract is a tad less than Staals.

    3) Trade Stepan? Probably the worst move the Rangers could do. The guy was 3rd on the team in points and is a good 2 way player. He was not great this post season but he has proven to be clutch. The guy is a solid play maker we just need to find him a talented winger and Kreider nor Nash is not that guy. Rangers are better off trading Hayes or Miller.

    4) Who wants a team such as the 94 team? Yes they won cup but honestly that was a team with quite a few rentals. I want a team that will win a cup and then be in the cup finals the next year like the Pens. That 94 team never made it back to the finals for many years.

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    1. 1. When you lose a best of seven series you’re not the better team.

      2. I didn’t say Hank was great but still good enough to backstop a Cup run.

      3. As I said, Stepan will be missed but if you need to trade him to get a Trouba, you do it and don’t look back.

      4. Yeah, who wants a team who won a Stanley Cup? I’d much rather a team full of home grown guys who don’t win a Cup. I couldn’t care less what the makeup of the team is. Just get me a Cup.

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