Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.


A Case of The Sposetas

Another interlude from RL’s New York Rangers correspondent…

I’m a Mets fan. I woke up this morning from a painful nightmare only to be reminded that it wasn’t actually a painful nightmare. Rather, it was an even more painful reality. Ugh.

The Mets were supposed to win the NL East. They were favored, the experts predicted it, and they were leading for 95% of the season. Still, this is sports and in the world of sports sometimes things don’t happen the way they are supposed to. If they did, the San Diego Chargers would be 3-1 instead of 1-3, Tiger would have beat Weir, and I wouldn’t be crying into an orange and blue hanky right now.

Also, the New York Rangers wouldn’t even have to take the ice this year and they would be granted a pass through to the conference finals. You see, much like the Mets, the experts are weighing in and picking the Blue Shirts to cruise through to the play-offs. Melrose even called them the class of the East, though that might have been the fumes from his hair gel talking.

Me, I’m not so sure they finish that high. In fact, in my yet-to-be-released season predictions, I don’t even have them winning their division. Yes, they had a productive year last year, even improving on the campaign previous to that one. And yes, they signed two All-Star caliber centers, and two players who I feel will fit well with the unit as a whole. But, you must understand, I’m a Rangers fan and I’ve seen this act play out before. In pre-lock-out days, all too often New York signed all the right players only to have the season crash down before them in a heap of over-hype and exaggerated disappointment. Dollars were flung around in a similar manner during the summer of ’07 and it’s my honest hope that the same fate does not befall that money. I sit here, excited for the season, but history doesn’t allow me to get too excited. Instead, because of the parallels to past years and perhaps due to the fresh wounds opened by my favorite baseball team, I’m actually a bit… I don’t know… Scared.

I’m nervous. I’m frightened. I’m on edge. I’m apprehensive.

In the end, I do envision this team recovering from a slow start, but right now I’m even worried about that recovery. And the slow start hasn’t even happened yet. Surely, that’s a result of the recent re-learning of a timeless and obvious sports lesson: You don’t make the playoffs before the season starts.

Regardless, I can’t wait for the year to begin if only so I can get this nagging feeling out of my mind.

Elsewhere --- The indispensable San Weinman just sent word via his blog, Rangers Report, that Dawes, Anisimov and Montoya were the final three New York cuts and are on their way to the Hartford Wolfpack. As such, the opening night line-up will look something like this:

Straka – Gomez – Jagr
Avery – Drury – Shanahan
Callahan - Dubinsky – Prucha
Hossa – Betts – Hollweg

Rozsival – Malik
Girardi – Tyutin
Staal – Mara

Lundqvist / Valiquette

Scratched: Strudwick, Orr, Pock

Note: The line combinations are fictional. I made them up. I do not coach the New York Rangers.

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