Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do You Believe In Miracles?!?!?!

Today's post title is thanks to Al Michaels who, 31 years ago today, called arguably the greatest game in US hockey history...

The game was a semifinal game in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. USA vs. the Soviet Union. The underdog USA team was made up of amateurs and college kids, while the heavily-favored USSR team was a bunch of professionals. But the USA team stepped up and were able to defeat the Soviets 4-3. And 2 days later, they beat Finland 4-2 to win the Gold Medal. Now because I was a bit older than 2 years old, I don't remember many details of the game...duh!! So for more info, you can check out the page on the USA Hockey website or its wikipedia link.

One additional piece of info: The head coach of that USA team was the late Herb Brooks. He went on to coach the Rangers for 3 1/2 seasons, making the playoffs the 3 full seasons he was at the helm. But while with the USA team, he was praised for being able to bring together a bunch of youngsters and have them work cohesively as a team. Which is a similar position that John Tortorella is finding himself in with the current Rangers, especially with their defensemen: their oldest d-man is Steve Eminger at 27, and he's been a healthy scratch the last few games. Hopefully, Torts can keep the youth movement successful and coach them into the playoffs, where miracles are definitely believable!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back Home Again (Rangers 4 - Kings 3)

It felt great being back at MSG for the first time in over a month. (1/13 vs Van was my last home game) and it felt even better to see the Rangers defeat the LA Kings 4-3 in a shootout. As usual, Callahan and Dubinsky did not disappoint with their hustle on both ends of the ice. Zuccarello and Christensen showed off their shootout skills again. Lundqvist held on as he barely got a piece of Kopitar's shot to win it. And while Gaborik did score tonight, I still have that gut feeling that all is not well.

One thing from tonight's game that doesn't sit well with me, and hasn't throughout the month of February, is the Rangers inability to hold a lead. And how quickly they seem to give up that lead. Twice tonight (at 2-1 and 3-2) they gave up a tying goal within 1:40 min after taking the lead. And I feel the timeout that Torts called for after their 3rd goal wasn't necessary. Maybe he wanted to remind the team to stay strong on D. Or he wanted to give Staal and Girardi a bit of rest so they could immediately go back on the ice. Whatever the case, it gave the Kings a moment to regroup and they responded quickly.

Now the Rangers have won 2 games in a row. And to paraphrase Lou Brown from the movie Major League, "We win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before." They'll be playing in NJ to face the Devils, or, as I like to call them, the Little Debbies. I'll probably be watching the game at Mustang Sally's as the Rangers will be hosting a viewing party there. If anyone wants to hang with me, just let me know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taking a Break

OK, the title has nothing to do with my blog. I just started posting again, so why would I take a break from posting? No, this has to do with something I've done for the last 6 years.

Since the NHL came back from the lockout for the 2005-2006 season, I have been a season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. Just one ticket. I didn't know anyone who was willing to go in for a full season like I would. Mostly because I didn't personally know anyone who nearly as big a Rangers fan as I was. But I didn't have a problem going alone. I sit in the first row in Section 406 (which is a center ice view from the top level at MSG) surrounded by season ticket holders that have been going to games for many years. Most games would be after work, so the only part of going alone would be if there was a game during the weekend and that would just be going back and forth between home and MSG. I'd usually go to about 30-35 games a year, missing a game here and there, but rarely ever letting the ticket go to waste. I'd give it to one of the people sitting in 406, or give it to a co-worker or friend.

That changed this season. I haven't been going to as many games as I have in seasons past. And it's been for a number of reasons. Too tired, too much pain (that is, physically - the Rangers have played pretty well this season, or at least well enough to not cause me too much pain), too much fun pre-gaming. And a couple of times, completely forgetting that there was a game that night. If I go to every remaining home game the rest of the season, I'll have gone to 23 games the entire season. And I have a feeling that over the next couple of years it's going to be more of the same.

So I've decided to take a break and drop my season tickets starting next year. It was a hard decision to make, but I know it will be for the better. I'll get to save some money and be able to relax more during the winter, which really took a toll on me this year. But I'm going to miss the people in 406 I get to hang out with at the games. I'm going to miss the games and watching Dubi, Cally, Gabby, Hank and the rest of the team get underneath the opponents' skin. I'll also miss how the Rangers organization treats their season subscribers.

I hope that a couple of years from now, I'll be able to straighten some things out and sign back up for a full season. But I want to make sure that if/when I sign up again for tickets, that I'm able to keep them. I wouldn't want to go through the whole process again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Start

It's been a while since I've posted anything on my blog. I don't know why I had stopped originally, but it grew into the fact that I lost the urge to write everyday. But that lack of urge is gone. My friend Nicole put together a blog about her interests (Crafts, Fashion, DIY, etc.) and while I'm not going to be writing about the same topics that she is, the idea of writing again was awoken. Hopefully I'll keep up the writing this time. Between all the sports I follow, I shouldn't have a problem the second time around. Now, onto the post....

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~ Pete Hamill

Today was Reporting Day for Pitchers and Catchers for the New York Mets, the official start of Spring Training. While I follow sports year-round, I always look forward to this time of year. It reminds me of childhood and how my friends and I would start playing stickball around now. Didn't matter that it was still cold here in NY. The first month or so was pretty difficult to play. We would play a couple of innings and call it a day. Then...we wouldn't be able to fully lift our arms for 3 days. But as February would turn into March and into April, our arms would get looser. We'd start pitching for 3, then 4, then 5 innings. The soreness would be less intense. And we'd start playing multiple days in a week. It was our form of Spring Training.