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The Storied History of the New York Rangers

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A detailed history of one of the most storied franchises in the NHL, the team that shares an arena with the New York Knicks.

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First off, here's a quick introduction. For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I used to write over at In Lou We Trust a couple years back. For those who actually remember me occasionally commenting over here all those years back, hi! I do still occasionally write stuff about the Devils, but usually I stick to providing hot takes about the Devils from my Twitter account @hellblazervice. Because I'm a Devils fan, I have no rooting interest in the playoffs because I'll be too busy crying into my Peter Harrold* jersey**. That said, I'm willing to cheer for whoever is facing the Rangers because the Rangers are pure evil and I don't want them to succeed, especially with the Devils going from a hockey team to a tire fire on ice.

*Peter Harrold is a real person and not someone who I made up.

**I also don't own a Peter Harrold jersey. The only people who own Peter Harrold jerseys are Peter Harrold and Peter DeBoer.

When Mike Darnay asked me to do some guest posts on Pensburgh, I immediately accepted because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Even though you guys employ Max Lapierre (who I despise), it still doesn't make you worse than the Rangers, who are basically prime evil. So anyways, I'm here to write posts about why the Rangers are the worst for the next week or so. And I'd also like to take a moment to thank Mike for recruiting me and the Pensburgh Overlords for being cool with having my awful writing on their site.

So, today we're gonna take a look at the storied history of the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are some sort of temporal anomaly. Despite being founded in 1994, they're considered to be an original 6 team. The long and storied history of the Rangers began in 1994 when Lex Luthor's meth-addicted bastard son Mark Messier lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup by clotheslining everyone else in the way, the greatest achievement in the history of the world. Of course, everyone forgot about them when the rest of the team went to shit and the New York Yankees started winning again.

But the Rangers became relevant again thanks to Pens/Flyers/Devils/Stars/Bruins/Capitals/Panthers/Thrashers legend Jaromir Jagr who, out of the kindness of his heart, decided to join the Rangers because he wanted to see if he could drag a team back into relevancy. And he did he ever. His contributions in those three years are so legendary that he's considered a legend by Rangers fans. The addition of Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist helped them by giving them a guy who wears pads the size of a football field. Lundqvist can get locked in, but the moment a 4th liner or a defenseman with zero puck skills takes a shot at him, he turns into Dan Cloutier. A lot has been said about the 3725nd biggest name in New York's personal life. Lundqvist is also best friends with Justin Bieber, which also shows how terrible his life choices are. And while everyone's going to tell me how sexy he is, People Magazine ranked Tim Tebow higher than him in their "sexiest man alive" list in 2014. Being worse at something than Tim Tebow means that you're probably pretty bad at it so yeah Henrik Lundqvist is pretty ugly.

After Jagr left to go play in Russia, where he had a chance to win something, the Rangers sort of disappeared for a few years, which included their legendary 82nd game choke job to the Flyers. Luckily for them, many businessmen thought that having dinner at Madison Square Garden was a great idea. I mean, who wouldn't want to have sushi at the site of the first ever Wrestlemania and home of the New York Knicks. Unfortunately for them, they didn't get to see any Sharpshooters, Rock Bottoms or even title changes. Sure, the Rangers may not have been successful on the ice, but MSG was the hottest restaurant in New York.

Ultimately, lack of success started to get to the Rangers. The front office felt they needed a change behind the bench, so they hired noted Mr. Demartino cosplayer John Tortorella to coach the Rangers.

demartino

The Rangers saw their fortunes turn when Tortorella thought it would be a good idea to employ a coaching strategy similar to Homer Simpson's boxing strategy. It worked out very well for them, as many teams fell asleep after 30 minutes of shooting pucks at Henrik Lundqvist, which allowed for the Rangers to finish 1st in the East. Having guys like Mike Rupp, Brandon Prust and Stu Bickel around also helped because if they couldn't bore them to death, they could have a caveman maul them to death.

2012 also featured a breakout season for franchise defenseman Dan Girardi, who was named to the All-Star team for the first time. Girardi has the rare combination of Jack Johnson's hockey IQ, Andrew MacDonald's puck skills and Bryce Salvador's defensive zone awareness, how can you not want to give him votes for the best defenseman in the league? Over his career, Girardi has been criminally underpaid; just look at his current contract.

They thought 2012 was the year. In addition to having the best team in the East, the best goaltender and the best defenseman in the league, the Rangers ended up adding 420-time Calder/Selke/Hart/Art Ross/Jack Adams trophy winner Chris Kreider to their roster after he left Boston College. Kreider was supposed to be the piece that put them over the top, the kind of Mark Messier-type player the Rangers have been looking for. As you read this sentence, Kreider just shoulder-tackled an old lady so he could get the last box of Ho Hos. Of course, it's okay because he's big and he doesn't know his own strength. Kreider delivers a hit from behind? It's okay, he doesn't know his own strength. Kreider hits all five of John Cena's Five Moves of Doom on a 5-year-old who wanted to use the gumball machine? It's okay, he doesn't know his own strength. Kreider attempts to cannibalize Evgeni Malkin? It's okay, he doesn't know his own strength. Yet despite how much the NHL hates the Rangers, Chris Kreider has yet to be suspended once. I mean, it makes some sense, the NHL can't suspend the best player in the league. Ultimately, the addition of Chris Kreider couldn't help the Rangers get past Steve Bernier and the Devils.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, their marriage with Tortorella didn't end well, so the Rangers decided to go further down the shithole and hire turd rancher Alain Vigneault. For those unfamiliar with him, he's the guy who coached the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, the year they went to the Finals. The 2011 Vancouver Canucks are legendary in how despised they were. That team was so shitty that people were willing to cheer on the Boston Bruins, a team that employed the likes of Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and sentient gorilla Shawn Thornton. If there was one guy who could fill Tortorella's shoes, it was him. The Rangers future looked bright as the next Chris Kreider in the form of Anthony Duclair went to the world juniors and lit it up. Of course, seeing as Duclair couldn't turn Tanner Glass into Jaromir Jagr, he was deemed a bust and traded for Keith Yandle. While Yandle isn't the dynamic winger the Rangers thought Duclair was, the Rangers added Yandle because they wanted to find out if he knew all the secrets to Shane Doan's legendary elbow drop. Yandle will hope to play the role Stéphane Matteau played in 1994, when he scored a big overtime goal, faded into obscurity and had his son drafted by the Devils in the first round.

The biggest obstacle to overcome was the loss of Henrik Lundqvist, because they didn't have anyone who could fill those oversized pads. Enter Cam Talbot, the undrafted free agent goalie who overcame all the odds to become the backup goalie for the Rangers and sit on the bench for weeks playing Kwazy Kupkakes (with a backwards W) on his iPhone. Of course, in the year where all sorts of random goaltending happened - such as Andrew Hammond turning into Dominik Hasek or Steve Mason somehow finishing with a .928 sv%, Talbot happened to be one of the beneficiaries of this goaltending voodoo, with a .926 sv% in 36 games. Unfortunately for Talbot, his reward for strong play will be a trade to the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite all the adversity these Rangers faced, the 2014-15 season was the nicest season the Rangers had because Fat Bastard Fred Dukes Kevin James Rick Nash lead the Rangers with 69 points.

Of course, with the Knicks being terrible, the Yankees being full of old guys making a ton of money and the Mets being irrelevant come mid-April, the Rangers finally get the spotlight all to themselves. Will the Rangers finally win the Cup again so that everyone shuts up about 1994, or will they burn out in the first round and continue to talk about how they won the Cup in 1994? Well, based on their prior history, the Rangers are probably going to lose because that's what they do best.