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04-23-2011, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by polako View Post
Most fulfilling season since 05-06.
I would say the most fulfilling since 1996-97, maybe even 1993-94.

1995 was disappointing in part because of the lockout, in part because a Stanley Cup winner finished 8th and then got swept in the second round. They even traded a first round pick for Verbeek just to make the playoffs.

Next year, 1995-96, the Rangers made multiple trades costing them Zubov, Norstrom, Nedved, etc., and the result was that they played only one more game in the playoffs than the year before. The Rangers were on pace to win the President's Trophy as of February 1, 1996, and then collapsed, which is what led to the Norstrom, et al for Kurri, McSorley trade.

1996-97 was a sign of things to come, with the team struggling to make the playoffs most of the year. They made it, and played really well against the Panthers and the Debbies, beating each in 5 games. Then they won a game away in Philly, and I was really hopeful that they could go to the Finals. They were 1-1 after the first pair of games away, so why not be hopeful?

The Rangers returned home and failed to win a playoff game not just that series, but for the next 10 years. The Rangers went from 1997 to 2007 without winning a playoff game. In May 1997, I would've said it will be impossible that it will happen.

It was nice to see the Rangers do well in 2007 and 2008, but you had to have known that the team is not going to be ready to contend very soon unless every prospect reached his outmost peak potential.

Right now, it's different. The number of young players and prospects is just staggering.

If it's not Thomas, then it's Fasth or Zuccarello. If it's not Kreider, then it's Grachev or Horak. If it's not Hagelin, then it's Bourque or Werek. If it's not McIlrath, then it's Valentenko or Kundratek.

That's a lot to look forward to. If the Rangers can add one first liner, one second liner, one third liner, and one tough defenseman like Vtank or McIlrath - plus MDZ will become a good OD - then we are Cup contenders.

I think that's a reasonable expectation.

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