Friday, November 2, 2007

The Savior

2006: They haven't made the playoffs since 1997. They have a no-name defense and no depth on offense. Starting goalie Kevin Weekes goes down with a groin injury. Only a 7th round, unproven, unexperienced Swede can fill that spot.

2007: A disappointing season that included a 9 game losing streak and an awful record. They were guaranteed to miss the playoffs before the season was halfway through. That once-heralded Swede seemed to have lost it.

2008: After offseason signings, things looked headed downhill. The 2-5-1 record do nothing to help the spirits of the team, the fans and the city. Looks like those same old Rangers.

Similar story lines...

Same results...

2006: He lifts his team to their first playoff berth in 9 years. Becomes a Vezina finalist in his rookie year. 30 wins. 2.18 GAA. His team was picked to go 30th. Not even close.

2007: Picked up his game. Best goalie on the best team during the second half. Another Vezina final. Another playoffs berth. A sweep and two wins against Buffalo to go with it. 37 wins. 2.34 GAA. 5 shutouts. Yeah, the critics shut up.

2008: Hes good when times are bad. Unstoppable when they are good. 12 games. 3 shutouts. 1.67 GAA. .937 SV%. And hes 5-6. The Rangers were 2-5-1. He had a shut-out. In a shootout loss. Consistent 2 goal efforts. Consistent losses. Hold down the fort until times get better on offense. They do. Win 3 out of last 4. Give up only 5 goals in those games. 2 shutouts. Has given up more than 2 goals in only 3 games. Shooting for another Vezina final? Try Vezina winner. Try Stanley Cup Champion. Try.....