Kevin Smith's NHL Blog - Live to Hate the Rangers
Originally posted on April 10, 2008
Kevin is perhaps best known for his movies Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Mallrats, Dogma, and Clerks. He also played "Warlock" in last summer's action hit, Live Free or Die Hard. An avid hockey fan, Kevin references hockey in all his films. Born and raised in New Jersey, Kevin will be analyzing his home-state Devils throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was only fitting that the first-ever playoff goal to be scored in the less-than-year-old Prudential Center Arena was notched by a pair of Devils' first-round picks. That's the kind of moment that forever lives not just in the Rock record books, but in Devil fans' memories as well.
Sadly, those first-round picks are former Devils.
Nothing sucks worse than having to face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. It's not that they're good (though they are; their 7-0-1 regular season numbers against the Devs can attest to that); it's just that they're the @% Rangers, man.
No Devils fan can truly pinpoint why we hate our cross-river rivals as much as we do. You can't trace it back to just one thing. For example: if Gretzky had been wearing the blue (or white) when he made his infamous "They are putting a Mickey Mouse operation on the ice" dismissal of the Christmas-colors-clad Devils back in '83, maybe then you could get your head around why we detest the Rangers with the passion that we do. But the Great One was an Oiler then (and off by a decade; there'd be an actual Mickey Mouse operation in '93 when Anaheim first took to the ice), so we don't have a "Dem's fightin' woids" kinda origin to all this bad blood.
Even so, Devils fans live to hate the Rangers. Sometimes, it feels like a large cross-section of those folks in the stands at the Rock (and formerly at the Meadowlands) aren't there so much to love on the Devils as they are to hate on New York: proof of this can be found when the Devils play any team that's not NYR, and inevitably, at some point in the game, you hear an ornate series of whistles, followed by a mass shout of "RANGERS SUCK!" Even when the boys in blue aren't anywhere near the building, we're still seething about their very existence. You'd think we'd hold a special place in our hearts for the Rangers, as they gave us our first ever win back in '82. Granted, they don't roll over for us as much as Philly does (except, y'know in that last game this season), but the Rangers've been hoisted up high on the Devils' pitchfork enough times (the '06 four-zip playoffs come to mind) to warrant at least a degree of affection.
But alas, it doesn't exist and really didn't exist last night, when NY closed game one of the playoffs with a 4 to 1 victory. And it all started so promisingly, too: our boys came out swinging in the first, as if following a Sutter mandate of "if it moves out there, hit it." True Shanahan's opening goal with the Gomez assist felt like being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present simultaneously. But after Paul Martin's stellar game-tying power-play goal in the second, you could almost see the Ghost of Christmas Future looming over Lundqvist, pointing a boney finger at his playoff grave. The game was starting to have that familiar '06 feeling that it could'veŠ would've been ours – were it not for two factors.
1) The @% pipes. Brylin, Asham, Zubrus there were so many pipes hit last night, I thought I was watching "New Jack City."
2) Ryan Callahan's @% opportunistic goal. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. If Marty's stick handle was pointed out instead of in, it would've been a whole different game.
That's not to say Sean Avery wouldn't have still found the net with three minutes to go in the third (and if I were a Buddhist, or "Earl," I'd say even Avery deserves a gift like that after taking the puck so hard and messy in the face earlier in the game that it called to mind gay porn). But if just one of those crossbar bouncers had arched an inch lower, we'd be talking about a tie game, with hopes pinned on overtime.
Still, the Devils have nothing to be ashamed about – not even Marty who (that Callahan Sneak aside) played like the living legend he is. The Red and Black kicked off this year's playoffs with authority, reminding the Rangers why they hate us almost as much as we hate them. All this one-game deficit really means is that we've gotta give just a little bit more in Game 2 to make it an even series again. And that's something the Devils historically know how to do: give a little bit more. We've got three Cups to prove it.
And when I say we've, naturally I mean they've. I'm not out there on that ice giving it my all; my fat ass is laying face down on my bed, watching all the grueling action from the comfort of home. Thank Christ the Devils aren't depending on my physical prowess at all to bury these Broadway @%; I get winded just walking to the toilet.
The toilet, mind you, whose bowl-bottom is adorned with a target: the Rangers logo.
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