Before getting into another dismal review of the Rangers play last evening, I would first like to take a moment to discuss the lack of "True Blue" last night.
We all hold the players accountable, often too accountable, for what they do on the ice.
Yet, we forget that we as fans are also accountable for our actions.
With this particular group, lately it has been difficult to muster up the money or the will to go sit through three or more periods of agonizingly painful and boring hockey.
However, even with the current struggles, I was incredibly disheartened at the lack of attendance for Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell last night.
Steve Zipay of Newsday said it best, it was embarrassing and uncomfortable. Sitting in my seat all I kept thinking as I stared into the abyss of empty seats was, "will this be all that Bathgate and Howell will see when they walk onto the ice?"
Part of this is the fault of Madison Square Garden. They should have never waited this long to retire both numbers and as time has worn on, unfortunately so has the disconnect between generations.
However, it ultimately comes down to the fans.
Rangers fans pride themselves on their dedication, loyalty, and devotion to the franchise. Last night, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Typically, this will apply to the corporate seats near the bottom, but last night, the blues were as empty as ice level. That is unacceptable.
First, I likened it to the struggles of the current Rangers on the ice. Then, I tried to rationalize the economy. I even tried seeing what sporting event was taking precedence over this.
But in all honesty, it came down to Rangers fans just not caring enough.
And just when I had shrugged it off, the lights come on for puck drop and the Garden is greater than 90% full. Could anything have been a greater slap in the face to two classy gentleman who paved the way for every Ranger since?
I am sure that everyone will have an excuse, but this lack of turnout is squarely a failure of the fans.
If we only attend when the Rangers are winning then how are we any better than a casual or bandwagon fan?
The Garden Faithful needs to be restored, revived, and reinvented. But it must be done with a respect for the past, an objective understanding of the presence, and a fair outlook of the future.
More to come...