Being a die hard, super passionate sports fan is not always easy, as you literally live and die with your team or teams. Wins are moments that fans remember for a lifetime, and losses are bitter and painful moments that resonate with you for the rest of your life, no matter how many years go by. One of the worst things about being a diehard sports fan is when a star player or a fan favorite player leaves your team. We all have one or two players who we love on our favorite teams, whose departure would devastate us.
Many people simply say “well athletes are all about the money and you should not get attached to them.”
Saying that to a passionate sports fan is like telling a senior citizen that they should not go to bingo: it is not happening. Passionate fans slowly become attached to each and every member of their team or teams, and continue to follow their progress even after they have gone.
This dilemma is now upon New York Rangers fans for the third year in a row, as the Rangers prepare for a semi-roster overhaul as players such as Cam Talbot will be gone due to salary cap restrictions and the need of many teams for a star goaltender. While he does not have a lot of postseason experience, Cam Talbot is a star in the making.
Talbot helped carry the Rangers to the President’s Trophy with a 16-4-3 record with the Henrik Lundqvist injured for much of the Rangers winning streak. Without Talbot’s All-Star performance, Lundqvist may have had to perform at his super human level right away in order to ensure the Rangers had a playoff spot.
However, with Talbot’s elite play, Lundqvist could come back and slowly get back into a rhythm. While Lundqvist was out, fans grew to love Talbot, and many must brace themselves when Talbot is traded away in the coming days. Fans will be crushed and they have a right to, but fans can remember fondly how Talbot performed and was a class act on and off of the ice.
Talbot is not the first big name Ranger to be moving in an offseason. The Rangers have lost fan favorites such as Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marian Gaborik. All of these players have been moved in a three year span, and many of them were traded abruptly in trades that took the team, the media, and the fans by surprise.
Players and coaches do not often realize how much they mean to fans, as fans loved to root for them and see them make plays night in and night out. Of course, players get booed in New York and other places, yet fans still do not want to see them go (for the most part).
As difficult as it is to cope with losing your favorite player or players (your author is still not over Brad Richards), fans should not root against these players when they come back to Madison Square Garden or any other former home arena. The only time fans should root against these players is if they are on the team that your team is trying to beat. However, there should be a limit, as fans who laughed at the ex-Rangers on the Tampa Bay Lightning should be ashamed. Anybody who saw the tears in Brian Boyle’ eyes after he lost the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row and did not feel sad for him is not human.
These players did everything that they could to win a championship for your team, and now you laugh at them when they are in tears because they lost?
Of course you root against them when they play your team, but it should not get carried away. Fans sometimes fail to appreciate the good moments that players provide them and their teams, and instead focus on the fact that the player is gone. Unless the player goes into the media and bad mouths your team, or mocks your team, you should not have this hate for them.
Each of the Rangers players listed before provided the Rangers with big time plays and could always be counted on for a clutch goal or a clutch shot block. So instead of laughing at their pain, or booing them when they return, how about fans appreciate the players for what they did when they were here.
Additionally, you never know players may wind up returning unexpectedly. Look at the Jets, who brought back Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, after many fans lost their minds over the fact that Revis was going to be a New England Patriot, one of whom was your author, who had a temper tirade of epic proportions.
Players come and go from teams constantly and fans need to understand that. Besides Cam Talbot, there will undoubtedly be at least one other Ranger who departs, whether it is Carl Hagelin or Martin St. Louis or another player. Let us as fans appreciate these players for what they have done for our team and lets root for them on their next team and fondly recall the good times (Unless they sign with the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, or any other team that we Ranger fans cannot stand).