Rangers deserve credit, but they’ll lose Eastern Conference final

NY celly

All right then, let’s get a few things out of the way right off the top. Your trusty correspondent was dead wrong when he wrote off the New York Rangers after Game 4 of their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was obviously wrong to assume that the Rangers were, “basically finished,” after they fell into a 3-1 hole to the Penguins. Lesson learned.

Let’s also make it clear that I have no intention of apologizing for making a bold prediction and being wrong. First of all, I can’t imagine the New York Rangers even know or care what I wrote about them. No, there will not be an apology to the entire New York Rangers organization that so many people demanded on Twitter Tuesday night. There will be no apology for me thinking that, despite their success, the Rangers are a middle-of-the-road team that would get ripped to shreds if it played in the Western Conference. There will be no apology from The Hockey News for ranking its group of prospects dead last in our annual Future Watch edition.

Here’s how it works. Among my duties here at THN is to make predictions and express my opinions. Among those opinions after Game 4 was the following: “The Rangers are far closer to a tear-down than they are a Stanley Cup championship.” The next three games proved the Rangers are indeed onto something here so I’ll take a mea culpa on that one. But remember, the Rangers are only halfway through the playoffs. It’s not as though they’re on the cusp of winning the Stanley Cup either. A memorable playoff run is not going to make the Rick Nash dilemma go away for the Rangers, just as a Penguins victory in Game 7 would not have masked the very real depth deficiencies and roster holes they’ll have to address.

But an apology? Come on. For expressing an opinion? Don’t think so. It would be interesting to see how many of those who crucified yours truly on social media were secretly writing the Rangers off themselves after Game 4.

We all love the passion of hockey fans. It’s part of the reason we’re in business and why I have a job. And when readers discover I’ve made a mistake or disagree with something I have to say, they have every right to call me out and make me accountable. But to form a social media lynch mob that has nothing better to do than personally attack someone with whom they don’t agree?

Here’s a sampling of what some of the keyboard warriors had to say on social media after Game 7 (as they appeared):

From Mike: “And don’t forget to p—s on douchebag of the year @THNKenCampbell for his amazing article.”

From Corey: “@THNKenCampbell quit writhing your awful articles loser. You clearly suck at it.”

From Mark Peldunas: “@THNKenCampbell still think the Rangers are mediocre you idiot? Still think they should break up the team? Shove it!”

From heavyD: “Ken burns himself with lit cigarettes while touching himself look at pictures of Malkin…at his O face probably looks like crosbys whining to the refs face.” (If anyone can make any sense of this one, please let us know.)

From Doctor Arik Soong: “He was such an ass while writing this that he shouldn’t resurface till next year…for his own sake.”

From YOT: “Ken Campbell, You’re a tool of the highest order. Great insight you asshat!”

From Des Po: “My cat is refusing to use his litter box because I lined it with this article. Great job jerk.”

And this beauty from Chris Tullo: “The entire hockey community is laughing at you Campbell..you biased happy-haired douchebag. suck it.

And that did not include all the comments that we couldn’t run because they were simply too profane.

To be fair, there were a lot of really good ones, too. I particularly appreciated the ones that included a “Dewey defeats Truman” reference. As I’ve always said, you want to have reasonable debate, I’ve got all the time in the world for you. It’s the personal attacks that are so repugnant.

So for all those who asked, I will not be changing professions anytime soon and, unless something is going on that I don’t know about, The Hockey News will not be buying me out. So I will continue to make predictions and, gasp, some of them will be wrong. And just so you know, my prediction for the Eastern Conference final is that either Boston or Montreal, whichever team wins Game 7 tonight, will defeat the Rangers in six games in the Eastern Conference final.