In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals last night between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden in New York City, I was completely floored at the reaction from Rangers’ fans in the crowd. No, it was not that they were the loudest they have been all season, like I had hoped. Instead, they were quiet as a mouse for most of the game, which in my opinion is completely embarrassing and inexcusable.
The Rangers went into Montreal and won the first two games of the series, in a place where the Rangers have struggled to win immensely, and the Madison Square Garden crowd responds to the Rangers’ play in the first two games with nothing in Game 3. I just cannot believe how far Madison Square Garden has sunk. What used to be one of the best and loudest arenas in the entire NHL is now a shell of its former self.
Why is this you ask?
Simple. The Rangers’ owner James Dolan makes it clearer and clearer every season that Rangers fans do not matter to him — only money. With every passing season, ticket prices soar to new highs and the die-hard, middle class, passionate Rangers fanbase just cannot afford to go to games anymore. So instead of serious fans, the Madison Square Garden crowd is now filled up with New York City business men in suits, and Dolan is perfectly content because he is getting a sold-out crowd, and most importantly, all of the money.
The lack of die-hard Rangers fans at home games in Madison Square Garden results in the extreme lack of crowd noise you hear at these games, which ultimately results in the home ice “advantage” that the Rangers are supposed have against the opposition.
But as long as Dolan keeps raking in the dough, who cares if the Rangers lose this series, right? That is sarcasm at its finest if you could not tell.