On the night of March 30, minutes after the Rangers defeated the Canadiens at the Garden for their 50th win of the season, this is what their coach, John Tortorella, said about the achievement:
“Fifty wins doesn’t mean squat,” he said. “You are judged by the playoffs.
“You are measured as a player and as a team by what your team does in the playoffs.”
In that case, and presuming that the sentiment applies equally to the man behind the bench, the 2011-12 Rangers will be measured by what they do tonight facing Game 6 first-round elimination by the Senators and then on Thursday in Game 7 at the Garden, if they can get there.
It is not entirely accurate that winning 51 games, amassing 109 points and finishing first in the Eastern Conference meant “squat.” The people who invest an inordinate amount of time, energy, emotion and money to go to the games — the fans, that is — deserve to be repaid with the honest effort the Rangers provided throughout the year.