Fans annually look back at the various wins and losses in their favourite team's season and select the second where things went right, or when they went wrong. In spite of the season running 82 games, we feel that there must be one singular moment that, had things just gone a little bit better, the team's fortunes would have been far more fortunate. One goal, one save, one better call by that blind jackass referee ... the margin for success is just that narrow nowadays. But sometimes it isn't so clear.
And sometimes it isn't so frivolous.
The Rangers have unfortunately been forced to confront their fateful moment a full month before the season is even due to start. The team has arrived at the fork in the road and what happens next will determine how they fare when the puck drops. As if it hasn't been difficult enough for the boys to battle through the loss of Derek Boogaard, they now have to start coping with the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crash. It will not be easy. More friends and more familiar former foes fell in a hard-to-grasp manner.
The upcoming season can go one of two ways. The Blueshirts can unite in their grief and help each other work through the pain by playing as hard as they can. They could immerse themselves in their work and honor those lost by doing what they do best as best as they can do it. Or they can go down the other path. They could get lost in the losses. They can go through the motions as they deal with their emotions. And, you know what? Absolutely no one could blame them.
The players need to know that it is alright to grieve. They need to do it however fits them best. Getting through it is a personal battle without a one size-fits-all solution. Whether it is hitting the gym or breaking some stuff, screaming their lungs out or even just talking, the guys need to find a way to move on.
The loss from this horrific crash is even more poignant as it comes just days away from the anniversary of 9/11. Sure the reasons for the tragedies are far, far different but treasured lives were lost the same. It has been hellish working through the horror of 9/11 over the last 10 years just look around this city - we have moved on but the day has been forgotten, those lives that were snuffed out so long ago have not been lost to time. The Rangers saw that firsthand this week while visiting firehouses and they need to remember the strength of those they met and find it in themselves.
The former teammates, foes and friends who died on the other side of the world will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved them. But the ones who are left need to start healing and they need to start moving on soon.
Some may think that talking about the upcoming season at this point in time is heartless and I can certainly understand where their minds are at. But this city found respite in sport 10 years ago we can only hope that our sportsmen can do the same now.