Rangers Fans Are Singing an Unhappy Tune

Fan protest planned for Sunday

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It would be hard to come up with a game that better encapsulates just how frustrating the current Rangers team is than the one they lost 5-4 in overtime to the Penguins on Thursday night.

    Pressed for offense all season and playing without Marian Gaborik, the Rangers scored four times on their first 12 shots but couldn't build on that because they managed just four shots after the Pens changed goalies. Henrik Lundqvist made 50 saves, a staggering amount that fell short because the rest of the team just let Pittsburgh fire away until they got the tally that decided the game in the extra period.

    That's ugly hockey, something that Rangers fans have become far too familiar with since Glen Sather took over responsibility for the team's personnel decisions in 2000. Over the years he's chased big name players who made more money than good plays, he's cut ties with popular members of the franchise and missed the playoffs as often as he's made them. Understandably, that's ticked off quite a large segment of the fan base.

    Some of those fans are striking back on Sunday before the team faces the Sabres. There's a protest planned on Seventh Avenue across from the Garden and an online petition that the organizers will send to James Dolan to express their disgust. We're big fans of activism, but have some serious doubts about how much anything will change.

    For one thing, the Rangers still have a pretty decent chance of making the playoffs this year. That will result in added revenue for Dolan and the business side of things is what drives the train. You've also got to look at the history of Dolan's sports stewardship and realize that the more slings and arrows are fired at him and his employees, the less likely it is that there's going to be a change. Isiah Thomas makes Glen Sather look like the smartest man on the face of the Earth and it took a lot more than clanging pots and a bunch of signatures to finally get him out of the executive offices.

    The only meaningful protest will be if there are large swaths of unsold seats at Madison Square Garden and a massive drop in viewership of games on MSG. That's not meant to belittle those who are raising their voices, because they should absolutely register their disappointment and revulsion in as loud a voice as possible. However the truth remains that the only way Rangers fans will be able to affect change in the team they love is to stop following the team they love. 

    That's a pretty hard step for sports fans to take, no matter how cruel life in the Sather regime has turned out to be.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.