When they were the stars of their very own HBO show this summer, the Rangers didn't have to worry about offending anyone if they let an expletive fly now and then.
Henrik Lundqvist's speech after winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie suggests that created too much of a comfort level for the team when it comes to expressing themselves in front of television cameras. Lundqvist let the F-word fly while accepting the award (it's a safe for work video) on Wednesday night.
Lundqvist actually seemed more flustered by the moment than blase about the word flying out of his mouth, which he quickly apologized for using in front of a hockey crowd that didn't seem to mind in the least. Given the amount of fun made of John Tortorella -- who didn't win Coach of the Year -- over the course of the night, it's a bit surprising it hadn't happened sooner.
Lundqvist's win was also a nice way to put a cork in the season and fully turn our attention toward the future. Losing in the Eastern Conference Finals and Marian Gaborik's serious shoulder injury brought the year to a sour end, something we allow to dominate the overall narrative too often.
Winning a championship is obviously the goal of any season, especially one when you enter the playoffs as the first seed in your conference, but not doing it doesn't mean that it wasn't a season to savor.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Rangers took their place as one of the best teams in the league and built a roster that makes those bloated messes of the interim years a distant memory.
Lundqvist was the biggest star, but Ryan Callahan (passed over for the vaguely defined Mark Messier Award as the league's top captain), Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Gaborik, named a second team All-Star, all had excellent seasons worthy of one last round of applause. And Chris Kreider's playoff arrival makes it easier to start thinking about a future that doesn't include playoff losses to the Devils.
Unless you win the Cup, the season is going to end with a bad taste in the mouth. Wednesday night was a reminder that it doesn't mean the whole meal was a disaster.
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