It goes without saying that the New York Rangers get little-to-no respect from the mainstream New York media. Outside of the writers and bloggers who follow the team, the Rangers aren't given respect. If a tourist picked up a newspaper, they would have no idea that the Rangers were one of the best teams in the NHL.
Writers like Larry Brooks, Andrew Gross, Steve Zipay, Pat Leonard, Katie Strang, Jesse Spector and various others do a great job for their respective outlets, but their work is not promoted on the back page.
It has gone on for far too long now, and it is starting to be downright disgraceful and disrespectful. Why is this the case? At this time of year in New York, football season is over, the New York Knicks are dreadful and pitchers and catchers don't report for weeks. The coverage only gets worse on the radio. Most students and individuals who drive to work tune into sports radio or local broadcasts.
Regardless of the Rangers' esteem and achievements, they are not promoted because there is a misconception that, "no one cares about hockey." Who made this remark?
While this tweet may be dated from earlier in the year, whenever hockey is brought up on WFAN's Boomer and Carton, the diatribe is often repeated. There is this misconception that a city of millions of citizens have no interest in hockey. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Craig Carton knows little to nothing about hockey, and that was evident when he asked Brad Richards if he knew who John Tortorella was.
Why should fans care about this "opinionated tweet?" They should care because this individual claims to represent WFAN and the tag line of being New York's flagship station for sports.
If you are a host on a prime drive-time radio station, you need to know your stuff before you can criticize a sport and its fanbase. It got worse when he claimed to know how the free-agent process worked with Richards. Carton only made the interview worse when he flubbed his hockey knowledge. The point here is, he loses all credibility with his statement that "no one cares about hockey."
While he may think it is funny to pick on Boomer and the fanbase, what he doesn't realize is all the fans he ticks off are turning their dials to an FM music channel and the station's numbers slightly decrease.
The Rangers are well known for selling out The Garden for home games, and at the very least the building is often filled to capacity. Millions of fans tuned in to watch the Rangers play in the Winter Classic. Economically, the NHL Store in Manhattan is always packed, as fans are always purchasing goods.
The difference between the Rangers and a team that is promoted like the Knicks, is the loyalty of the fanbase, and it is evident that New York's true fans care about hockey over basketball. Where were all the fans pre-Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler? What about the years of mediocrity where the Knicks failed to make the playoffs? It seems that citizens have now jumped on the bandwagon and are singing the praises of the Knicks since they became a relevant team.
The Knicks have had a subpar start and the fan chatter has really died down.
The Rangers were a playoff team during the majority of those years in which the Knicks wallowed in mediocrity, and they didn't get any respect then. This rant may sound nonsensical and homer-ish, and it partially is, but there is something fundamentally wrong when the world's largest sports market does not promote its most successful team.
The New York Rangers deserve radio air time, and their fans deserve the respect to speak their minds about their favorite team. They don't deserve to get hung up on because "no one cares about hockey." How can WFAN call itself New York's flagship sports radio station when it gives horse racing more priority than the NHL? The NHL is one of the four major sports and should be treated as such.
The bottom line is as follows: When the Rangers are in the playoffs, these stations will change their tune and will pretend to care about hockey. If the Rangers win the Stanley Cup, the radio stations will brown nose left and right and will attempt to explain how and why they won when some hosts don't even know the difference between the blue line and red line.
The Rangers are going places and the fans care about this team. It has gotten to a point where the Rangers' only mention on air is during hourly updates. It is definitely clear that New York's current top-dog sports team deserves a lot better than this. The true fans can smell the brown-nosing a mile away, but it is still disrespectful and disappointing that the Rangers get less air time than a local college sports team.
Tom Urtz Jr. is an NHL Featured Columnist. For more NHL free-agent news, updates and alerts about players: