From 1997-2004 people were embarrassed to call themselves Ranger fans and wear any kinds of team paraphernalia out in public.
Then in the blink of an eye, the 2005 New York Rangers become the best team to wear blue since 1997, and all of a sudden, there are fans again. People flock to games, buying up both tickets and merchandise.
Then when Sean Avery was acquired in 2006, the bandwagon became so crowded it was hard for everyone to stay on.
As I walked around Madison Square Garden, I remembered the days of being able to walk up to the box office on game day and buy a ticket for almost any section I wanted. Now tickets sell out in five minutes.
When you've been a fan for so long, you know who's a real fan and who's just rooting for the team because their good. Just by the things they say, you can tell.
Sean Avery was loved by the Bandwagon Rangers fans like no other before him.
No matter what he did, he was a God. Even when he made bad plays or very stupid mistakes, he could do no wrong in their eyes. Yes, I liked Avery too, but not to the point where I would offer him the money he was asking.
I would over hear people saying, "Oh just give him whatever he wants because he's Sean Avery." Even after he made a play in overtime against the Flyers, which cost the Rangers the game, people did not care. They let it slide. Had the same play been made by Marek Malik, the Garden may have been burned to the ground.
Every bandwagon fan had to have their Avery jersey. I swear, I saw more No.16's floating around MSG in 2007 then I did Messier or Leetch jerseys from 2000-2004.
But now that Avery's gone, what are these fans to do?
The jersey, unlike that of some former Rangers like the aforementioned Leetch and Messier, is absolutely worthless. Avery said that he, "Bleeds blue and that the Rangers were the only team he wanted to play for."
Well after this week, he was clearly telling the truth because he bled so much blue, he signed with Dallas.
Rangers message boards, buzzing for the last two weeks with nothing but Avery talk, have grown silent. It just amazes me, instead of fans expressing there anger towards him for leaving, they just decide to be quiet themselves and leave all together. Anything they do say is negativity directed towards Glen Sather, who I believe made the right choice.
With Sean Avery leaving, there is both good and bad; the bad is that we lose a very skillful player who could agitate like no other. The good, we get to see how true blue some Rangers' fans really are.