I don't know why I continue to do it, but day after day I repeatedly put myself through utter torture and watch New York Rangers hockey.
It's an odd pattern, too. Every year, my love for the team grows and grows, but nothing ever changes.
I get so fired up for hockey season and what I think the Rangers' chances are of bringing home a Stanley Cup. Yet, it's always the same result.
I didn't think the Rangers had a chance to win it coming into the season, but I was optimistic (obviously for all things, except the disaster that has been Wade Redden).
But here I sit at 3:00 am Friday morning after watching Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, and all I want to do is slam my head through my bedroom window just to make this pain go away.
The Panthers scored two goals in 60 seconds in the third period.
First, Stephen Weiss had a pretty drop pass to an open David Booth, who beat Henrik Lundqvist five-hole with a backhand. Then, in the blink of an eye, Richard Zednik centered to Nathan Horton from Gretzky's Office and Horton put it home. I wanted to scream, but had to keep my composure since I was at work.
Now, the Rangers have shown more fire in their skates after the firing of coach Tom Renney, but they still cannot score.
It's a mystery that I doubt this particular team will be able to solve. They simply don't have a guy that can score.
The one goal they scored against the Panthers on Thursday was because of a lucky bounce. Scott Gomez had his shot saved by Craig Anderson on the rush and Markus Naslund knocked it in, as he was being taken down into the net.
The poor play is not entirely Renney's fault, and you can't expect new coach John Tortorella to have this team turn itself completely around overnight. For the record, I think Tortorella will do very well in New York, but that success will probably start next season.
Who's to blame for this? GM Glen Sather. I won't get in to this here, but you can find out how I feel about him in an article I wrote last week.
Let's hope Tortorella has a new general manager to assemble his team come July 1.
After questioning myself for hours as to why I keep putting forth so much effort into following this team, I can really come up with only one solid answer: I love this franchise so much, and always will.
There is nothing I love more in hockey, which in itself is such a beautiful sport, than going to Madison Square Garden and hearing that Rangers goal song (which hasn't been played much of late).
I can't get enough of it. It's my drug.
I don't care how lame that sounds, because every one of us on this blogging Web site has something they love in sports like I do.
Whenever I see that shot of Mark Messier hoisting up that Stanley Cup in 1994, every hair on my body stands up. I was 10 when they won the Cup and, during the final minutes of Game Seven, my cable went out and I missed it.
Had that happened to me at this age, I would have had a full-on coronary explosion.
I hear the names of Messier, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, and Adam Graves, and it enhances whatever mood I'm in. I wear my Rangers cap with pride, no matter how well or how bad they're playing.
No matter how mad this team makes me, I will stand beside it until the day I die. Let's go Rangers!