NEW YORK, NY – It was only about a month ago, all five of the local hockey and basketball team were in the playoffs, the Yankees and Mets were off to decent starts, and things were looking good for New York City sports. What a difference a month makes. None of the hockey or basketball teams made it past the second round and the Yanks and Mets are sputtering. We’ve already been forced to cast a hopeful eye toward fall and football season. What the hell happened? Let’s take a look at these horrific playoff failures.
Rangers – lost in 7 to Devils. After winning convincingly in the first two, the Rangers fell apart in the Garden and then didn’t get off the bus for Game 7. With elevated expectations and big deadline moves, the season was a total bust. Patrick Kane never fit and Gerald Gallant lost his job. A new coach will be expected to right the ship. This one hurt.
Nets – swept by the Sixers. The Nets actually held up pretty well after purging their stars. Jacque Vaughn has “competent coach” written all over him. But they didn’t have the firepower to hang with Philly and didn’t put up much of a fight. They need a star to go with some solid role players. I hear Kyrie is available.
Islanders – lost in 6 to Hurricanes. The Isles gave the Canes a fight, winning two games, and three of the four losses were by only one goal, with two going to OT. Had They gotten one of the OT wins, they would’ve forced a 7th game and maybe pulled it off. Instead, the Canes are on to the Conference Finals. The Isles seem to be stuck on “good not great” and need an influx of youth/speed/offense.
New Jersey Devils – lost to the Hurricanes in 5. This was a poor performance after beating the Rangers in 7. They scored 8 goals in their lone win, but only tallied one goal in 3 of the four losses and two in the other. They we’re outscored 20-5 in the four losses. Yeah, that’s not good. But the future is bright with superstar Jack Hughes at the plate and brother Luke in the on-deck circle, as well as other good young building blocks in place. This was a year of invaluable playoff experience for Hughes.
Knicks – lost in 6 to the Heat. It was no doubt a positive year for the Knicks but they blew a big opportunity. The Jalen Brunson signing was an absolute steal. They had the ball down by two in game 6 with the clock winding down. But like the rest of the game, his team abandoned Brunson and he was forced to try a difficult pass. RJ Barrett picked a bad time to turn back into a pumpkin and Julius Randle was a no-show. The two of them shot a combined 4 for 24. Eeesh. Miles McBride played two minutes in place of Brunson and was -7. The Knicks lost by 4. Do the math. When the smoke clears, things will look pretty good for the Knicks. I’d love to see them move on from Randle somehow and ride or die with Toppin. They need to bring back Josh Hart, who can opt out of his contract.
Well, at least we’ve got baseball, right? At least for a little while. If the Yanks or Mets don’t get out of first gear, we’ll be counting the days until training camp. The Jets and Giants face off in week 8 for what looks like a fun one. Both teams have a tough first 6 games and it might be important for both teams. The Jets will have the advantage of coming off a bye.
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