Getty ImagesMadison Square Garden underwent a massive refurbishing in the last year. During the summer, the New York Rangers’ various championship banners and retired numbers were re-hoisted to the rafters. Included among them: a 2011-12 Atlantic Division Champions banner, commemorating the Rangers capturing the division crown for the first time since 1994.
That’s right: Despite the lockout keeping NHL hockey off of the Garden ice since May, the Rangers still hung their title banner.
The Rangers also finished with the most points in the Eastern Conference last season, but the team did not hang a Conference Champions banner because the Rangers did not win the conference championship in the playoffs.
A Garden official said the Rangers would not have had a pregame ceremony to raise the Atlantic Division Champions banner. “Higher aspirations,” he said.
We’ve had many a debate here on Puck Daddy about the value of division championships. For example: If you’re a Rangers fan, do you own anything commemorating the title considering the fact that the Blueshirts fell short of a conference championship, losing to the hated New Jersey Devils no less?
For an Original Six team, a division title banner raising really isn’t mandatory. Now, if the Florida Panthers squander a chance to have a banner-raising party for their first division title in franchise history … that’s another story.