Madison 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.
Question is: Would they even have had a banner raising ceremony if the lockout hadn’t happened?
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.