There's a lot to be said for the energy that surges through New York City come April ... an energy we haven't seen in these parts in a long, long time.
This spring marked the first time since 1997 that both the Knicks and Rangers qualified for their respective postseasons ... the first time in 14 years you saw folks in midtown Manhattan wearing their Knicks and Rangers jerseys, full of anticipation, either heading to the Garden or to a bar or restaurant, jazzed on the excitement of what used to be a birthright in New York.
The Knicks and Rangers have both been so bad for so long, we forget what it's like when both teams are challenging for championships into the cusp of summer. We forget the feeling we had in 1994, when both teams played a magical parlay that lasted well into June; the Rangers exorcising a 54-year-old curse by winning the Stanley Cup in a thrilling seven-game triumph over Vancouver, and the Knicks coming six points -- or two John Starks 3-pointers -- from bringing the Larry O'Brien Trophy home from Houston.
Destiny would not be nearly as kind this time around, with both teams stumbling and falling on very similar pothole-filled paths:
The Rangers faced a superior opponent, the Washington Capitals, who had too much talent and depth.
The Knicks faced a superior opponent, the Boston Celtics, who had too much talent and depth.
The Rangers had no margin for error after losing their best player, Ryan Callahan, to injury.
The Knicks had little margin for error after losing one of their top three players, Chauncey Billups, to injury.
The Rangers, with a chance to tie the series 2-2, led 3-0 in Game 4 entering the third period. The Capitals scored three goals to tie the game, and won in double-overtime, dealing the Rangers a crushing blow they never recovered from.
The Knicks, with a chance to tied the series 1-1, led the Celtics 93-92 in Game 3 with 19 seconds left. Kevin Garnett hit a hook shot with 12 seconds left, then came up with a steal with 4.4 seconds to play, dealing the Knicks a crushing blow they never recovered from.
Realistically, neither team had a chance to make a legitimate playoff run, and just as we were getting used to seeing those Knicks and Rangers jerseys around town, in mothballs for so long, the spring fashion season is over, setting the stage for a summer of Yankees pinstripes being the fashion trend.