Rangers mania could be felt all around Madison Square Garden Sunday as the team took on Pittsburgh in their first game since the seemingly never-ending lockout. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
Fans turned out in force Sunday at Madison Square Garden for the Blueshirts' home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Games are not meant to be seen they're meant to be felt, let's go Rangers right now," said one Rangers fan.
"Love the Rangers, have loved them my whole life, but still a little burned by the first half of the season," said another fan.
The first half of the 2012-2013 season didn't happen because of a labor dispute between the NHL owners and players. The four month lockout finally ended with the signing of a collective bargaining agreement January 12.
"We were supposed to go to a game in November but it was cancelled because of that and I was really upset," said one Rangers fan.
It's not the first time a labor dispute has caused fans heartache. A lockout in the 1994-1995 season led to a shortened season and a decade later there was no season at all.
"Hopefully we just never have to hear about this again in my lifetime," said one Rangers fan.
Meanwhile, players, coaches, and fans are not the only ones celebrating. The owners of the Flying Puck, a hockey bar close to the Garden tell NY1 there was a decline in business without the games. But now things are looking up.
"It's only the second day today, but it's already crazy. It wasn't like that last year, only during the playoff season. It's really crazy. People are really excited about hockey back," said Jane Maryutina, a waitress.
Even though the Rangers lost the home opener to the Penguins 6-3 fans say they are just glad to have hockey back.
Fans also say a short season is better than no season at all. However, the short season means there's going to be no interconference games. As a result, eastern teams will play only eastern opponents and western teams will play only western opponents.