This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!
Last year's ranking: 76
Title track: 49
Fan relations: 35
Stadium experience: 67
Bang for the buck: 60
The Big Apple caught Rangers fever in the spring, when the Broadway Blueshirts booked a ticket to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since their 1994 championship. After a sluggish start to the season, the Rangers locked up their brick wall, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, to a big extension, brought in spark plug Martin St. Louis midseason (despite dealing their captain away) and meshed under Alain Vigneault's fast-paced system to clinch their eight postseason berth in nine years. From there, they overcame long odds to knock out two division foes and a talented Montreal club to play for the Cup. Defensively, they were one of the best teams in the league, ranking fourth in goals against and third in penalty killing -- but offensively, they lacked superstars.
Despite the finals run, a well-regarded new coach and a roster stocked with likable players, New York still finished 70th in our rankings, due largely to its astronomical prices. The Rangers' average ticket price was $74.89, highest once again for all American NHL franchises, while the average cost per game was third in the entire NHL at $114.64. But hey, someone has to pay for the billion-dollar renovations to Madison Square Garden, which still ranked just 67th in stadium experience -- despite two new sky bridges that run parallel to the ice, improved concourses and a sparkling GardenVision scoreboard.
Maybe another championship banner in the rafters will do the trick.