"We're over here! Down the other hallway at MSG!"
In case you were wondering, that would be the New York Rangers, first in the Eastern Conference, trying to get just one anchor on ESPN's SportsCenter to swivel their chairs and banter in their direction.
And while the nation, the city and the cover of Sports Illustrated glorify an exceptional feel-good story on Broadway for a sub-.500 team, the New York Rangers are having their most successful season since 1996.
LINsanity? How about LUNsanity? Henrik Lundqvist – the Rangers starting goaltender since 2004 and a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist – is enjoying his best season yet, running away with his first Vezina and perhaps competing for MVP honors. Only four goalies have won the Hart Trophy since 1962 – Dominik Hasek has twice.
Lundqvist ranks first in the National Hockey League in save percentage and shutouts, second in goals against average and fourth in wins. Lundqvist blanked the Devils on Monday for his seventh straight 30-win season, breaking his own record for consecutive 30-win seasons to start a career. Lundqvist was drafted 205th overall out of Sweden in the 2000 NHL Draft's final round – not a bad Cinderella story either, is it?
And what about the other Blueshirts?
Dan Girardi, who came to the Rangers as an undrafted free agent in 2005, worked his way up through the East Coast Hockey League and American Hockey League to make the Ranger roster in late 2006 and has become one of the premier shutdown defenseman in the NHL.
This year Girardi made his first All-Star appearance, leads the league in average ice time, is third in blocked shots and sixth among defenseman in hits. Not bad.
Overall, this entire roster is what Ranger fans in the metro area have clamored for over the last decade. They're young – the average age is 27 – they're tough and they have a coach in John Tortorella who has brought the kind of no-nonsense mentality that appeals to New York.
They also have the comfort of knowing that they have relied most heavily on homegrown talent.
Michael Del Zotto, exiled in his sophomore season as a defensive liability, has returned to lead the NHL in plus-minus and has 32 points through 57 games. Ryan McDonagh is a first-unit D-man.
Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards have proven to be the right free-agent additions to this young core to make the Rangers a team ready to win now, despite pundit opinions over the summer.
The Rangers have filled Madison Square Garden this year to 99.9 percent capacity and with their combined road attendance, the Rangers have sold out to 103 percent arena capacity this year – the best in the NHL.
While SportsCenter shoves photos of Jeremy Lin's couch in our face and dedicates 20 minutes to the best Lin pun – Linstigator? Really? – the rest find their own way to enjoy the East's best and the Rangers' best shot at a parade in almost 20 years.
New York's best-kept secret? That is absolutely Linsane.