No. 63: New York Rangers

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 1:15 PM ET
By Jeff Gold | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 85
Title track: 38
Ownership: 66
Coaching: 16
Players: 15
Fan relations: 31
Affordability: 117
Stadium experience: 57
Bang for the buck: 58

The Rangers have been a model of consistency in the franchise rankings: consistently awful. This year, they've entered into respectability with their highest score ever at 63, just above the midway point. It's almost exclusively the result of an excellent season, in which they had the best record in the Eastern Conference and made it to the conference finals. Fans believe in a talented young roster that since last year has been augmented with five-time All-Star forward Rick Nash. Supporters also have faith in coach John Tortorella, whose confrontational style can drive the media crazy at times but doesn't impact the faithful. Going to MSG is still a sore spot, however. The average ticket price of $66.20 is one of the highest in the league. The experience has improved, at least, as MSG is in the midst of a three-part renovation. Phase 1, which was completed before last year, focused on the lower part of the arena. Phase 2, a renovation to the upper bowl, will be finished before the 2012 season. The third part will take place next summer with new bridges above the playing surface. The Rangers just hope fans will be able to get an even closer look at a new banner.