NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
TORONTO -- Properly analyzing what it means to be the team that has come close to winning the Stanley Cup two years in a row can be a difficult exercise.
One the one hand, you're close, which is better than the alternative, so that's good. On the other, close is never good enough when you're on a team that is good, has high expectations and doesn't raise the ultimate prize at the end of a long, taxing journey.
The New York Rangers have been the team that has epitomized close the past two years.
They went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 but lost in five games to the Los Angeles Kings. They had Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at home last season but lost 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It's all left a funny and yet sort of unsure feeling with captain Ryan McDonagh.
"It's better to say that you're there, that you know what you're capable of, and you know you have that opportunity with this group that we have," McDonagh said. "But it's frustrating."
How close the Rangers have gotten the past two seasons only to fall short of the ultimate goal led to some deep thoughts during the summer about the state of the team, the window of opportunity with the current core and what needs to be done to get over the hump.