In their annual fan base rankings The State of Hockey News says Ranger fans are ranked #12 down 5 spots from last year...
#12 - New York Rangers - 15.5
Pct. of Capacity in 2008-09: 99.8% (18,172, 12th in the NHL)
Online Presence: 5.5
Last Year's ranking: 7th
Justification: The Rangers will always have a distinctive advantage of being NYC's #1 team regardless of where it finishes in the standings. If you ever watch the NHL Network's "NHL Live" program New York Rangers fans are always quick to call in to offer their thoughts to the lucky guys (sometimes gals) working the show. New Yorkers are tough on their teams but they're immensely loyal and that is certainly the case for the Rangers as well. However there are signs that some of that strength is eroding slightly. The Rangers lately have basically been just good enough to get to the playoffs only to be bounced in the 1st round and the fans clearly have much higher expectations and do not have a whole lot of faith in General Manager Glen Sather. For the first time in a while the Rangers failed to average a sellout for the season and that should set off some alarm bells even though the difference is quite small. It could a prelude to a more notable drop if the team does not show some definite progress and with Sather hedging his playoff hopes on the wonky groin of the often injured Marian Gaborik it does not provide a wide margin of error.
...the Ranger fan base should be #1 for having to deal with Sather and the Dolans. The Dolans are the single reason for the Rangers not averaging a sellout for the season last year as they've priced out the average fan. The Rangers organization has become a money making enterprise for the Dolans not entertainment for the fans. It's a shame because New York is a great hockey city and the Rangers fan base should be in the top 5 of this list every year. But with the economy where it is and the Dolans more worried about the bottom line, the real Ranger fans are starting to stay away from the World's Most Famous Arena. Which is obviously hurting our reputation as a great hockey fan base.