In a special ceremony, the New York Rangers commemorated the 25th anniversary of their Stanley Cup team, captained by Hall of Fame center Mark Messier.
The 1993-94 Rangers ended a 54-year drought by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time before World War II.
Prior to a home game at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, the Rangers honored the 1993-94 team. Members were honored by the franchise and fans. The festive night included a short video that MSG played for everyone in attendance.
The video tribute to the #NYR 1994 Championship Team that played @TheGarden for tonight’s celebration presented by @Chase. pic.twitter.com/KZIoSOfexm
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 8, 2019
No More 1940 Chants
The Stanley Cup win in 1994 silenced opposing fans, particularly the fanbase from the New York Islanders. During the 1970s, the Islanders were the best hockey team in the NHL. They dominated their rivals playing at MSG.
Islanders fans at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island originated the howling “1940! 1940! 1940!” chant, which reminded the Rangers the last time they won the Stanley Cup.
The Guarantee by Messier
Several moments in New York sports history define a player. Babe Ruth from the Bronx Bombers supposedly called a home run at Wrigley Field during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.
Joe Namath, flamboyant quarterback of the New York Jets, guaranteed a win for the underdog Jets in Super Bowl III. The Baltimore Colts, led by Johnny Unitas, were 18-point favorites. Namath led the Jets to a 16-7 upset victory.
Mark Messier seized his moment in 1994. The Rangers were down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals against the New Jersey Devils. With the Rangers on the brink of elimination, Messier guaranteed a win in Game 6. The captain scored a hat trick and the Rangers won the game to even the series 3-3.
“There was no escaping the pressure of 1940,” said Messier. “Coming here and understanding what the Original Six franchise was and this history, there was no escaping it. The pressure was real, from the fans, the organization.”
The Rangers won Game 7 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks to win the Cup and end the curse.
King Henrik at MSG
These days, the Rangers are nowhere as dominant as they once were. The Rangers (22-23-8) were the worst team in the Metropolitan Division last season. They are the second-worst team this season.
The Rangers always had outstanding goalies from Mike Richter to John Davidson. They currently have one of the best goalies in the league with Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist, 36, is playing in his 14th season in the NHL. He had 30 wins in 11 out of his first 13 seasons. King Henrik also boasts a career 91.9 percent save percentage.
Lundqvist got hot during the 2014 playoffs and guided the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers lost to the LA Kings in six games. That was the closest they got to winning a Cup since 1994.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Rangers play their home games at Madison Square Garden, dubbed “the most famous arena in the world.” The Rangers share MSG with the New York Knicks, the most valuable franchise in the NBA. Forbes valued the Knicks at $4 billion. Billionaire James Dolan owns both the Rangers and Knicks. He hinted that the Knicks were on sale for $5 billion.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the New York Rangers are 300/1 longshots to win the Cup this year. The Tampa Bay Lighting are the big favorites on the board at 3/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup.