On May 27th, 1994, I had to move out of college. I had graduated the Saturday before and it was time to leave. I planned a drive to get down to my future wife’s house in Westchester that would get me there for game time, but fate wouldn’t let me. A prisoner escaped from Sing Sing that night and they shut the Tappan Zee Bridge. I ended up on a remote stretch of I87 listening to a crackling radio through two OT’s. I remember Howie Rose’s radio call has become a staple in New York, but few remember what came after he shouted “Matteau” multiple times. He followed it with “And the Rangers have one more hill to climb baby!”
It took twenty years, but the Rangers are facing one more hill to climb again. Those twenty years haven’t been easy. There was the lockout immediately following the 1994 win. There was the 1997 trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, but then things went really downhill. Messier left for Vancouver, the Rangers missed the playoffs for seven-straight years and hockey wiped out an entire season.
And when hockey resumed in 2005 the Rangers had a new guy between the pipes, Henrik Lundqvist. Mike Richter was a wonderful goalie, but Lundqvist is better. For nine seasons he has been the backbone of this team and now they will need him to carry them across the finish line. It’s going to be a brutal matchup, whichever team prevails in the West. I can’t wait for Wednesday night.
We want the Cup!