Saturday, October 20, 2007

The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York, New York, U.S.A. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Playing their home games at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers are one of the oldest teams in the NHL, and are part of the group of teams referred to as the Original Six. The Rangers have won the Stanley Cup four times.

Franchise history
In 1925, the New York Americans joined the National Hockey League, playing in Madison Square Garden. The Amerks proved to be an even greater success than expected, leading Garden president Tex Rickard to go after a team for the Garden despite promising the Amerks that they would be the only hockey team to play there.
Rickard was granted a franchise, which he originally planned to name the New York Giants. However, the New York press soon nicknamed his team "Tex's Rangers", and the new name stuck. Rickard managed to get future legendary Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe to assemble the team. However, Smythe had a falling-out with Rickard's hockey man, Col. John S. Hammond, and was fired as manager-coach on the eve of the first season — he was paid a then-hefty $2500 to leave the Big Apple. Smythe was replaced by Pacific Coast Hockey Association co-founder Lester Patrick, but kept all of the players Smythe had assembled. The new team turned out to be a winner. The Rangers won the American Division title their first year but lost to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs. To this day, these Rangers were one of the most successful teams in the history of the NHL. The team's early success led to players becoming minor celebrities and fixtures in New York City's Roaring 20's nightlife.

Early years
In only their second season, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Maroons three games to two. One of the most memorable stories that emerged from the Finals involved Patrick suiting up in goal at the ripe age of 44. At the time, teams were not required to dress a backup goaltender so when the Rangers' regular goaltender, Lorne Chabot, went down with an eye injury, Maroons head coach Eddie Gerard vetoed his original choice for a replacement (who was Alex Connell, another NHL goalie of the old Ottawa Senators, who was in attendance for the game). An angry Patrick lined up between the pipes for two periods in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals, allowing one goal to Maroons' center Nels Stewart. Frank Boucher would score the game-winner in overtime to seal victory for New York. An expansion team would not come this far this fast in North American professional sports until the Philadelphia Atoms won the North American Soccer League title in their first year of existence.

1927-28 Stanley Cup
After a loss to the Bruins in the 1928-29 finals and a few mediocre seasons in the early 1930s, the Rangers, led by brothers Bill and Bun Cook on the right and left wings, respectively, and Frank Boucher at center, would defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1932-33 best-of-five finals, three games to one, to win their second Stanley Cup, exacting revenge on the Leafs' "Kid line" of Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau, and Charlie Conacher. The Rangers would spend the rest of the 1930s playing close to .500 hockey until their next Cup win. Lester Patrick stepped down as Head Coach and handed the reins to Frank Boucher.

1932-33 Stanley Cup
In 1939-40, the Rangers finished the regular season in second place behind the Boston Bruins. The two teams would square off in the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins gained a two-games-to-one series lead from the Rangers until they stormed back winning three straight games to hold off the first-place Bruins. The Rangers eventually won the best-of-seven series, four games to two. Their first-round victory gave the Rangers a bye until the finals. The Detroit Red Wings disposed of the New York Americans in their first round best-of-three series two games to one (even as the Americans had analytical and notorious ex-Bruins star Eddie Shore) and the Toronto Maple Leafs ousted the Chicago Black Hawks two games to none. The Maple Leafs and Red Wings would play a best-of-three series to determine who would go on to play the Rangers in the Cup finals. The Maple Leafs swept the Red Wings and the Finals match-up was determined. The 1939-40 Stanley Cup Finals started in Madison Square Garden in New York. The first two games went to the Rangers. In game one the Rangers needed overtime to gain a 1-0 series lead and won game two quite handily with a 6-2 victory. The series then headed north to Toronto with the Maple Leafs winning the next two games on home ice, thereby tying the series 2-2. In games five and six the Rangers won both contests in overtime and won the series four games to two over the Maple Leafs to earn their third Stanley Cup.
The Rangers would collapse by the mid-1940s, losing games by as much as 15-0 and having one goaltender with a 6.20 goals-against average. They would miss the playoffs for five consecutive seasons before squeaking into the fourth and final playoff spot in 1948. They lost the first round and would miss the playoffs again in 1949. In the 1950 finals the Rangers were forced to play all of their games on the road (home games in Toronto) while the circus was at the Garden. They would end up losing to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime in the seventh game of the finals, despite a stellar first-round performance as underdogs to the Montreal Canadiens.
During this time, Red Wings owner James E. Norris became the largest stockholder in the Garden. However, he did not buy controlling interest in the arena, which would have violated the NHL's rule against one person owning more than one team. Nonetheless, he had enough support on the board to exercise de facto control.

1939-40 Stanley Cup
The Rangers remained a mark of futility in the NHL for several years, missing the playoffs in 12 of the next 16 years. However, the team was rejuvenated in the late 1960s, symbolized by moving into a newly-rebuilt Madison Square Garden in 1968. A year earlier, they made the playoffs for the first time in five years on the strength of rookie goaltender Eddie Giacomin, and acquired 1950s Montreal Canadiens star right wing Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion.
The Blueshirts made the Finals twice in the 1970s, but lost both times to two '70s powerhouses; the Boston Bruins in 1972, in six games, who were led by such stars as Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, Johnny Bucyk, and Wayne Cashman; and in 1979, in five games to the Habs, who had Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Guy Lapointe, and Serge Savard. This time the Blueshirts had "Espo", but it didn't matter; the Habs looked clearly dominant.
By 1972, the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup finals despite losing high-scoring center Jean Ratelle (who had been on track over Bruin Phil Esposito to become the first Ranger since Bryan Hextall in 1942 to lead the NHL in scoring) to injury during the stretch drive of the regular season. The strength of people like Brad Park, Ratelle, Vic Hadfield, and Rod Gilbert (the last three constructing the famed "GAG line", meaning "goal-a-game") would still carry them through the playoffs. They would defeat the defending champion Canadiens in the first round and the Chicago Blackhawks in the second, but lost to Boston in the finals.
The Rangers played a legendary semifinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1973-74 playoffs. This series was noted for a game seven fight between Dave Schultz of the Flyers and Dale Rolfe of the Rangers. Schultz pummeled Rolfe without anyone on the Rangers lifting a finger to protect him (the GAG line was on the ice at the time). This lead to the belief that the Rangers of that period were soft - especially when taking into account the bullying endured by the Rangers during the 1972 finals. One example is Rod Gilbert's beating at the hands of Derek Sanderson of the Bruins.
Their new rivals, the New York Islanders, who entered the league in 1972 after paying a huge territorial fee — some $4 million — to the Rangers, were their first-round opponent in 1975. After splitting the first two games, the Islanders defeated the more established Rangers, eleven seconds into overtime of the deciding game three, establishing a rivalry that continued to grow for years after.
After some off years in the mid-to-late 1970s, they picked up Esposito and Carol Vadnais from the Bruins for Park, Ratelle and Joe Zanussi in 1975. Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson jumped to the Rangers from the maverick World Hockey Association. And in 1979 they defeated the surging Islanders in the semi-finals and would return to the finals again before bowing out to the Canadiens. The Islanders got their revenge however, eliminating the Rangers in four consecutive playoff series' starting in 1981 en route to their second of four consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
The Rangers stayed competitive through the 1980s and early 1990s, making the playoffs each year except for one but never going very far. An exception was 1985-86, when the Rangers, behind rookie goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, upended the Patrick Division winner Philadelphia Flyers in a decisive fifth game followed by a six-game win over the Washington Capitals in the Patrick Division Finals. Montreal disposed of the Rangers in the Wales Conference Finals behind a rookie goaltender of their own, Patrick Roy. The Blueshirts acquired superstar center Marcel Dionne after almost 12 years as a Los Angeles King the next year. In 1988, Dionne moved into third place in career goals scored (since bettered by Brett Hull). But Dionne's always-churning legs started to slow the next year, thereby ensuring that his goals came further and further apart. "Because you love the game so much, you think it will never end," said Dionne, who spent nine games in the minors before retiring in 1989. He would only played 49 playoff games in 17 seasons with the Rangers, Kings and Detroit Red Wings.
Still, the many playoff failures convinced Rangers fans that this was a manifestation of the Curse of 1940, which is said to either have begun when the Rangers' management burnt the mortgage to Madison Square Garden in the bowl of the Stanley Cup after the 1940 victory, or by Red Dutton following the collapse of the New York Americans franchise. In the early 1980s, Islander fans began chanting "1940! 1940!" to taunt the Rangers. Fans in other cities soon picked up the chant.
Frustration was at its peak when the 1991-92 squad captured the Presidents' Trophy. They took a 2-1 series lead on the defending champ Pittsburgh Penguins and then faltered in three straight (most observers note a Ron Francis slapshot from the blue line that eluded Mike Richter as the series' turning point). The following year a 1-11 finish landed the Rangers in the Patrick Division cellar. Coach Roger Neilson did not finish the season. The off-season hiring of controversial head coach Mike Keenan was criticized by many who pointed out Keenan's 0-3 record in the finals.

The post-Original Six era
The 1993-94 season was a magical one for Rangers fans, as Keenan led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years. Two years prior, they picked up center Mark Messier, who was an integral part of the Edmonton Oilers' Cup-winning teams. Adam Graves, who also defected from the Oilers, joined the Rangers as well. Other ex-Oilers on the Blueshirts included trade deadline acquisitions Craig MacTavish (now Oilers head coach) and Glenn Anderson. Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov were a solid 1-2 punch on defence. In fact, Zubov led the team in scoring that season with 89 points, and continued to be an all-star defenceman throughout his career. Graves would set a team record with 52 goals, breaking the old record of 50 held by Vic Hadfield. This record would later be broken by Jaromir Jagr on April 8, 2006 against the Boston Bruins.
After clinching the Presidents' Trophy by finishing with the best record in the NHL at 52-24-8, setting a franchise record with 112 points, the Rangers were pitted against their division rival, the eighth-seeded Islanders, in the first round of the playoffs. The Islanders proved to be little competition, as they were swept in four games by an aggregate score of 22-3. Rangers goaltender Mike Richter earned a pair of shutouts in the series, while supposed Islander upgrade Ron Hextall had a 5.50 GAA to Richter's 0.75. In the second round, the Washington Capitals were dismissed in five games, which set the stage for a matchup with a third division rival, the New Jersey Devils, in the Conference Finals. Despite a 0-6 regular season record against the Rangers, the Devils took them to a full seven games. The series was highlighted by three dramatic multiple overtime games, in which the Rangers were victorious in two. Stephane Matteau scored both of those overtime goals, the first coming during game three at 6:13 of the second overtime period. However, after the fifth game, the Rangers trailed in the series 3-2, and, facing elimination, captain Mark Messier boldly guaranteed a victory in game six back at the Meadowlands in New Jersey—
The Stanley Cup Finals pitted the Rangers against the upstart Vancouver Canucks who were the seventh seed in the Western Conference. After dropping game one in overtime 3-2, largely due to Canucks' goaltender Kirk McLean's 52-save performance, the Rangers came back to win the next three games to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Rangers lost game five in New York and then Game 6 in Vancouver, forcing another seventh game at Madison Square Garden. There, the Rangers would finally prevail. Goals from Leetch, Graves, and Messier beat Vancouver captain Trevor Linden's pair of markers and sealed the seventh game with a 3-2 victory, clinching the Rangers' first Stanley Cup win in 54 years. Leetch became the first American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, the first non-Canadian to win it, and Messier became the first Ranger captain to hoist the Cup on Garden ice, as well as the first player in NHL history to captain two different teams to a Stanley Cup.

1993-94 Stanley Cup: The Ending of The Curse
Despite having coached the Rangers to a regular season first place finish and the Stanley Cup, head coach Mike Keenan left after a dispute with General Manager Neil Smith. During the 1994-95 lockout shortened season, the Rangers struggled to find their form and lost in the second round of the playofs. They snuck in with the 8th seed and defeated Quebec in the first round, but they were swept by Philadelphia in the 2nd round. Succeeding Rangers coach Colin Campbell orchestrated a deal that sent Sergei Zubov and center Petr Nedved to Pittsburgh in exchange for defenceman Ulf Samuelsson and left winger Luc Robitaille in the summer of 1995.
The Rangers landed an aging Wayne Gretzky in 1996, but even with The Great One, they would fizzle out. Their 1994 stars were aging and many retired or dropped off in performance. Gretzky's greatest accomplishment was leading them to the 1997 Eastern Conference finals, where they lost 4-1 to the Eric Lindros-led Philadelphia Flyers. After General Manager Neil Smith ran Messier, a former Oiler teammate of Gretzky's, out of town in the summer of 1997 and failed in a bid to replace him with Colorado Avalanche superstar Joe Sakic,

1994-2004: expensive acquistions
Towards the end of the 2003-04 season Sather finally gave in to a rebuilding process by trading away Leetch, Kovalev, and eight others for numerous prospects and draft picks. With the retirements of Bure and Messier and Lindros signing with the Maple Leafs, the post-lockout Rangers, under new head coach Tom Renney, moved away from high-priced veterans towards a group of talented young players, such as Petr Prucha, Dominic Moore, and Blair Betts. However, the focus of the team remained on veteran superstar Jaromir Jagr. The Rangers were expected to struggle during the 2005-06 season for their eighth consecutive season out of the postseason. For example, Sports Illustrated declared them the worst team in the league in their season preview,

2005-present: post lockout success
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Rangers. For the full season-by-season history, see New York Rangers seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of May 6, 2007 As of the 2005-06 NHL season, all games will have a winner; the OTL column includes shootout losses.

Season-by-season record

Notable players
As of August 10, 2007. [1]

New York Rangers Current roster


Andy Bathgate, C, 1952-63, inducted 1978
Doug Bentley, LW, 1953-54, inducted 1964
Max Bentley, C, 1953,54, inducted 1966
Frank Boucher, C, 1926-44, inducted 1958
Johnny Bower, G,53-54, inducted 1976
Neil Colville, C, 1936-49, inducted 1967
Bill Cook, RW, 1926-37, inducted 1952
Bun Cook, LW, 1926-36, inducted 1995
Art Coulter, D, 1935-42, inducted 1974
Dick Duff, LW, 1964-65, inducted 2006
Phil Esposito, C, 1975-81, inducted 1984
Marcel Dionne, LW, 1986-89, inducted 1992
Bill Gadsby, D, 1954-61, inducted 1970
Mike Gartner, RW, 1990-94, inducted 2001
Bernie Geoffrion, RW, 1966-68, inducted 1972
Eddie Giacomin, G, 1965-75, inducted 1987
Rod Gilbert, RW, 1960-78, inducted 1982
Wayne Gretzky, C, 1996-99, inducted 1999
Doug Harvey, D, 1961-62, 1963-64, inducted 1973
Bryan Hextall, LW, 1936-48, inducted 1969
Tim Horton, D, 1970-71, inducted 1977
Harry Howell, D, 1952-69, inducted 1979
Bobby Hull, LW, 1981, inducted 1983
Ching Johnson, D, 1926-37, inducted 1958
Jari Kurri, LW, 1996, inducted 2001
Guy Lafleur, RW, 1988-89, inducted 1988
Pat LaFontaine, C, 1997-98, inducted 2003
Edgar Laprade, D, 1945-55, inducted 1993
Harry Lumley, G, 1943, inducted 1980
Mark Messier, C, 1991-1997, 2000-2005, inducted 2007
Howie Morenz, C, 1935-36, inducted 1945
Buddy O'Connor, C, 1947-51, inducted 1988
Brad Park, D, 1968-75, inducted 1988
Lynn Patrick, LW, 1934-43, 1945-46, inducted 1980
Jacques Plante, G, 1963-65, inducted 1978
Babe Pratt, D, 1936-42, inducted 1966
Jean Ratelle, LW, 1960-75, inducted 1985
Chuck Rayner, G, 1945-55, inducted 1973
Glen Sather, LW, 1970-73, inducted 1997
Terry Sawchuk, G, 1969-70, inducted 1971
Babe Siebert, LW, 1932-35, inducted 1964
Earl Siebert, D, 1931-36, inducted 1963
Allan Stanley, D, 1948-54, inducted 1981
Clint Smith, C, 1937-43, inducted 1991
Gump Worsley, G, 1952-63, inducted 1980
Herb Brooks, Coach, 1981-85, inducted 2006
Emile Francis, inducted 1982
William Jennings, inducted 1974
Roger Neilson, Coach, 1989-93, inducted 2002
Craig Patrick, inducted 2001
Lester Patrick, inducted 1945
Lynn Patrick, inducted 1980 Hall-of-Famers

Bill Cook, 1926-37
Art Coulter, 1937-42
Ott Heller, 1942-45
Neil Colville, 1945-49
Buddy O'Connor, 1949-50
Frank Eddolls, 1950-51
Allan Stanley, 1951-53
Don Raleigh, 1953-55
Harry Howell, 1955-57
George Sullivan, 1957-61
Andy Bathgate, 1961-64
Camille Henry, 1964-65
Bob Nevin, 1965-71
Vic Hadfield, 1971-74
Brad Park, 1974-75
Phil Esposito, 1975-78
Dave Maloney, 1978-80
Walt Tkaczuk, 1980-81
Barry Beck, 1981-86
Ron Greschner, 1986-87
Kelly Kisio, 1987-91
Mark Messier, 1991-97
Brian Leetch, 1997-2000
Mark Messier, 2000-05
no captain, 2005-06
Jaromir Jagr, 2006-present New York Rangers Team captains

1963: Al Osborne (4th overall)
1964: Bob Graham (3rd overall)
1965: Andre Veilleux (1st overall)
1966: Brad Park (2nd overall)
1967: Bob Dickson (6th overall)
1968: none
1969: Andre Dupont (8th overall) & Pierre Jarry (12th)
1970: Norm Gratton (11th overall)
1971: Steve Vickers (10th overall) & Steve Durbano (13th)
1972: Al Blanchard (10th overall) & Bob MacMillan (15th)
1973: Rick Middleton (14th overall)
1974: Dave Maloney (14th overall)
1975: Wayne Dillon (12th overall)
1976: Don Murdoch (6th overall)
1977: Lucien DeBlois (8th overall) & Ron Duguay (13th)
1978: none
1979: Doug Sulliman (13th overall)
1980: Jim Malone (14th overall)
1981: James Patrick (9th overall)
1982: Chris Kontos (15th overall)
1983: Dave Gagner (12th overall)
1984: Terry Carkner (14th overall)
1985: Ulf Dahlen (7th overall)
1986: Brian Leetch (9th overall)
1987: Jayson More (10th overall)
1988: none
1989: Steven Rice (20th overall)
1990: Michael Stewart (13th overall)
1991: Alexei Kovalev (15th overall)
1992: Peter Ferraro (24th overall)
1993: Niklas Sundstrom (8th overall)
1994: Dan Cloutier (26th overall)
1995: none
1996: Jeff Brown (22nd overall)
1997: Stefan Cherneski (19th overall)
1998: Manny Malhotra (7th overall)
1999: Pavel Brendl (4th overall) & Jamie Lundmark (9th)
2000: none
2001: Dan Blackburn (10th overall)
2002: none
2003: Hugh Jessiman (12th overall)
2004: Al Montoya (6th overall) & Lauri Korpikoski (19th)
2005: Marc Staal (12th overall)
2006: Bob Sanguinetti (21st overall)
2007: Alexei Cherepanov (17th overall) First-round draft picks

1 Eddie Giacomin, G, 1965-75: Number retired on March 15, 1989
7 Rod Gilbert, RW, 1961-78: Number retired on October 14, 1979
11 Mark Messier, LW/C, 1991-97 & 2000-05: Number retired on January 12, 2006
35 Mike Richter, G, 1989-2003: Number retired on February 4, 2004
99 Wayne Gretzky, C, 1996-99: Number retired league-wide by NHL on February 6, 2000 (No official banner at Madison Square Garden) Retired numbers

Most goals, season - Jaromir Jagr (2005-06) - 54
Most assists, season - Brian Leetch (1991-92) - 80
Most points, season - Jaromir Jagr (2005-06) - 123
Most points (defenseman), season - Brian Leetch (1991-92) - 102
Most points (rookie), season - Mark Pavelich (1981-82) - 76
Most power play goals, season - Jaromir Jagr (2005-06) - 24
Most game-winning goals, season - Jaromir Jagr (2005-06), Mark Messier (1996-1997) and Don Murdoch (1980-1981) - 9
Most shots on goal, season - Jaromir Jagr (2005-06) - 368
Most Penalty Minutes, season - Troy Mallette (1989-90) - 305
Most wins by goaltender, season - Mike Richter (1993-94) - 42
Most wins by rookie goaltender, season - Henrik Lundqvist (2005-06) - 30 Team records

For more details on this topic, see New York Rangers Records. Franchise scoring leaders
The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Rangers team and its players:
John Davidson: 2003-04
Jean Ratelle: 1971-72
Mark Messier: 1991-92
Jaromir Jagr: 2005-06
Michal Rozsival: 2005-06 (shared with Wade Redden of the Ottawa Senators)
Dave Kerr: 1939-40
Eddie Giacomin & Gilles Villemure: 1970-71
John Vanbiesbrouck: 1985-86 See also

No comments: