This is one of the most memorable dates on Broadway and it has nothing to do with a musical. Hockey fans in the Big Apple waited 54 seasons for the moment that happened back on this date in 1994. Also, the National Hockey League officially expanded into the Sunshine State.
Rangers End Their Drought
June 14, 1994, is a date that will live in the hearts of the New York Rangers fans until the end of time. This was the day in which the Rangers ended their 54-year championship drought by beating the Vancouver Canucks 3-2, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The home crowd at Madison Square Garden had plenty to cheer about early as Brian Leetch and Adam Graves put the Rangers up 2-0 after a period of play. Trevor Linden got the Canucks on the board with a shorthanded goal early in the second period, but Mark Messier gets that one back while on the power play later in the frame. Linden scored again, early in the third period, but it wasn’t enough as the Rangers held on for the historic victory.
“It was an amazing feeling to see generations of fans that finally got to see the Stanley Cup in New York and on Madison Square Garden ice,” Messier said about the Game 7 win. “It was a lifelong dream for many fans, a lifelong dream for many people in the organization, and a lot of the players as well. I don’t think words can describe what happened and the feeling that transpired because of that win, many years later. To this day, we’re all very appreciative of the efforts from all the people – not only the players but the organization, all the way through – that made that championship possible.”
Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch was given the Conn Smythe Trophy for being named the most valuable player of the postseason. He had 11 goals, 34 points and a plus-19 rating in 23 games to become the first U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe.
In the losing effort, Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean set an NHL record for most minutes played in one playoff year, with 1,543:45. He broke Ron Hextall’s record of 1542:22, set with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987. His mark currently sits fourth all-time. Miikka Kiprusoff now holds the record after playing a total of 1,655:00 for the Calgary Flames in 2004.
A Shorthanded First
The Edmonton Oilers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime, on June 14, 2006, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Fernando Pisani started his big night by putting the Oilers up 1-0 just 16 seconds into the game. After Eric Staal and Ray Whitney scored for the Hurricanes, Ales Hemsky and Michael Peca answered late in the first period to give Edmonton a 3-2. Staal scored the final goal of regulation goal midway through the second period to tie the game.
Pisani won the game for the Oilers with a shorthanded goal 3:31 into overtime to avoid elimination and force a Game 6.
He became the first player to ever score a shorthanded goal in overtime of the Final. With his goal in the first period, he was only the second player to ever score in the first minute and overtime of a Final game. Sid Smith was the first player to do so for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1951.
A Big Day in Florida
On June 14, 1993, the NHL officially granted the Miami area a franchise and thus the Florida Panthers were officially born. The team began play the following season and made their NHL debut on Oct. 6, 1993, with a 4-4 tie at the Chicago Blackhawks. They made their home debut at the Miami Arena, on Oct. 12, 1993, with a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Exactly one year later, on June 14, 1994, Bobby Clarke returned to the Flyers as general manager, president and part-owner. Clarke had served as the Panthers’ first general manager for the previous year.
Odds & Ends
On June 14, 1945, the NHLs’ Board of Governors turned down an application for a franchise in Philadelphia that would begin in the 1946-47 season. Philadelphia, who had a team during the 1930-31 season, remained without representation until 1967 when the Flyers joined the league.
The Blackhawks named Ebbie Goodfellow as their new head coach, on June 14, 1950, replacing Charlie Conacher. He won just 30 games in his seasons behind the bench in Chicago.
Most people remember Glen Sather for his days as a very successful head coach and general manager for the Oilers and Rangers. However, he enjoyed a long playing career that spanned 10 seasons. On June 14, 1974, he was traded by the St. Louis Blues to the Montreal Canadiens to complete a deal made a few weeks earlier that sent Rick Wilson the other way.
The NHL Amateur Draft took place on June 14, 1977, in Montreal. The Detroit Red Wings used the first overall pick to select center Dale McCourt. He scored 134 goals and 337 points in 341 games with the Red Wings.
Other notable picks from that draft include Doug Wilson (6th, Blackhawks), John Anderson (11th, Maple Leafs), Mike Bossy (15th, New York Islanders), John Tonelli (33rd, Islanders), Rod Langway (36th, Canadiens), Gordie Roberts (54th, Canadiens), Greg Millen (102nd, Penguins) and Pete Peeters (135th, Flyers).
On June 14, 1978, the Flyers traded Tom Bladon, Ross Lonsberry, and Orest Kindrachuk to the Penguins, in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 1978 NHL Amateur draft. They used that pick (6th overall) to select defenseman Behn Wilson. His best season in Philadelphia came in 1980-81 when he scored 16 goals and 63 points and had a plus-41 rating in 77 games. He was traded to the Blackhawks following the 1982-83 season.
Three years before meeting in the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins and Minnesota North Stars both made coaching moves on June 14, 1988. Penguins fired head coach Pierre Creamer after one year with the team, in which they finished with a record of 36-35-9, but missed the playoffs. Gene Ubriaco was later hired to replace him.
The North Stars fired head coach Herb Brooks after a one-year stint with the team, where he finished 19-48-13. They also named Jack Ferreira as their new general manager, replacing Lou Nanne.
The Los Angeles Kings named Andy Murray as their new head coach on June 14, 1999. He replaced Larry Robinson, who was fired following the 1998-99 season. He would win 215 games with the Kings before being let go late in the 2005-06 season.
On June 14, 2001, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest class for induction. Viacheslav Fetisov, Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk and Jari Kurri all made it in as players.
Craig Patrick, who was an assistant coach for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. hockey team and the former general manager of the Penguins, was voted in as a builder.
Happy Birthday to You
An impressive group of 26 current and former NHL players were born on this date. The most notable names from the list are James Patrick (57), Eric Dejardins (51), Sami Kapanen (47), Ryan Johnson (44), Steve Begin (42), Matt Read (34), Andrew Cogliano (33), Devante Smith-Pelly (28), Eric Robinson (25) and the late Jack Adams, Hap Day, Johnny Wilson and Parker MacDonald.