As one of the oldest teams in North American sports history, the New York Rangers have a rich past. They are one of the NHL’s exclusive Original Six teams. What follows are some of the pivotal moments, players and franchise memories.
How Well Do You Know the Rangers’ History?
Which player won his fifth Stanley Cup ring as a member of the 1994 Rangers’ team?
Esa Tikkanen won four Stanley Cups with the Oilers, before joining the Rangers in a trade deadline deal for Doug Weight during the 1992-93 season. The Helsinki, Finland native had three different stints with the Rangers in the 1990s, tallying a total of 25 goals. The winger was adept at getting under opponents’ skin.
For which game did Mark Messier guarantee a victory?
Down three games to two, Messier “guaranteed” a playoff victory in Game 6 of the semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils. He potted a hat trick in the game and they went on to win the series in seven games. Messier was later nicknamed “The Messiah” by faithful Rangers fans.
Who was the first captain of the Rangers?
Bill Cook wore the ‘C’ from 1926-1937.
Have the Rangers ever come back from a 3-1 games deficit in a seven-game playoff series?
Yes, twice. In 2014, the Blueshirts bounced back with three straight wins to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the playoffs. They won 5-1, 3-1 and 2-1, then got by the Canadiens before losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings. In 2015, the Blueshirts came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Washington Capitals. They won 2-1 in OT, 4-3, and 2-1 in OT in Game 7.
What did Henrik Lundqvist do in the 2013 postseason after the Rangers were down 3-2 in their series against the Washington Capitals?
“The King” posted back-to-back shutouts, stopping 62 shots in the two games, to win the series. He was the epitome of the word ‘clutch.’
Which Ranger boasted the most points in the entire NHL during his first year in the league (1926-27)?
Bill Cook, who came over from the Western league, scored 33 goals and 4 assists for 37 points in 44 games. He helped the Rangers win their division, an unprecedented feat for a first-year team.
Who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994?
Brian Leetch was voted the most valuable player in the playoffs, dominating play on both offense and defense. In 23 playoff games, he scored 11 goals (four that were game-winners) and added 23 assists for an incredible 34 points. He was the first American-born player to ever win the Conn Smythe. The first 29 winners all held Canadian citizenship.
Which Ranger was the first to win both the Hart Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy in the same year?
After six seasons (and two Stanley Cups) with the Canadiens, Buddy O’Connor was traded to the Rangers and played four seasons. In his first season on Broadway, 1947-48, he scored 24 goals and added 36 assists in 60 games, good for second in the league. He won both the Hart Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
Which Blueshirt legend was one of the last goalies to play without a mask?
The ever-popular Eddie Giacomin wore the number 1 from 1965-1976 and was one of the last to put on a mask. The excellent stick-handler won a Vezina Trophy in 1971, played in six All-Star games, and had his number retired by the Rangers in 1989.
Deciding to go with youth, the Rangers placed Giacomin on waivers and he was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings. In his first game back at Madison Square Garden, he was serenaded with thunderous cheers of “Eddie! Eddie!” and was brought to tears. Fans loved him.
Which Rangers great is credited with creating the drop pass?
Bun Cook was the first to intentionally leave the puck behind him for a trailing teammate, a move later termed the drop pass. The backward movement created havoc and confusion for opposing goalies and defensemen, who were so accustomed to forward momentum.
Who scored the double-overtime goal in Game 7 against the Devils in 1994 en route to the Cup?
Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau’s wraparound goal past Marty Brodeur and sent the Rangers on to the Stanley Cup Final.
Who called the game?
Broadcaster Howie Rose’s call of the goal has become legendary. And for good reason. His excitement, energy, and joy were on full display.
Which player was taken in the first round of the 1974 NHL Entry Draft by the Rangers?
Dave Maloney made his NHL debut on Dec. 18, 1974, at the age of 18 years and four months old. At the time, he was the youngest player ever to play for the Rangers. He played 11 seasons with the Rangers, scoring 70 goals and 225 assists, adding 24 points in 48 playoff games. In 1978, he was named the team’s 17th team captain and helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 1984 and retired after one season with them. In 2005, he returned to the Rangers as the team’s radio color commentator.
Which star Rangers player was traded to the Boston Bruins for Phil Esposito in 1975-76?
Center Jean Ratelle, who played alongside Rod Gilbert for more than a decade and scored 336 goals for the Rangers, was part of a multi-player deal that sent him, Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to Boston in exchange for Esposito and Carol Vadnais. Both Ratelle and Esposito continued their excellent play for their new teams.
When Adam Graves scored 52 goals in 1993-94, setting a team single-season record, whose record of 50 goals did he break? Who later broke that with 54 goals?
Graves, a left winger, bested Vic Hadfield’s record of 50 goals that he posted in 1971-72 NHL season. Adam Graves held the goal-scoring record until Jaromir Jagr lit the lamp 54 times in the 2005-06 season.
What was the Rangers’ worst season?
The 1943-44 New York Rangers recorded only 17 points. They went 6-39-5 in the 50-game season. They scored just 162 goals and allowed a whopping 310–meaning they lost every game by an average score of 6 to 3. Yikes.
Who is the oldest Rangers goalie to ever play in a Stanley Cup Final?
At the ripe old age of 44 years, three months and nine days, Lester Patrick played goal for the Rangers during a 1928 Stanley Cup Final game against the Montreal Maroons. Patrick, the Rangers’ coach and general manager, inserted himself into the game when starting goalie Lorne Chabot was struck in the eye by a puck in the second period.
Back then, teams rarely had a backup goaltender. The opposing team’s coach had to allow a substitute. The Maroons’ coach, Eddie Gerard, refused two possible fill-ins, so Patrick took matters into his own hands. He allowed one goal on 19 shots, leading the Rangers to an overtime victory. Joe Miller filled in for Chabot for the next three games and they won the Stanley Cup.
Though you can never say records will never be broken, this one, for the oldest goalie to play in a Stanley Cup Final, will never be broken.
When did Glen Sather become President and General Manager of the Rangers?
After 21 years as the GM of the Edmonton Oilers, Sather came to New York in 2000.
What has been handed out in the locker room to the player of the night since 2011?
The Broadway Hat, a tradition started in 2011, has been given to the Rangers’ best player after each victory by the previous winner. It’s worn for postgame interviews and nowhere else. It even has its own Facebook and Twitter pages.
The tradition dates back to 2011, when the Rangers played a preseason game against the Florida Panthers in Sweden. They celebrated after their 4-2 win and wound up at a local bar where a woman was wearing the stylish hat. Brad Richards eventually bought it from her. It’s replaced with a new hat every season and is believed to bring good luck.
Who is the only player to lead two different franchises to Stanley Cup Titles?
Mark Messier raised the Cup as captain of both the Edmonton Oilers and the Rangers. He took over for Wayne Gretzky, who was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, in 1988 and led the Oilers to victory in 1990. Messier then joined the Rangers a year later, convinced he could end their Cup drought. Sure enough, he did in 1994.
How many Rangers players have won the Art Ross scoring title?
Though three Rangers have led the NHL in scoring, none of them came during the Art Ross Trophy era, which began in 1947-48. So, technically speaking, the answer is none. However, Andy Bathgate almost became the first in 1961-62. He and Bobby Hull were tied with 84 points after the 70-game season. Hull was awarded the Art Ross Trophy on a tiebreaker–he had 50 goals, compared to Bathgate’s 28. The kicker to the story is that Bathgate was awarded an assist in a game in which he knew he never touched the puck on the play. Because he felt he didn’t earn the assist, he informed the league and they removed it. That honesty cost him a league scoring title.
What two players have their No. 9 sweaters hanging from the rafters at Madison Square Garden?
In early February of 2009, Adam Graves was the first to have his number 9 retired in a ceremony at MSG. Later that same month, Andy Bathgate’s number 9 was also raised to the rafters.
Who was the last to wear No. 9 for the Rangers?
Oddly, neither Graves nor Bathgate were the last to wear the number nine. Pavel Bure was the last to donne the number nine jersey. When Bure joined the Rangers in 2002, his usual number 10 was being worn by Sandy McCarthy. Instead of asking for the number, Bure called Graves respectfully asking him if he could wear the number 9. In a classy gesture, Graves allowed it.
Bure played a total of 51 games for the Rangers. It’s a little bit of trivia for such a sacred number in the Rangers’ history.
Which team defeated the Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final?
The Los Angeles Kings bested the Blueshirts in five games.
What 1967 expansion team defeated the Rangers in the 1973-74 playoff semifinals?
The Philadelphia Flyers dispatched the Rangers. It marked the first time an Original Six team lost a playoff series to a 1967 expansion team. The league doubled in size in 1967-68, adding the Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, California Golden Seals, and St. Louis Blues.
Which Ranger goalie was the last in the league to wear a mask?
Lorne John “Gump” Worsley. He played for the Rangers from 1952-1963 and was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 1980.
What team did the Rangers defeat to win the Stanley Cup in 1940?
The Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to two. It was their third Stanley Cup.
Who has the best regular-season winning percentage as a head coach of the Rangers?
In the 1993-94 season, Mike Keenan coached the team to a 52-24-8 record (a .667 win percentage) and a Presidents’ Trophy. He also won the Stanley Cup that year. The next best is Emile Francis, who coached from 1969-1973. His record was 201-88-54 for a .665 win percentage. It then drops off to John Tortorella who had a .589 win percentage.
Who has the most wins as a head coach of the Rangers?
Lester Patrick coached the team from 1926-1939. His career record with the Rangers is 281-216-107. The only other coaches with more than 200 wins are Emile Francis, who coached from 1969-1973, and Alain Vigneault, who was bench boss from 2013-2018.
So, How’d You Do?
Did you get a bunch right? Did you know more than you thought? Regardless, we hope you had some fun and learned a few things along the way.
Jeff has been covering the NHL for over a decade for various sites. He’s been with The Hockey Writers as a lead Sabres writer three years, while also writing a satire column called “Off the Crossbar.”