Memorial Day, and memories


First of all, I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day and remember what it is about. It’s not just a three-day weekend. It’s about remembering those who sacrificed so much for us.

Second, a memory … and it’s just a coincidence that it falls on Memorial Day, and I’m certainly not suggesting we recall it because of the holiday.

Today is the 15th anniversary of Mark Messier’s greatest game as a Ranger, Game 6 of the Eastern final against the Devils, when he guaranteed victory and delivered a hat trick and an assist in a 4-2 win that evened the series and forced a Game 7 … and you know the rest.

For those who need a reminder, click here.

A few things I like to recall about that game. First, Messier never said “I guarantee” or anything like that. He said “We will win the game.”

Second, he did not say, as the famous Post headline blared, “We will win tonight” because he said it the day before the game. He would have had to say “We will win tomorrow.” But he didn’t.

Third, when he said it, it didn’t sound at all like it sounds in retrospect. A few of the writers actually looked at each other in the crowd around Messier’s locker at Rye Playland rink and asked, “Did he just say that?” It was so benign the way he said it that none of the local TV stations even used the supposed “guarantee” that night. It wasn’t a big deal until the newspapers came out the next day.

Fourth, the Rangers sure weren’t inspired at the start of Game 6. Indeed, they were awful. And when Mike Keenan called a timeout and just stared at them and let them know he was angry — he had already had a meltdown, benching players in the previous game — the Rangers got even worse when play resumed. A lot of the credit for the turnaround goes to Keenan putting Alexei Kovalev on Messier’s wing, and deservedly so. But the guys who really made it all happen were Mike Richter, who held off the Devils’ bombardment, and Brian Leetch, who was unbelievably good in that game.

Fifth, this may not have been the best game of Messier’s career. His most memorable game to that point, which may have been better, was Game 4 in Chicago Stadium in 1990, when he was as mean and nasty as anybody has ever been, and offensively dominant with his speed and skill, in a must-win game during the Oilers’ Stanley Cup run post-Gretzky. Keenan, who was the Blackhawks coach at the time, told me later that he knew his team was finished after seeing the look in Messier’s eyes as he sat in the arena during the morning skate.


Non-hockey-related, I wrote a Memorial Day column for The Journal News and about a local high school coach who inspired after losing her fiance in a mortar attack in Iraq. You can see it here.

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  1. i hate to be FIRST! :P


    * CCCP
    May 25th, 2009 at 10:48 am
    i had a dream last night that when i wake up i will come here to read fresh news. well, i am here… :P


    its funny how as soon as i posted that Carp made a new post. thank you Carp for completing my dream! lol

  2. Let’s get a group together next weekend and hit up Warren 77. I am due for a trip in to the city. Anyone interested? Why not give it a shot?

  3. btw- Warren 77 is an excellent bar. I was there Friday and Sat. nights. Watched some playoff hockey, good food, some good old time NYR memorabilia without being over the top, giant autographed picture of Avery scoring on Brodeur above the bar. (not sure if this has been posted on other threads so sorry to be repetitive if so)

  4. nasty- dunno if you saw 2 blog posts ago my reply to you.

    warren 77 was good. im goin back next saturda. the molson was legit.

  5. jrg
    hahaha i guess i should have read all the comments.

    yo i was there sat night. you see the guy in the reynolds wrap gold lookin shirt? crazy man stealin peoples drinks, lol. that was after the kitchen closed tho.

  6. Certainly this was a great moment in NY Sports history Messier’s “Called Shot” but what I remember most was four Devil fans who were wearing 1 9 4 0 shirts and how giddy they were when the Rangers came out flat. After Messier had taken care of business they panned back to those same bozo’s and they looked like they were ready for the rubber room they were so depressed. I think that rated in one of my top 10 gloating moments as a Ranger fan seeing those 1940 fools devastated.

    Orr vs Boulton 64 Punches (1:17) 10/30/08

  7. Carp,

    Great point about how bad they were in that game at first. My memory of it was me sitting with a friend in a bar and turning around saying to him “I can’t watch this team blow it again… it’ll kill me.” Once they started actually playing my friend said “You need to turn back around and watch this.” I’m glad I did.

  8. onerangerlove- i have plenty of ranger related dreams, but none are ever good. its always us losing.

  9. If I remember it correctly – what he actually said was in response to a question about it being an elimination game. Something like “We know we can win it, we have to win it, and we will win it.”

    But since Carp you were there and I most certainly was not I might be “Mis-remembering” it.

  10. wish i was there id go to averys club. thats cool that hes got a pic of him scoring on brodeur!! averys awesome!

  11. well, of course they will try to make something huge out of a downplayed statement, but whether he said it one way or another, we all know what the hell he said to the guys in the lockerroom. and he got it done. mess was “clutch”!!!

  12. as far as the playoffs, its not as exciting as it should be. thats all because in each series, the 2 teams that are playin arent on the same level. youd have to think it was pretty convenient for the pens to play the canes. its very onesided in the games for the most part, with the one exception of game 3 at chicago. i have no idea how the canes ever advanced this far. alot of it truly is luck. but to have the same two teams playin in the finals, and we know its already set to play out that way, is very anticlimactic, unless youre a fan of those 2 teams. its kinda cool in a way, all the story lines of last year, plus the hossa thing will all be fun to watch, and ya just have a feelin pitts is gonna do it this year. as much as i hate crosby, i like alot of the other guys on the pens, and ya gotta admit that crosby and malkin are killin it this year. even their goalie and d are playin preety good. wait to they seee the red army again though. it will be a great series despite my dislike of both teams. really wish the hawks were gonna be in it, but ya know detroit has a better chance of beating the pens

  13. and how bout the utter collapse of baby huet in game 4. he just flat out sucks. hes as bad as threeotrmore. well, almost. huet actually got scored on by goal scorers, threeormore got scored 4 times on by us!!! now thats sad. i wonder what the hawksare gonna do with their goalie situation. promote crawford and trade or release huet. khabbys gettin old so ya gotta try maybe 1 more year with him.

  14. Thanks brother we need something to keep us going during the off season. Ranger Report and Orr fights do the trick for me.

  15. Most Clutch Leaders/Winners In The History Of The Universe List:

    1. Christopher Drury
    2. Mark Messier
    3. Everyone Else

    CLUTCH: Pitching a complete game in the Little League World Series FINALS!

    not as clutch: Ambiguous “guarantee” in some random playoff game.

    CLUTCH: Scoring a goal with a broken hand in the 1st Round! What guts! What a hero!

    not as clutch: CHOKING away a 3-1 lead in the Finals vs. Vancouver! Captain Choke! LOL! Messier even took credit for someone else’s goal in Game 7! Not a leader!

    If Carp had to update a blog with the anniversaries of all my CLUTCH playoff goals and CLUTCH playoff moments it would become his second full-time job! Ha-Ha! 7.7 seconds baby!!! And all those other unforgettable Captain Clutch moments too! Like the time…uh…….wow too many to list! Or even remember!

    Captain Clutch update: I’m on the golf course right now! -3 through 7 holes! Much better than -3 in 7 minutes vs. Washington! Ha-Ha!

    Cookout at Redden’s tonight! Clutchmobile is waxed and shining!!! Can you believe they’re STILL playing hockey games right now?? Talk about spoiling a great offseason and this amazing weather! Best offseason ever!

  16. drinkin me some hot damn!!!! got the family over and theyre all eatin chicken n pizza. me, i gotta be smashed before i can eat iowa pizza. go hawkeyes!!! lol

  17. Chris Drury, my fingers are getting tired just thinking about typing up all your clutch goals.

    With a guy like Messier, it’s easy. You pick Game 6 in ’94 or Game 4 in Chicago in ’90, or the series-turning, dynasty-ending/dynasty-starting goal he scored against Potvin and Smith in ’84.

    But with Capt. Clutch, whew, where to begin?

  18. ok, sorry this is long, but this from the rangers tribune. its a rumour trade between toronto and rangers from yesterday

    Trade Speculation: Rangers and Leafs
    A rumor came out of TSN today, as hockey insider Darren Dreger reported that Glen Sather has laid out an offer to the Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, Brian Burke. The offer supposedly looks like this:

    To Rangers:
    Tomas Kaberle
    7th Overall Pick in 2009 Draft
    Anton Stralman

    To Leafs:
    Wade Redden
    Marc Staal
    Brandon Dubinsky

    I know your first thought was alarming being that Staal’s name was involved in that trade, but you must take several things into consideration before you automatically say NO to this deal. First of all, we get rid of the disgusting Redden contract, you gain Tomas Kaberle, who is much better than Redden, and is only paid 4.25 million. Now yes, we would lose Marc Staal, and yes he will develop into an ALL-Star, BUT, we would gain that 7th overall pick, which could very well replace Staal, maybe even get us someone better. We would lose Dubinsky and get Stralman, who is decent, but not as valuable as Dubi.

    Now that I laid the deal out or you, this is what we could potentially do after that. First we could draft a star destined d-man such as Cowen with the seventh overall, than we could trade our second pick in the first round for a player that is on a team with cap troubles. And finally we would have a great amount of Cap Space to cash in during free agency, like maybe getting Hossa or someone.

    In totality, this would be a great deal for us, and we would benefit in many ways. Yes, it would be sad to Staalsy go, but as I said, we could easily replace him in the draft. All of that said, this is just a rumor, and has not been confirmed by the Rangers or the Leafs.
    (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

  19. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    Messier was so dicouraged after the loss he was asked how thet would do in game 6 the next day. Messier knew if the Ranger were gonna get to the finals they MUST win game 6 …Messier stated that the Ranger wont lose the next game , then game seven would be a free for all….Matteauuuuu Matteeauuu!!!

    I remember that time and will always . I sat and watched all the Rangers games that playoff year untill 1 day best friend wanted me to attend his debut in a ball hockey game and he was the goalie . He wanted me to come soooo bad and all I said is …Rangers buddy , sorry , I can’t ..he said run a tape to record the rest and look the Rangers are losing game 6 anyways…I looked at the score and my heart was soooo emotional wiped and said “ok , sure ” …as I came home and played back the game ( I heard the score at the ball game )…I found out I missed the greatest game Messier ever played and all I knew was NOTHING was tearing me from game 7 …Matteauuuuuuu!!!! I also replayed the game a few time to see exactly how it all went down .

  20. Tom Foolery on

    Game is on ESPN classic right now. I forgot just how bad the Rangers were in the first period

  21. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    Mike in ia …..absolutely sick , discusting , it’s stuiped and down right retarded and not to mention it is the most absurd thing ive ever heard in a longg longgg longgg time
    Dubinsky goes too!!??? omg that would be the stuipidest move!!! He our future Captain ….for a crap shoot at the draft with Sather running the show!!!!!!??? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahah LMAO!!!

    I know it’s just a rumour mike so no offense to you.

  22. greg- i didnt write the comments after the trade proposal. so, just so you know, i dont like the trade. the only thing i like about it, is redden going in the deal. i could live with a redden, and dubinsky deal for that. id miss doobs, but kaberle for redden and a 7th pick for doobs would be ok. not staal though. i hope sather wasnt seriously considering doing this.

  23. Tom Foolery on

    In some ways this game seems like it just happened yesterday and in other ways it seems like a lifetime ago

  24. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    yeah , I know Mike the deal is bad because we give up two players who have proven they can play well at the NHL level. If we don’t want Redden and want a 7th round draft pick …easy…keep Dubinsky ( make him Captain) and Staalsie , dump Redden to the minors and who ever else is too pricey. Take the hit , maybe miss the playoffs and scooop up a 5th overall , instead of a we dont lose out youth , yet get a good pick. Maybe we should have done this last year but who knows , when ya got Hank and some good young players…we may always make the playoffs and never get a solid draft pick …either way we can win!!!

  25. kovalev was the real hero in this game in my opinion. anyone saying zherdev gets a pass because his first playoffs should just watch this game and see what a first year player can do in the playoffs. kovalev was a force that whole playoffs (and still usually is in the post-season)

  26. wow watching this game i see about 10 plays that wouldve been called penalties in the new nhl. isnt it great to see the game be decided by the players

  27. Tom Foolery on

    Mike, I was thinking the same thing. There was an amazing amount of “obstruction” going on in this game.

  28. yea kovy was awesome that year for us. f zherdev and his “1st” playoff experience. i like the guy, but yea, that whole theory is put to rest watching kovy in 94. after watchin this game, it makes me even more pissed at z, drury, gomer, redden… the list goes on.

  29. lol tom theyre just all out battling in this game. lots of stuff bein able to go without stupid penalties. just think how sissy crosby wouldve handled playing in the league with mess and graves on him with no weak calls goin his way all the time.

    and theres the hat trick!! i even loved neil smith back then!

  30. ha look at kovys big smilin face!!! we need some real players on this team sather!!!

  31. i like the commentary too. imagine the bs we wouldve heard if beninati called this game!! id kill myself

  32. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    goalies could be average back then because the defensemen were allowed to hold , hook ..obstruct ect …For a player to skate freely up the ice and make it to the other teams zone was a thing of beuty adays players have a green light to walz up with no sticks, arms or shoulders getting in the way….goalies now a days have to be better because forwards are free to attack , ending up in more shots and more chances.

  33. watchin the 3rd period it looked like richter had maybe 1 hard shot to save on zelepukin. lol bernie nicholls takin a slapper at kovy. what a game!!

  34. yea no doubt richter is the man and he had abgreat career, but i think you could put hank on that team and win the cup a few more times after 94

  35. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    Having Hank and his ~keep everything out down low ~ is our only advantage over most teams .Mike Ritchter was a good goalie but come on , he had so much help!!! Back then he had some big boys ala Sameuallsson and beukaBOOM , clutching and holding helping him alot. Hank get that kinda protection and were talking shut out king!!! Hank gets that kinda protection and he get rewarded with the other team getting a power-play ….sick . Hate to argue with some but Hank is far better than Richter at his age now and if Ritchter was so good , how come we missed the playoffs all those years and Hank wont let that happen..

  36. *Chris Drury, my fingers are getting tired just thinking about typing up all your clutch goals.*

    *With a guy like Messier, it’s easy. You pick Game 6 in ‘94 or Game 4 in Chicago in ‘90, or the series-turning, dynasty-ending/dynasty-starting goal he scored against Potvin and Smith in ‘84.*

    *But with Capt. Clutch, whew, where to begin?*


    Carp- Is it ok if Captain Clutch calls you Carpin’ Clutch?

    Anyway why don’t we begin with THE GOAL: 7.7 seconds vs. the Rangers baby!!!

    Most clutch goal of my career! Not only did I get Buffalo, an underdog Presidents Trophy-winning team, out of the 2nd Round and all the way to Eastern Conference Finals runners-up, but THE GOAL got a career 3rd liner $35 million Dolan Dollars!!! Does it get any more CLUTCH than that??? Sabres/Rangers was the first time that Senile Sather even saw me play! Thanks Glen! Ha-Ha!

    BIG trade rumor to report from the golf course today! Chris Drury from the Rangers to……………nobody! Full no-movement clause baby! Ha-Ha! Thanks again Glen!

    On my way to Redden’s cookout! Top down on the Clutchmobile, beautiful weather, chewing on a mouthpiece, no playoff games to worry about, does life get any better???

  37. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    What makes Hank great is his wins record , he lead the league in shut-outs the year before , he goes to the all-star game , represents his counrty as the starting goalie ,runner up to the veinza a few years in a row , and is the focal point on his team. Mike Ritcher represented his country as the starting goalie and has won a cup but had Messier ,Graves , Anderson ,Mac T ,Kevin Lowe leading the way …saving the Pavel Bure penalty shot was his amazing feat ..only amazing because he acually saved it!! I have pictures showing how NY was lucky to have Vancouver “hit the post” and shown in freeze frame pictures , Mike Ritchter playing up like he was the one who stopped it..Richter was , if nothing else a great actor and had cat like reflexes …but all in all he lacked confidence when holding the puck and would freeze the puck on almost every play!!!

  38. perhaps the second part of that trade involves moving the pick from Tor, our #1 pick and something else for malone and TB #2 overall. Hedman would replace Staal! If he is not available, then Tavares would replace Dubi and add in the star power in NYC; not to mention the debate of who got the better players, icleanders or us at 1 or 2.

  39. ZzZz, maybe Richter wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but for a bunch of years there he was as good as anybody, and he played behind a gambling, high-risk team from 93-94 until the end of his career.
    He could have won the Conn Smythe in ’94, he was the MVP at the World Cup — the highest level of hockey I have ever seen — and he single-handedly beat the Devils in ’97 to get to the conference final. He was also the best ever against penalty shots.
    I think you run him down way too much. Until Hank wins something, Richter is the best goalie in team history.

  40. agree with carp, not to mention how bad the teams were in front of him from 98 til he retired. it was pretty much leetch and richter vs the other team. the current rangers arent great but they are not as bad as the rangers were in the late 90s early 2000s. hank hasnt even shown he can win a series on his own let alone a stanley cup. bottom line if we have to win a game 7 and i could pick either one in their prime as of right now id take richter without hesitation

  41. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    Carp , I didn’t mean to run him down like I did , thanks for mentioning that . I was fusterated alot when he was our starting goalie ( sorry to say ) He would freeze the puck alot and make saves look bigger than they were , ala Grant Fuhr .He was at his best during the World Cup and eventually was too small and not as good ( sorry to say).
    When he got hit in the head with that puck , he was already in decline ansd we were all looking to a Dan Blackburn to bail us out. I for am a Richter fan but all I am saying is Hank right now is better than Ritcher was at his age …Hank is look at as OUR savior , Mike Ritcher was never looked at that way when he was here.

  42. My oh my.

    I am laughing so hard I am about to vomit, holy crap, has any Ranger gotten just this destroyed by a fan as Drury is getting on these updates? I mean, I actually like the guy, but you are just KILLING him. And it is so funny. I basically now read this blog looking for the updates. Just keep ’em coming. Man.

  43. And I love Hank and wouldn’t trade him for any other goalie in the league right now but let’s face it – I may not be able to say with a whole lot of certainty that Richter would have played well enough to get the Rangers a 3-1 lead vs. the Caps this year, but I am very certain that he would have given them a much better chance to win game 5 or 6 than Hank did. Richter did not have a whole lot of nights where he just didn’t have it, especially when it counted.

  44. reginald dunlop on

    I remember watching game 6 on a tv with no vertical hold so the picture kept going up and the distinguished crowd I was watching with kept bouncing their heads with the picture…finally said heck going outside to watch 2nd and 3rd when one of the distinguished crowd decided that we needed a rally so we all turned our suitcoats inside out, even a big guy who you’d never guess followed through…and our jackets stayed that way, if you watch at the end when anderson, who nicholls shot the puck at, is escorted off, you can see us all in our reverse jackets…ha ha ha….thanks Lou for the great tv…..

  45. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    love the inside out jackets…may have to try that one sometime…Hank lets in more stinker at one time , like in a cluster or during a span of a few games , thens hes back to his old self…Richter was good in his time but he is / was no Hank .Richters softies came about 2 a game…

  46. ZzZz 13 ZzZz saga continues... !! says Greg L. on

    Having Hendrick lunqvist makes us “set” in goal in which we haven’t had that sinse Vanbeezbrouck. ( just say beezer)

  47. Damn, I wish the Warren 77 outing would be Friday night because I have a birthday party to attend on Saturday. I’m gonna miss out meeting you crazy people!

    Still following Carp’s posts, but haven’t found a good reason to follow comments closely since I haven’t been on during games. Maybe tomorrow night.

  48. Where's Pavelich? on

    Who was the best Rangers “pure” goalie? (i.e. skill level)

    Richer – most dynamic (plus CUP!)
    Beezer – most steady (pretty bad teams)
    JD – best ever…for one year (s/b our GM)
    Giacomin – Honestly, I’m too young to remember him on a game-to-game basis
    Glen Hanlon – he grabbed a guy by the throat while on the bench – he deserves some consideration
    Eddie Mio – great hair

    .. I think Henrik may be the best (again, pure skill), – esp if he ever get us to the promised land – which may be impossible with the “traffic cone” in front of him).. – any thoughts here?? I’d like to hear some about Giacomin…

    FYI – maybe headed to to Warren next Sat, if game on…

  49. I think Henrik has the tools to be the best of the lot, but he’s got a long way to go to prove himself. He’s made a great start with 3 Vezina nominations and 4 straight playoffs seasons – but we really need to be able to rely on him more in the playoffs before he can become a Ranger legend.

    Until he delivers a Stanley Cup he’ll be in Richter’s shadow (IMO).

  50. I am tired of talking about the past…I want our present and future to be filled with memories like these.

    Why does this organization have to suck…

    I mean..we missed the playoffs for 8 years…and we are worse for it.

    If Dolan had half a brain…he would fire Sather and throw all the money he likes to waste at Holland and his entire group…

  51. No surprise there Pavel. Kozlov too apparently.
    Any chance they’ll trade Radulov for Redden?

  52. Blackhawks’ coach Quenneville fined
    NHL .com

    Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, has been fined $10,000 for public comments critical of League officiating made following yesterday’s game against Detroit, the National Hockey League announced today.

    *The money goes to the NHL Foundation* <<< FUNNY

  53. cccp

    whats funny is he got fined 10,000 which is 4x more than what scott walker got fined.

    another reason to be disgusted w/ the nhl.

    so backwards.

  54. I’m sorry but trading Staal is a retarded idea
    under any circumstances unless its a superstar in return

    He’ll be a ranger for life,. Sather is stupid, but not that stupid

  55. Mike in IA, that would pretty much be the worst trade ever. We’d lose half our future just to lose the Redden albatross. Not worth it. We all know Staal will develop into an All-Star at some point, and will be the anchor of our D for years to come. Dubinsky will thrive under Tortarella’s system and Lord only knows what kind of player he could develop into. Kaberle isn’t that good that we should be making drastic moves like that. The 7th overall pick is great and all, but who’s to say that pick pans out? Sure we could snag the next big thing, but given the Rangers track record of draft picks, I would bet against it, which yields virtually nothing. And who is this Anton Stralman? Career AHLer? 3-4th liner? We already have enough of those.

    If Sather proposed that trade, he should be tarred and feathered.

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