The 2013-14 Rangers … Hey, you never know

118

My column from The Journal News and lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

Ten years ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

Since then, a bunch of guys from that team have come through the Rangers — current ex-Bolts Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, and others such as Vinny Prospal and Ruslan Fedotenko, and of course coach John Tortorella.

And all of them explained a similar phenomenon about that team in Tampa: They had no clue that they could or would win the Cup.

“It just all fell into place,” said Tortorella, who used the “no clue” phrase directly. “We didn’t think the year we won it, in ’04, that we were ready.

“You never know.”

You don’t, ever. Often a powerhouse team wins it, far more often than an upstart. But even those powerhouse teams don’t know.

These Rangers are like those Bolts. You’d have had to be a know-nothing to really think, especially as this season started to unfold, that they could get a sniff of the Stanley Cup. Not with their virtually superstar-less roster. Not with the road here seemingly blocked by Boston and Pittsburgh. Certainly not after losing those three games in a row, the third in horrid fashion, to the Penguins.

But here they are. You never know.

The celebration going on around this team, too, is deserved. Remember, though, that it’s easy to forget teams that get to the final and lose — think Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver or, in more recent years, Edmonton and, yes, the Calgary team that lost to Tampa in Game 7 in ’04.

This being the 20th anniversary and all of, well, you know, even that team didn’t know. Revisionist history says that Rangers team — an absolutely loaded roster that got better as the season transpired — was expected to win and had to win and did win.

But that’s not entirely true, either. That team was coming off a nightmare non-playoff 1992-93, a power struggle between captain Mark Messier and coach Roger Neilson, injuries galore and one of the gross underachiever seasons in NHL history. That team had roadblocks too — the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had won in ’91 and ’92 and were shocked by the Islanders in ’93. The Detroit Red Wings, who would soon become a dynasty, went out in a shocking first round to No. 8 seed San Jose.

Before those blocks fell, and after, that team wasn’t a shoo-in. It started to run through the season in impressive fashion, and when Neil Smith made the James Patrick/Darren Turcotte deal that brought Steve Larmer and Nick Kypreos, it sure looked like a contender.

I started to write about that then. People scoffed. It’s the Rangers. Something will happen. For sure, you were never sure. Even goalie Mike Richter was suspect to that point, people not wanting to forget the long goal he had allowed to Ron Francis in Pittsburgh in ’92.

When Smith made the spate of deadline deals — bringing in Craig MacTavish, Stephane Matteau, Brian Noonan and Glenn Anderson — I wrote that I thought they’d win it. More people scoffed. I was also contributing to The Hockey News at the time, and the guffaws from Canada were unmistakable.

Point is, that team won — and barely, having so many close calls in the final two rounds that easily could have gone the other way — and that team was far more of a sure thing than this one ever was.

This Rangers team doesn’t have Messier, Brian Leetch, Richter, Adam Graves, Larmer, Kevin Lowe, all of those veteran leaders and great players and overall size, skill or toughness. Heck, this Rangers team doesn’t have a forward who would be on the top line of that team.

It has progressed, though, and these Rangers have shown guts — far from perfect, but an ability to win the most important games.

This team is much more similar to Tampa in 2004 than the Rangers 10 years earlier.

It still doesn’t know. You never know.

********************************************************

The Rangers go back to work Sunday, after two days to enjoy their Eastern Conference championship and rest up their bangs and bruises (broken jaws, shoulder injuries, etc) before the Stanley Cup final.

They have not been on the ice since the Game 6 1-0 victory over Montreal. Sunday they return to their practice facility to begin preparation for either Los Angeles or Chicago.

“It’s … good for us to get a couple of days to recharge,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “I think, mentally, too, to let it sink in a little bit and enjoy it.

“Then you start preparing for the next challenge. We’re going to play against a really good team. It’s about, for us in the room, to remind each other that this is such a special moment that you have to grab it. You have to make sure you’re ready and play your absolute best. You’re not going to get that many opportunities.

“I’ve been here for nine years. This is my first final. Now it’s all about preparing the fright way and try to leave it all out there.”

When Brad Richards was asked the same question, he jokingly replied, “Yeah. Same thing.”

Twitter: @RangersReport

Photo by Getty Images.

 

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118 Comments

  1. Been away from computer.
    Great review the other day of GREAT game!
    relaxing and enjoying the result.
    starting Wednesday
    you never know

  2. Nice piece about the cup final Rangers past and present, Carp. Will be quite a story if this team pulls it off. Our strongest not-so-secret weapons are the fourth line and King Henrik. Some marvel at the transformation of the Brassard-Pouliot-Zucarello-Aasen line, which has given the opponents fits in the offensive zone. I am amazed at the transformation of the Dmoore-Dorsett-Boyle line…just what the doctor ordered (apologies to ilb)

  3. Nice article Carp. It fits in nicely with the “why not us” theme.
    And I’m finally back from Europe & can get some sleep now!

    Any Charps coming up? Or maybe a Charloney?

    WE WANT THE CHARP! WE WANT THE CHARP!!

    LGR!!!!

  4. iDoodie Machetto on

    Late last night, after valiantly battling cancer 6 times, my grandmother finally lost her battle, at home. She was 88 years old. She was surrounded by her children four children four of her grandchildren and my father, all of whom she loved dearly.

    She is the second sweetest woman I have ever known (the first being Mrs. Machetto).

    My three biggest comforts in her passing are that she is no longer suffering; that she will be reunited with my grandfather, to whom she was tirelessly devoted and had predeceased her by five years; and that I was able to introduce her to her first and thus far only great grandchild, Doodie Jr., who brought her so much joy and happiness, even on her most painful and difficult days.

    To those of you who have loved ones who are battling cancer (Anthony comes to mind and I’m sure there are others), be brave, be strong, and keep fighting. My grandmother was first diagnosed with breast cancer 22 years ago. And though she had to fight cancer too many more times throughout the next score of years, she never let it get the best of her. She lived a full, happy life, full of love and devotion to family.

  5. Great post, Doodie. Sorry for your loss, condolences to you and your family.

  6. Doodie.. So sorry for your loss. It puts everything in perspective when we obsess over a game.

    Peace to you and your family..

  7. Admiral Akbar on

    iDoodie

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences for you and your family. Thats a beautiful and loving tribute to your grandma.

    Sounds like you have a wonderful family.

  8. Doodie

    Sorry for your loss. I lost my mother at 17 to cancer. It’s a terrible disease that needs to be cured.

  9. Condolences, Doodie. And thank you for a well written, warm post. Sometimes in our lives we get distracted by small things that carry very little importance and forget what should take priorities- being around, and enjoying, your loved ones. Stay strong.

  10. iManny-O-War on

    Just got this email fr NHL.Com:

    We are emailing to let you know that unfortunately, there was a pricing error for the New York Rangers NHL jersey that you ordered on our website. Despite our best efforts, occasionally an item may appear on our website with an incorrect price and, in this case, a member of our staff mistakenly uploaded a product with the wrong price attached. This type of human error does not occur often, but we do apologize that it affected your order and are doing our best to make it right.

    We will be honoring the pricing shown on our website for orders placed on a first-come, first-serve basis for the limited number of jerseys we have in stock. Those customers will receive a confirmation email when their order ships. For the remaining orders for which we do not have stock, we will be cancelling the order for a full refund, and in the cancellation confirmation email we will be providing $10 in promotional credit for the trouble.

    Again, we apologize for the inconvenience that this mistake has caused and do hope that you will give us another chance to provide you with your NHL gear.

  11. iManny-O-War on

    How can they actually claim that they have limited stock? Here’s an idea NHL: GET MORE

  12. Sry for your loss Doodie. My wife had breast cancer also which she fought off too. It’s a scary thing, and it’s nice to hear someone was able to ward it off for a good long fulfilled life.

  13. Imanny it’s a marketing ploy. It’s meant to give the impression to buy quick or lose out. Capitalizes on compulsion.

  14. IDoodie, sorry for your loss, my mother died 2 years ago from a strange Liver Cancer… 78 better than K. Moore’s 32 and less than your G’Ma’s 88.

    She taught me to skate when I was 3 and both my brother & I went on to play hockey in College & beyond. We need to keep strong and hopefully focus on getting closer to solving Cancer.

  15. I suggest you all read brooksie article in the ny post today on price of success will prove costly.

  16. Manny

    I got the same email from nhl on jerseys just now. I assume if you get the email your not getting the jersey.

  17. Matty"WhyNot!!"Boy on

    Hey Doodie, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like a great lady and a great fight!!

    Family touched by it? I’ll put it this way, I was at a Relay for Life overnight last night here in Morris County. My cousin organized and ran most of it. In our family? Her Mom, our Grandma, my Dad for starters all died of it. BUT we have some ‘younger’ survivors that are living the dream!! My brother, survivor of 27 years, lives a 98% normal life and makes an impact on a board of directors of a well known organization that fights terminal illness.

    Better yet, his son is 32. Survived osteosarcoma above his knee when he was 10 yo. He has had multiple operations (he was growing boy as this CA ripped through his leg and had to have multiple plates put in as he grew), BUT he has learned SO much from it that as a survivor he has become a business leader at a young age and has an amazing future!!! It never stopped him;only propelled him!!

    BEST even is that Thursday night, knowing I was going, he texts me and says he’ll be at the game, too!! I’m second row upstairs, but he said it might be hard for us to get together because he bought row AAA in a single digit section ON the glass for he and a friend. Don’t even want to know what it cost, but he is living the life!!!

    Sends me texts throughout with pic’s of the game!! What a life he’s created for himself!!! And he LEARNED how to appreciate it FROM his cancer!!!!

    Your Grandma fought long and hard!! Bless her!!!

  18. Doodie,
    My condolences on the loss of your grandmother. The bonehead family mourns with you.

  19. iDoodie Machetto on

    Thanks for the kind words, folks. I’ll not be around much over the next couple of days, so if there is so random super sale of jerseys or something, can one of youse with my email address email me so I don’t miss out?

  20. Doodie, my sincere condolences on your loss.
    As a man who’s lost dear friends to the illness and has been cancer free for 14 years this August I can tell you I know a lot of what you and your family have endured.
    All the best brother. You’ll be in the prayers of the “G” family.

  21. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Doodie – sorry to hear. May she shine her continued love over you and your family as she watches from on high…

  22. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Manny – got the same email….we can only hope we ordered it on time and that the player we choose (mine was Brassard) and the size we ordered is not one of the popular sweaters…

  23. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Re: the discounted jerseys – the fact that you can purchase them for the CORRECT price means that they are in stock –

    #unfair

    #lame

    #pathetic

  24. Ref stats

    O halloran 13

    Hawks 6-1 this year kings 6-5 includes reg playoffs

    McCauley 4

    Hawks 1-7. Kings 7-0

    Both worked game 7 kings ducks and game 4 this series

  25. Rob in Beantown on

    Somebody online said the fact that the jerseys are all “customized” means they can claim out of stock for that customization and just start taking orders again even if they have stacks and stacks of blanks #lame

  26. Doodie, may she rest in peace and may you and your family find comfort in the memories of having shared in her wonderful life.

  27. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Ricardo – great piece. NHL channel ran a long documentary about that 94 team yesterday (think I’ve seen it before) and it really looked like Iron Mike nearly sabotaged that Cup run.

    Edzo stood up after that game 4 debacle in NJ and challenged Keenan….interesting times they were…

  28. This is a special year.

    If you really want a sweater, stop bellyaching and go for $200 you bunch of cheap bastards.

    It’s only money.

    :)

  29. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “I too ordered a Ranger sweater for $63 and was told out if stock. I will kill every member of their workforce. I will shoot the moron who put up the wrong price. I will chew his ears off and rip his eyeballs out. I will kill the persons responsible for this. I will chainsaw the person who sent me that email. I will sever the heads of every person who has ever worked at this store. I will kill anyone who ordered their jersey before me. I will not stop till I’m finished”

  30. NY Times:

    Referees for Sale

    A soccer referee named Ibrahim Chaibou walked into a bank in a small South African city carrying a bag filled with as much as $100,000 in $100 bills, according to another referee traveling with him. The deposit was so large that a bank employee gave Mr. Chaibou a gift of commemorative coins bearing the likeness of Nelson Mandela.

    Settings

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    Soccer | Rigged: Part 1 of a Two-Part Series
    Fixed Soccer Matches Cast Shadow Over World Cup
    A New York Times investigation of match fixing ahead of the last World Cup gives an unusually detailed look at the ease with which professional gamblers can fix matches.

    By DECLAN HILL and JERÉ LONGMANMAY 31, 2014

    Photo
    A report by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said a match-rigging syndicate infiltrated the sport’s upper reaches. Credit Illustration by Sam Manchester/The New York Times; photographs from FIFA report and Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    Continue reading the main story
    Continue reading the main story Share This Page

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    Continue reading the main story

    JOHANNESBURG — A soccer referee named Ibrahim Chaibou walked into a bank in a small South African city carrying a bag filled with as much as $100,000 in $100 bills, according to another referee traveling with him. The deposit was so large that a bank employee gave Mr. Chaibou a gift of commemorative coins bearing the likeness of Nelson Mandela.

    Later that night in May 2010, Mr. Chaibou refereed an exhibition match between South Africa and Guatemala in preparation for the World Cup, the world’s most popular sporting event. Even to the casual fan, his calls were suspicious — he called two penalties for hand balls even though the ball went nowhere near the players’ hands.

  31. Interesting timing on this Cup run for many reasons… ’94 is obvious, ’04 for MSL, Brad & Torts (can’t ignore his influence… Girardi & many others still major shotblockers), D. Moore’s loss and MSL’s losses also obvious. But the debacle of ’04 Canucks vs Avalanche and Steve Moore’s lawsuit going to court is one that just occurred to me. I hope Steve Moore is at the game when his brother lifts the cup.

    I watched that hit by Bertuzzi and the hit of Steve Moore’s on Naslund that led to Bertuzzi attack. The Moore hit was much like many we’ve seen this Playoffs, except Naslund went very low and Moore really didn’t have to do anything special to hit his head. As for the Betuzzi attack, Moore had already fought Matt Cooke that game and every Canuck was looking for more payback. Coach, captain and other team leaders are complicit. Obviously the fight with Matt Cooke wasn’t enough redemption… the Canucks wanted Moore hurt. They succeeded.

    I find it revolting hearing Bertuzzi tearily saying he wasn’t trying to hurt Moore!!! No normal human can watch the hit and agree. Well maybe some mindless Canuck fans or someone like Therrien or Crawford. What happens when a team puts a price on a players head, then said head comes off?

  32. To Lucic,

    How much money do you make? Pay the right price you cheap multiple-millionaire psychotic homicidal maniac.

    Your fan,

    SeeDubb

    :)

  33. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Papa – While you are out buying fancy sweaters, I’m trying to feed my family and put a roof over their head.

  34. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “seedub, you are as good as dead. I will hunt you down and remove every body part on your body and crush it with a steam roller. Then I will crush it again with a hammer. After that I will feed it to my pet piranhas. After the crap you out, then I’ll eat you. Then I’ll light you on fire. Have you anything to say now, wise guy?”

  35. Doodie – sympathy is not enough at times like this, but hockey violence just might be. New rallying cry in the Rangers dressing room “win it for Grandma Doodie!”, t-shirts and hats all around. Hopefully as we terrorize chi or la, foodie will get two weeks of distraction

    Did Hank really talk about “winning the fright way”? That doesn’t inspire confidence

  36. I knew NHL.com were going tp pull some BS like that, that’s why I didn’t even bother ordering.

    I mentioned it last night, the ECF Champions hat is now sold out. One just ended on ebay for $76

    So if any of you guys see those hats in a store, buy a couple and sell it online. I’ll be doing that today. Hopefully I find a few.

  37. Eddie,

    Yes it’s true. I got a big load and I’m not afraid spreading it around.

    Papa

  38. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Orr – sorry to hear. Was this the same grandmother you’ve mentioned in previous seasons? All the best to you and your family…

  39. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “try spreading your load around after I’m done with you. I’ll kill you so many time I’ll lose count after 10. You won’t ever talk again after I cut your tongue out – also cause you’ll be dead. And I mead dead a whole bunch of times.”

  40. Snagged a neat little 3BR penthouse at Trump Towers just across from the Plaza Hotel for $450.99 per month, no maintenance.

  41. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Kooz -I’m looking to rent a place on 88th and CPW near the Trinity school. Only $200 month. Requires 5 year lease….that’s holding me back….not sure I can that price for so long….there must be cheaper places available soon enough….

  42. Seedubb,

    Seems like we may need to go on the lamb for a while. Maybe we can join ILB who will be cruising the Mediterranean this week on his 120 foot Yacht.

    Lucic will never find us, he doesn’t swim.

    Papa

  43. E3, 12:42. Your roofless family has just one head? Well, saves on haircuts, I guess.

  44. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “hey Seedub, you know what’s also dandy? You hanging on my wall with no arms, legs, or head. That’s right – a new piece if artwork entitled ‘see dubs torso’ – then I’ll position your head on my pillow in my bedroom so that it looks at your torso. Except, since you’ll be dead, it won’t actually see anything.”

  45. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “papa, I doggie paddle. And I will paddle the 15 oceans till I find you.”

  46. Papa,
    While a trip around the Caribbean with ilb and yourself sounds fantastic. I don’t think we’ll have to leave any time soon. I’m pretty sure that the big jamoke can’t read.

  47. Had a great Med cruise with ilb on the yacht! Only problem was, every time I wanted a drink, I had to order it in Latin.

  48. Matty"WhyNot!!"Boy on

    Can’t the boys keep their pucks down? Enough of killing each other already.

  49. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Lucic – “Seedub, I can read. Just not good. I also can count really high – to 23. That’s cause I have that many fingers and toes. But since you think you’re so smart, how good will you read after I’ve carved your eyeballs out of your head? You won’t even be able to read the big E in the dentist office. You won’t even be able to read my dick and Jane collector series books. You know why? Cause you won’t have eyeballs. I’ll kebab them and after roasting them, I’ll eat them. That’s right. Your eyeballs will be seeing my intestines after I chew them up and swallow them”

  50. Matty, you’ve watched them play enough to know that even at this stage of the season, they really have no idea where their shots will wind up.

  51. Orrsie, sorry about your Grandfather.

    There’s nothing better then a Granpa. At least, that’s what I tell my Granddaughter every chance I get.

    When she stays over and I have the honor of putting her to bed, I say “we’re going to change the prayers a little tonight, make them a little quicker. Follow me….God Bless Poppy, and God bless everyone else.”

  52. Matty"WhyNot!!"Boy on

    SeeDubb :)))))

    It was probably Boyler, trying to hit the net!! And Richards was in the f/o circle?

  53. Wouldn’t mind having Lucic on the team for the next series.

    But, as they say….”Go to the dance, Gotta dance with the one who BRUNGS ya.”

  54. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Orr – sorry, I wrote grandmother in the way up above. Prayers to you and yours re: grandpa

  55. DelZ visiting Graceland today. Purchases “Return To Sender” from gift shop.

  56. I like the Kings tonight 5-3

    Carter gets 2, Williams 1, Gaborik 1 & Doughty 1

    (BTW Doughty is my favorite non-Ranger or former-Ranger player in the league. Tough call, but I may have to bury his picture in the yard)

  57. OK, so I received the same email this morning from Shop.NHL.com.

    NHL better be honoring my Zuccarello jersey! Sounds like they will. Looks like they are out of stock, even if you wanted to order one at full price.

  58. Rangers Conference Champs Official Cap on eBay for $124.99

    That’s more like it!

  59. Robby Bonfire on

    So many here were unhappy with Detroit being coming into the same conference as the Rangers, and being on the schedule. Guess we can bury that concern, now, at least for awhile.

  60. St. Louis has scored more points than anyone in the NHL over the last five years, and he wouldn’t be good enough for the first line of the team in ’94? That’s silly. Not to mention that a broken-down Andersen played on the top line through most of the playoffs. Kovie spent most of his time on the second line.

    Listen, the ’94 team was great, but they were led by a handful of stars and were not terribly deep. Keenan shortened the bench every bit as much as Tortorella.

    I think people underrate the current team’s talent. Even on lower lines players such as Pouliot and Brassard were top-6 overall picks. I’d take Klein and Moore any day and twice on Sunday over Wells and Karpotsev. Richards and Nash may not be the dominating players we expected them to be, but they are excellent players nonetheless.

  61. Paul, Amonte played that RW until the last month. And Larmer was better than this version of St. Louis. Kovalev too … BTW, St. Louis isn’t even on the first line on THIS team. Gartner back then was better than St. Louis now, too.

    94 team not deep? So you would take Moore, Pouliot, Hagelin, Boyle, Dorsett over … Tikkanen, MacTavish, Gilbert, Noonan, Matteau? Um, no thank you.

    Klein and Moore over Wells and Karpovtsev/Lidster? I don’t think so.

  62. Oh, no, seriously?

    It’s easy to look back and overrate those guys because they did something special, and there were a lot of emotions. But Gilbert, Noonan and Matthau were nothing special, and yes, I know they got a couple of big goals, but so have Carcillo and Moore and Boyle. Tikkanen was not the player he once was, and Wells was terrible. He was slow as a Pilon. In today’s league, he would stand no chance without being able to hook people. Potsie didn’t even play when the going got tough, Keenan had no faith in him whatsoever. He was a kid.

    Larmer better than MSL? C’mon, great guy, solid team player, but well past his peak years with Chicago. Again, nobody has more points in the NHL over the past five years than MSL.

    I’ve been watching these guys for nearly 50 years (I’m 52), and I’m no expert beyond being a fan, but again, I’d take the top players on the ’94 team, but I’d take the bottom half of this year’s team without question.

    You also have to remember different eras. This year’s team is built for speed, which could be neutralized by pawing and interference in the ’90s. So it is not an entirely fair comparison.

  63. And I don’t get the comment about Amonte, because I was talking about the playoffs. I think that was a terrible trade because he was much better than Noonan or Matthau. Now the cup win eased the pain of that bad trade, but the guys we got had very little impact on the NHL ever again, and Amonte was a terrific player for years. I hated that trade. Noonan and Matteau were mediocre players, although one could argue whether we win without them that year.

  64. Matty"WhyNot!!"Boy on

    Listen, don’t want to say anything negative about this 2014 team. They have had an incredible ride and they CAN do it. They can.

    But, whoosh,Seriously?? That ’94 team was extremely well constructed. Not so sure what you guys are saying. If the era’s can be compared, IMHO, that team was a good amount better and deeper than this team. No offense.

    Leetch and Beuke on d? Zubov? Ok, that’s point presence, crease clearing, offense, shut down defense? Huh? Sorry. MacD is gonna be an awful good, perhaps great d-man, but to this point, Leetch is better and add in Zubov?

    On offense, some excellent centers, an old pro like Larmer, MacT, Anderson, sprinkled in? Toughness? Yup. Leadership? Yup. Snipers? Yup. Players to defend the great players? Yup. Wings? yup. Special teams?

    Ah, no. Sorry, that was one heck of a team with very few holes.

  65. Matty"WhyNot!!"Boy on

    I guess some people forget just how good Steve Larmer was. What a player!! Even by the time he got here!!

  66. Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from
    an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start.
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