Sam Rosen has called Rangers games for 30 years on MSG Network. He is famous for his ” … and this one will last a lifetime!” call of the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup championship.
Rosen, a New City resident, will provide diary entries throughout this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
As a player, I think you think you know what it takes because they’ve been through three playoff series, tough battles, lengthy series.
But when you get to the final round, only the guys who have been there before can totally understand what’s necessary. There’s this final level. There’s regular-season level, there’s playoff level and then there’s Stanley Cup Final level. That final level is where everybody throws caution to the wind and puts everything they have into it.
I remember covering several Stanley Cup Finals for NHL radio and seeing the long line of players waiting to get into the trainer’s room, either to get ice, or to get shots, or to get taped up — whatever it took to make sure that they could play the next game, whether it was the next day or that night. Players did everything they could to play that game because they knew this was their one opportunity to win the big prize.
For the Rangers, the younger players — though some players handled it well; I thought Carl Hagelin was spectacular — but for younger players, I think it was an eye-opener. Players like Mats Zuccarello, players like Chris Kreider. I think they kind of realized that this was something different. Maybe even a player like Rick Nash, who has been in big games like the Olympics, this is something that’s more intense.
I know the Olympics are special, and you chase after that gold medal. But this Stanley Cup, this is what every hockey player that comes to the NHL dreams about. This is the lifelong dream. This is what all the work is all about — everything you put in from offseason work, training camp, regular season, playing through injuries, playing to make the playoffs, and then having success in the playoffs. This is it. This is the culmination of all that work and the greatest opportunity to have to win the big prize.
And for some players it’s their moment of glory. Marty St. Louis, Brad Richards. They realize it. They were young players in Tampa Bay in ‘04, but the older players like Dave Andreychuk helped them get through it and they won the Stanley Cup.
Here in 1994 you remember the young Russian players like Sergei Zubov and Alexei Kovalev, but they were guided by Mark Messier; even Brian Leetch was guided by Mark Messier. Adam Graves had been there before. You look to the players who’ve been there before, who’ve experienced it, who know that it takes a little bit more, that extra. They dig down deeper to get there, to bring out everything that you have.
No holding back. When it’s all over, you have to say you left everything on the ice. And it starts for the Rangers in Game 2.
Photo, top, by Getty Images.
Sam Rosen photo by Rebecca Taylor/MSG photos.