After looking at the Rags' Mount Puckmore on Puck Daddy today and its subsequent blowback - Jagr, really?
While I think I see Blueshirt Banter's logic, when he says about Jagr:
He brought the Rangers back to respectability, and made them a relevant franchise again.
I would say that getting swept by the Devils in 2006, after 7 years of playoffs absences with a very injured Jagr didn't make them relevant or respectable. A guy like Lundqvist makes much more sense if you're going to go with a recent Ranger who broke the playoff drought.
However, before I came to Jagr, I read the write up of Messier and Matteau. Now, Ranger fans have sometimes heckled many of us with the "Matteau" chant, which BTW was the radio call. (If you were watching TV, you heard Gary Thorne on ESPN mistakenly say "1940 is history." Now maybe he meant what we all knew - that the winner of the East would win the Cup, but still).
The Rangers victory in 1994 didn't diminish the importance this series had for me as a Devils fan and for others. The Devils were the underdog and fought tooth-and-nail. I was sad for a day or two after Game 7, but ultimately proud of the Devils. This guy's opinion (at 3:10) sums it up. Keep in mind:
1) The Rangers won the Presidents' trophy and were arguably the best team in hockey.
2) The Devils lost every regular season game against the Rangers that year.
Anyway, I remember that series like it was yesterday. We scared the hell out of the Rangers, let's just say that. Ask any Ranger fan who is old enough. The Devils went into the Garden in Game 5 and stole the show - with Bernie Nicholls capping it off. You could hear a pin drop in the place.
Sure Messier's guarantee in Game 6 sucked. Sure Matteau in Game 7 sucked. But many forget that Zelepukin tied it up with 7.7 left in period 3 to even give Matteau and the Rangers that moment. When Zele scored, I can remember my dad upstairs screaming in disbelief. He was louder than when his beloved Reds won the World Series in 1990.
When Matteau scored, I was still damn proud of my Devils. . . and the Gold Medal Game this year echoed my feelings from 1994. Parise scored late and we went wild. Even though Crosby won it in OT - I was beaming with pride for the USA.
The writers at Seinfeld were obviously impressed and created the episode that aired the next year . . our much beloved, "The Face Painter." On the show, the announcer even says that Stephane Richer scores (I think even in OT) when George is in the car with his girlfriend listening on the radio - a clear reference to what happened in Game 1.
Don Cherry's Rock 'em sock sums it up : the most vicious and exciting series of the entire playoffs.
The 1st comment on Cherry's youtube video says: greatest playoff hockey series ever.
But in terms of storylines, late goals, OT thrillers, hard hitting and animosity, this was playoff hockey at its best. I even wish I could get the penalty minute totals from the series.
The other reason "Matteau" doesn't bother me? Because the Devils won the next year. That series defeat was what the team had to go through to win IMHO in 1995.
I even wish I could find the Fox Sports footage of the Game 4 Stanley Cup Finals where they had two actors and the Jersey guy went through the Lincoln Tunnel and grabbed the Cup from the Ranger fan and then took it on the ferry back to NJ.
So three questions?
1) What do you say if someone gives you the "Matteau" chant?
2) Was this the greatest series in your lifetime? (sorry younglings)
3) Should I buy the Rangers "Original 6" 1994 DVD (you can get it for $80) to relive all 7 games of this series or would that be selling out?