Did Jacob Trouba just guarantee Rangers win in Game 6 against Hurricanes?

NHL: New York Rangers at Vegas Golden Knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

So, did the current New York Rangers captain do his best impression of the legendary former Blueshirts captain in their on-air conversation Tuesday? Did Jacob Trouba guarantee a Rangers win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes?

Well, “guarantee” might be a strong word. But then again, was what Trouba said in an interview with Mark Messier when accepting the 2024 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Tuesday much different from what The Captain himself said before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final in 1994?

“Looking forward to going into Carolina and getting a win in Carolina,” Trouba stated. “I think that’s the belief our group has in each other and moving forward I think we’re looking forward to the challenge and are excited to get to Carolina.”

Pretty straightforward stuff. Not necessarily a guarantee, but surely a confident take bordering on a guarantee.

Not dissimilar to what Messier actually said 30 years ago.

Related: Rangers can feel desperation level rising against Hurricanes

Mark Messier made Rangers history with “guarantee” in 1994

new york rangers
Rangers Mark Messier (11) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the Rangers defeated Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

With the Rangers trailing their best-of-7 series against the New Jersey Devils 3-2 and coming off a 4-1 home-ice loss in Game 5 and a horrid loss in Game 4, one in which Brian Leetch was benched by coach Mike Keenan (!), Messier met with reporters at their Rye Playland practice rink the day before the sixth game.

The Rangers were under enormous pressure, facing elimination in a season when only ending their 54-year Stanley Cup drought would suffice. And here they were, seemingly falling apart and about to succumb to the Devils of all teams, failing to even reach the Cup Final.

But Messier was calm, so calm in fact that some reporters actually overlooked what he said at the time.

“We’re going to go in there and win Game 6,” were Messier’s exact words. “We’ve responded all year. We’ve won games we’ve had to win. We know we’re going to go in there to win Game 6 and bringing it back for Game 7. We feel we can win it, and we feel we are going to win it.”

Similar to Trouba, the word “guarantee” was never uttered by Messier. This wasn’t Joe Namath saying “I guarantee it!” when he predicted the New York Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

But it was a confident leader rallying his troops, stating simply that the Rangers were going to win Game 6.

Which, of course, the Rangers did, taking Game 6 at the Meadowlands 4-2 when Messier had a natural hat trick to put this game away. The rest is history. A thrilling double-overtime win in Game 7 (Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!). And a seven-game war against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final that erased “1940!” chants for good.

The current stakes are not as high. But that doesn’t mean the Rangers aren’t facing adversity.

After winning their first seven postseason games (like the ’94 squad did), the Rangers raced to a 3-0 series lead against the Hurricanes, winning once in overtime and once more in double OT. But they failed to eliminate the Hurricanes the past two games and now their series lead is a somewhat precarious 3-2 heading back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 6.

It’s not the Rangers facing elimination Thursday. But they will be entering a hostile environment, trying to finish off a tough opponent and facing their own do-or-die Game 7 if they don’t succeed.

So, planned or not, Trouba pulled a page out of The Captain’s playbook and the Rangers are hoping the second time is a charm, albeit 30 years later.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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