June 13, 2020

The day before the Rangers ended 54 years of frustration

1994 (Nancy Siesel/The New York Times)

Tomorrow will be the 26th Anniversary of the 1994 Championship. As I think about the euphoric feelings that fueled me for months on end, I tried to recall what it was like the day before game 7. If I had to describe how I felt with one word it would be “anxious”. You see the Rangers were up 3 games to 1 before the Canucks won two games in a row to force a game 7. I remember how beautiful the day was and going to work. I also remember people talking about the Rangers choking and me shooting down the nonsense from mostly Islanders fans. Brave front, because inside my guts were churning and I was terrified.

A Needed Day Off

The difference between the Blueshirt Faithful and the Rangers themselves was stark in contrast. While fans were biting their nails, Mark Messier, Adam Graves, and Mike Richter were just enjoying a day off.

“I think momentum always plays a big role in any playoff series,” Mark Messier, captain of that Rangers team, recently told The Post. “I just think it gave us a chance to reset. I think we all agreed it was best to stay right at home and absorb it all, and not try to deflect that energy that was coming our way and use it to our advantage. And I think that’s what we did, and it helped.”

Messier – NYPOST

As the man who would Captain the first Rangers team to the Stanley Cup since 1940 was soaking it all in, his charges were feeling the excitement in the City.

“No matter where you went, whether you were getting up in the morning to get a coffee or to stop and put in gas in the car, the energy was just on the top of everyone’s mind,” Graves said. “You just felt like you had everyone behind you. You just had this groundswell of energy and support that I’ve never quite felt before.”

Graves – NYPOST

Looking back it’s funny to hear Mike Richter talk about how he was dreaming of game 7 in his driveway while my anxiety levels were at max levels.

“This is what you do as a kid in the driveway — Game 7, last minute, you have the puck on your stick,” Mike Richter said. “That’s spectacular. That’s the type of stuff you live for as a fan and you prepare for your whole life as a player.”

Richter – NYPOST
The 1994 Cup Parade (AP)

One More Game

The thing I remember most about the day before game 7 is reaffirming my feelings that this was the team to end the Cup drought. I recall manifesting this feeling into physical form as I painted the words “NO RETREAT! NO SURRENDER! LET’S GO RANGERS” on my back windshield. This was applied before game 1 against the Islanders and was looking pretty faded by the time June 13th rolled around. That night, I painted over the words again using white shoe polish and went to bed praying that I wouldn’t regret it.

24 hours later the Rangers turned my belief into conviction. It was over. The dragon was slain. The curse had ended. The New York Rangers became the 1994 Stanley Cup Champions. I spent two hours on the morning of June 15th to clean that dried up polish off my window only to write some new words on it right after:

1994 CHAMPS

LET’S GO RANGERS!

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