New York Rangers

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New York Rangers
Missing image
New York Rangers

Founded 1926
Home ice Madison Square Garden
Based in New York
Colours Blue, red, white
League National Hockey League
Head coach Tom Renney
General manager Glen Sather
Owners Madison Square Garden
(Owned by Cablevision and Fox Sports)

The New York Rangers (NYR) are a National Hockey League team based in New York City.

Founded: 1926-1927 (awarded May 15, 1926)
Arena: Madison Square Garden (capacity 18,200)
Uniform colors: blue, red, white
Logo design: a shield with "NEW YORK" across the top and "RANGERS" diagonally across the middle
Stanley Cup final appearances: (4 won, 5 lost) (1927-1928 (won), 1928-1929 (lost), 1931-1932 (lost), 1932-1933 (won), 1939-1940 (won), 1949-1950 (lost), 1971-1972 (lost), 1978-1979 (lost), 1993-1994 (won))
Team color jersey: Royal blue jersey with red and white stripes at elbows and bottom of jersey. "RANGERS" diagonally across chest from right shoulder in red with white trim.
White jersey: White jersey with red, white and blue stripes at elbows, across shoulders and at bottom of jersey. Blue stripe at cuff. "RANGERS" diagonally across chest from right shoulder in blue with red trim.
Third Jersey: Navy blue jersey with white and silver stripes at elbows with red forearm. Chest logo features silver Statue of Liberty head on navy blue background and the letters "NYR" in red and silver. Stylized original Rangers shield on top of each shoulder.
Note: The NHL no longer refers to jerseys as "home" or "away" with the advent of third jerseys.

Franchise history

Early Years

Tex Rickard was awarded an NHL franchise in 1926 to compete with the now-long-forgotten New York Americans. The team was immediately dubbed "Tex's Rangers", and the nickname stuck. Rickard managed to get future legendary Toronto Maple Leafs coach Conn Smythe to assemble the team (including coach Lester Patrick), and it turned out to be a winner. In their first season, the Rangers finished atop the American Division, but would lose to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.

The Rangers won the Stanley Cup over the long-defunct Montreal Maroons in only their second year in business, but it was not without some desperation: coach Patrick had to be their goaltender for two periods of game two of the finals after regular goalie Lorne Chabot was injured.

After a finals loss in 1929 and a few mediocre seasons in the early 1930s, the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to win their second Stanley Cup in 1933, led by brothers Bill and Bun Cook on the wings, and Frank Boucher in centre. The Rangers would spend the rest of the 1930s playing mainly .500 hockey until they won the Cup again in 1940 (over the Maple Leafs), when Patrick stepped down and handed the reins to Frank Boucher.

The Rangers would collapse by the mid-1940s, losing games by as much as 15-0 and having one goaltender with a 6.20 goals-against average. They would miss the playoffs for five consecutive seasons before squeaking into the fourth and final playoff spot in 1948. They lost the first round and would miss the playoffs again in 1949. In the 1950 finals the Rangers were forced to play all of their games of the road (home games in Toronto) while the circus was at the Garden. They would end up losing to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime of the seventh game.

The Post-Original Six Era

The Rangers remained a mark of futility in the NHL for the next 20 years, before rejuvenation in the late 1960s, symbolized by moving into a newly-rebuilt Madison Square Garden in 1967. They made the playoffs for the first time in five years on the strength of rookie goaltender Eddie Giacomin.

By 1972, the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup finals despite losing high-scoring center Jean Ratelle to injury during the stretch drive of the regular season. The strength of people like Brad Park, Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert would still carry them through the playoffs. They would defeat the defending champion Montreal Canadiens in the first round and the Chicago Blackhawks in the second, but lost to the Boston Bruins in the finals.

After some off years in the mid-to-late 1970s, they picked up Phil Esposito from the Bruins in 1976. Swedish Anders Hedberg would defect to the Rangers from the maverick World Hockey Association and would lead the team in scoring his first season. In 1979, they would return to the finals again before bowing out to the Canadiens.

The Rangers stayed the course through the 1980s and early 1990s, making the playoffs each year except for one but never going very far. An exception was the 1985-86 season, when the Rangers, behind rookie goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, made a Conference Finals appearance. The playoff run started when the Rangers upended the division winner Philadelphia Flyers in a decisive fifth game followed by a six game win over the Washington Capitals in the Patrick Division Finals. The Montreal Canadiens disposed of the Rangers in the Conferences Finals, behind a rookie of their own named Patrick Roy.

Still, the many playoff failures convinced Rangers fans that this was a manifestation of the curse of 1940, which is said to have begun when the Rangers' management burnt the mortgage to Madison Square Garden in the bowl of the Stanley Cup after the 1940 victory. Frustration was at its peak when the 1991-92 squad captured the President's Trophy, took a 2-1 series lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and then faltered in three straight (most observers note a Ron Francis slapshot from the blue line that eluded Mike Richter as the series' turning point) to the eventual Cup winners. The following year a power struggle between captain Mark Messier and head coach Roger Neilson led to Neilson's dismissal and a 1-11 finish that landed the Rangers in the Patrick Division cellar. The offseason hiring of controversial head coach Mike Keenan was criticized by many who pointed out Keenan's 0-3 record in the Finals.

The 1993-94 Season

1994 was a magical year for Rangers fans. Two years previous, they picked up center Mark Messier, an integral part of the Edmonton Oilers' Cup-winning teams in the 1980s. Adam Graves also defected from the Oilers to the Rangers. Brian Leetch and rookie Sergei Zubov were solid on defense. In fact, Zubov led the team in scoring with 89 points. Graves would set a new team record with 52 goals, breaking the old record held by Hadfield.

After clinching the President's Trophy for the best regular season record in the league, the Rangers were pitted against their archrivals, the 8th seeded New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. The Isles proved to be no match, as they were swept in four games by an aggregate score of 22-3. In the second round, the Washington Capitals were dismissed in five games, and set the stage for a matchup with the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Finals.

Despite a 6-0 regular season record against New Jersey, the Devils took the Rangers to the limit before bowing out in seven games. The series was highlighted by three multiple overtime games, of which the Rangers won two. Stephane Matteau scored both of those overtime goals, one of which ended Game 3 at 6:13 of the second overtime. Still, after the fifth game the Rangers trailed in the series 3-2 and faced elimination, prompting captain Mark Messier to boldly guarantee a victory in Game 6 at New Jersey. Halfway through the game, the Rangers trailed 2-0 before Messier setup Alexei Kovalev late in the second period. In what is now considered one of the greatest individual performances in sports history, Messier delivered a hat trick in the third period to give the Rangers a 4-2 win and send the series to a decisive seventh game. In that seventh game, a Brian Leetch goal midway through the second period stood until Valeri Zelepukin tied the game for the Devils by stuffing the puck under goaltender Mike Richter's pads with 7.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Matteau's second overtime winner would clinch the series for the Blueshirts, coming at 4:24 of the second overtime of Game 7.

The Stanley Cup Finals pitted the Rangers against the upstart Vancouver Canucks, who were the seventh seed in the Western Conference. After dropping Game 1, largely due to Canucks' goaltender Kirk McLean's 52 save performance, the Rangers won the next three games to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Rangers lost Game 5 in New York and then Game 6 in Vancouver forcing another seventh game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers did not disappoint, using goals from Leetch, Graves, and Messier to seal a 3-2 victory and the Rangers first Cup in 54 years. Brian Leetch became the first American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy and Mark Messier became the first Rangers captain to hoist the Cup on Garden ice.

Recent Years

Missing image
The 98-99 Rangers pose with Gretzky after his last game, in an on-ice team photo, a concept Gretzky is credited for popularizing

The Rangers continued to be Cup favorites in the mid-to-late 1990s, even landing an aging Wayne Gretzky, but they would fizzle out. Their 1994 stars were aging and many retired or dropped off in performance, and by 1998 they missed the playoffs.

By 2001, the Rangers had landed a lot of star power. Theoren Fleury joined the Rangers after spending most of his career with the Calgary Flames. Eric Lindros reluctantly joined the Rangers from the Philadelphia Flyers. They got Pavel Bure late in the 2001-2002 season from the Florida Panthers. However, the Rangers still finished out of the playoffs despite having the league's highest payroll. Later years saw other stars such as Alexei Kovalev and Anson Carter and Bobby Holik added, but in 2002-03 and 2003-04, the team again missed the playoffs. Ranger fans are now beginning to think they might have to wait 54 years for another Stanley Cup. Kovalev was traded 2003/2004. Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros are now unrestricted free agents.

Players of Note

Hall of Famers

  • (Majority of Career with Rangers)


  • (More than 20 more also played part of career with Rangers)


Current stars:

Not to be forgotten:

Team Captains

  • Bill Cook
  • Art Coulter
  • Ott Hiller
  • Neil Colville
  • Buddy O'Connor
  • Frank Edolls
  • Allan Stanley
  • Don Raleigh
  • Harry Howell
  • Red Sullivan
  • Andy Bathgate
  • Camille Henry
  • Bob Nevin
  • Vic Hadfield
  • Brad Park
  • Phil Esposito
  • Dave Maloney
  • Walt Tkaczuk
  • Barry Beck
  • Ron Greschner
  • Kelly Kisio
  • Mark Messier
  • Brian Leetch

Retired Numbers:


McFarlane, Brian. (1997) The Rangers. Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited

External Links

National Hockey League
Current Teams : Anaheim | Atlanta | Boston | Buffalo | Calgary | Carolina | Chicago | Colorado | Columbus | Dallas | Detroit | Edmonton | Florida | Los Angeles | Minnesota | Montreal | Nashville | New Jersey | NY Islanders | NY Rangers | Ottawa | Philadelphia | Phoenix | Pittsburgh | San Jose | St. Louis | Tampa Bay | Toronto | Vancouver | Washington
Trophies and Awards: Stanley Cup | Prince of Wales | Clarence S. Campbell | Presidents' Trophy | Art Ross | Bill Masterton | Calder | Conn Smythe | Hart | Norris | King Clancy | Lady Byng | Lester B. Pearson Award | Rocket Richard | Plus/Minus | Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award | Jennings | Vezina
Related Articles: AHL | ECHL | WHA | World Cup

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