Team Profile: The New York Rangers

Another one of the ‘Original Six’, the ‘Broadway Blueshirts’ are another team with a proud and interesting history.

Here’s a little bit of background:

  • Located in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Founded in 1926
  • Located in New York City, New York
  • Arena: Madison Square Garden
  • Owner: The Madison Square Garden Company
  • GM: Jeff Gorton
  • Head Coach: Alain Vigneault
  • Captain: Ryan McDonagh
  • Minor League Affiliate: Hartford Wolf Pack
  • Stanley Cups: 4

I’ll try not to let this one get too long. Maybe instead of a history I’ll do interesting facts? Ok, we’ll see.

Was founded after then president of Madison Square Garden, George Lewis ‘Tex’ Rickard saw how successful the New York Americans (team that no longer exists) were, and wanted another team to play out of MSG.

The new team was nicknamed “Tex’s Rangers”. (No relation to our local MLB team, the Texas Rangers, despite the similarities in color scheme. No, I absolutely did not have to look that up…)

They had Conn Smythe (yup, now of the Playoff MVP trophy) as the team’s first manager and head coach. He was fired the day before the season began after having a falling out with a member of Rickard’s team.

They were the first team to travel by plane. On December 13th, 1929 they travelled to Toronto to play the Leafs.

In their second season they defeated the Montreal Maroons to win their first Stanley Cup.

They won the Stanley Cup in 1933 and 1940, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the finals each time.

In the mid-40’s, they kind of imploded, where they would lose games 15-0.

In the 1950 Stanley Cup Finals, they had to play all of their games on the road since there was a circus (yes, literally a circus with elephants and stuff) at MSG. They used the Leafs arena for their home games. They ended up losing the series to the Detroit Red Wings.

During the Original Six Era, they struggled quite a bit. They failed to make the playoffs 12 out of 16 seasons. They got a boost in the 1960’s, and then made the finals twice in the 70’s. They lost both times, to the Bruins and the Habs. Who were beasts in the 1970’s.

In 1975, the Rangers faced their newly formed rivals, the New York Islanders, in the first round of the playoffs. They were eliminated by the Islanders in 3 games (best of 5 format). This was a nice boost to the rivalry.

In fact, beginning in 1981, the Islanders eliminated the Rangers while winning their 4 consecutive Stanley Cup titles.

The Rangers won their 4th Stanley Cup title in 1994, boosted by the recent acquisition of Mark Messier from the Edmonton Oilers. This was 54 years after their last title. As a result, Brian Leetch became the first American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP,while Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Sergei Zubov became the first Russians to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

In 1996, the Rangers signed Wayne Gretzky, reuniting him with his Oilers teammate, Messier. Gretzky helped them to the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, but were beat by the Flyers, led by future Ranger Eric Lindros.

The Rangers failed to make the playoffs for 7 consecutive seasons. This was despite having players like Lindros, Theo Fleury, and Pavel Bure on the roster.

In 2005, Henrik Lundqvist made his debut with the Rangers. He has been dazzling the league ever since (you don’t get the nickname ’The King’ for nothing).

In 2006 they finally returned to the playoffs. They were swept in 4 games by the New Jersey Devils.

The Rangers were one of four NHL teams to open their 2008–09 season in Europe, playing in Bern, Switzerland and in Prague.

They won the President’s Trophy during the 2014-2015 season. They beat the Penguins and the Capitals, but were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games.

This past season they were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Penguins.

Notable Players:

  • Mark Messier
  • Brian Leetch
  • Adam Graves
  • Jean Ratelle
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Jaromir Jagr
  • Frank Boucher
  • Mike Richter
  • Henrik Lundqvist
  • Vic Hadfield
  • Harry Howell
  • Andy Bathgate
  • Mats Zucarello
  • Ryan McDonagh
  • Rick Nash

Most recently the team has struggled with an expensive and aging core. They have attempted to address this, trading Derick Brassard to the Senators in exchange for the younger, less expensive Mika Zibanejad earlier this week. A lackluster showing against the Penguins during these playoffs signify that maybe more change is coming.

Mark Messier after winning the Cup in 1994

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