New York Rangers

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 02:55

History of New York Rangers

Information about the NHL team New York Rangers.

Talk of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Original Six, New York American Hockey or anything about hockey, New York or Madison Square Garden, and one wouldn’t fail to hear about the New York Rangers in their blue shirts.

The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League Eastern Conference Atlantic Division is one of the oldest standing teams in the NHL. One of the original members of a group of hockey teams called the Original Six, the Rangers joined the NHL in 1926 as an expansion franchise. It has won the Stanley Cup four times in its history; the first of which gave them the honor of being the first NHL expansion franchise to win the Stanley Cup.

Playing under the management of Rickard

New York Americans joined the NHL and began playing in Madison Square Garden in 1925. Garden president Tex Rickard was allowed to put up a franchise and was off to play in the 1926-27 season. Rickard planned for his team to be called the New York Giants, but with the press nicknaming his team as Tex’s Rangers, the name Rangers stuck and the team became New York Rangers. Rickard took Conn Smythe to put up the team. (Smythe was to become the legendary owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.) However, he was fired when he had a conflict with Col. John S. Hammond, Rickard’s hockey man. He was replaced by Lester Patrick, co-founder of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

The Rangers bagged the Division Championship in their first year, but lost to the Boston Bruins in the finals. The team’s success turned its players into minor celebrities, making them attractions in the city’s vivacious night life. From then on, the Rangers earned for themselves another nickname: the Broadway Blueshirts.
Though they lost in the NHL playoffs in their first season, their second season was a blast.

The rangers won the Stanley Cup, besting the Montreal Maroons in 3-2. This victory was followed by another Stanley Cup triumph in the 1932-33 season, where the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was in the 1930s that Patrick was replaced by Frank Boucher as head coach. They won another Stanley Cup victory in 1940.

A decline in the mid-1940s

The Rangers’ line of victories declined in mid-1940s, losing a number of games and missing the playoffs for five seasons in a row. It only got rejuvenated in the late 1960s, marked by moving to a newly reconstructed Madison Square Garden. The Rangers made it to the playoffs again in 1967, owing to rookie goal tender Eddie Giacomin’s talent.

In the 1970s, the Rangers managed to reach the Finals twice, though the team lost in both instances, first to the Boston Bruins in 1972, then to the Canadians in 1979.

The Rangers gained another rival in 1972 when the New York Islanders entered the hockey scene after paying a territorial fee of about $4 million. They were defeated by the Islanders in the first round 11 seconds to the overtime in the third round of a three-game series. This match began the two teams’ rivalry that lasted for years and years.

The team’s growing number of failures in playoffs gave fans an idea that the Rangers were affected by a 1940 Curse either due to the Rangers management’s burning of the mortgage to Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup bowl after the Rangers’ victory, or to Red Dutton after the demise of the New York Americans franchise. The team’s early 1980s were marked by Islander fans jeering “1940! 1940!” at the Rangers.

Victory after 54 years

The 1993–94 Stanley Cup was an awakening potion to the Rangers’ fans as they won a Stanley Cup victory again after 54 years, headed by head coach Mike Keenan. Among the Oiler acquisitions that helped in this victory were Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Craig MacTavish, and Glenn Anderson. This feat set a new pace for the Rangers, beginning to climb back up the hockey ladder. However, Rangers players began to age, weakening the team yet again in the 1990s.

In the early 2000s, the Rangers invested on expensive hockey veterans, but seeing that the strategy did not work, new head coach Tom Renney turned to talented and young players. Among his acquisitions were Peter Prucha, Dominic Moore, and Blair Betts. The focus, however, was on veteran hockey superstar Jaromir Jagr.

With its long line of history comes a long list of Rangers, both players and coaches, who made it to the Hall of Fame. Almost every year since 1945, a hockey player who has, at one point or another, played in Rangers uniforms is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Among them are:

- Howie Morenz (1945)
- Bill Cook (1952)
- Frank Boucher and Ching Johnson (1958)
- Earl Siebert (1963)
- Doug Bentley Babe Siebert (1964)
- Max Bentley Babe Pratt (1966)
- Neil Colville (1967)
- Bryan Hextall (1969)
- Bill Gadsby (1970)
- Terry Sawchuk (1971)
- Bernie Geoffrion (1972)
- Doug Harvey and Chuck Rayner (1973)
- Art Coulter (1974)
- Johnny Bower (1976)
- Tim Horton (1977)
- Andy Bathgate and Jacques Plante (1978)
- Harry Howell (1979)
- Harry Lumley, Lynn Patrick, and Gump Worsley (1980)
- Allan Stanley (1981)
- Rod Gilbert (1982)
- Phil Esposito (1984)
- Jean Ratelle (1985)
- Eddie Giacomin (1987)
- Guy Lafleur, Buddy O'Connor, and Brad Park (1988)
- Clint Smith (1991)
- Marcel Dionne (1992)
- Edgar Laprade (1993)
- Bun Cook (1995)
- Glen Sather (1997)
- Wayne Gretzky (1999)
- Mike Gartner and Jari Kurri (2001)
- Pat LaFontaine (2003)
- Dick Duff (2006)
- Mark Messier (2007)
- Glenn Anderson (2008)

The New York Rangers have retired jersey numbers for some of their most valuable players: 1 for Eddie Giacomin, 2 for Brian Leetch, 3 for Harry Howell, 7 for Rod Gilbert, 9 for Adam Graves, 11 for Mark Messier, 35 for Mike Richter, and 99 for Wayne Gretzky.

Other achievements

Aside from four Stanley Cups, the Rangers also won a Victoria Cup, two Presidents' Trophies, and three Prince of Wales Trophies.

A number of rangers who have, at one point or another, been a part of the New York Rangers, also received various awards, distinctions, and trophies from various hockey institutions. Adam Graves, for one, received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in the 1993-94 hockey season.

The Rangers’ Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, Anders Hedberg, and Adam Graves each received a Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. On the other hand, Kilby MacDonald, Grant Warwick, Edgar Laprade, Pentti Lund, Gump Worsley, Camille Henry, Steve Vickers, and Brian Leetch each got a Calder Memorial Trophy.

The Rangers also has a number of Lester Patrick Trophy recipients: William M. Jennings, Terry Sawchuk, Phil Esposito, Fred Shero, Emile Francis, Lynn Patrick, Rod Gilbert, Frank Boucher, Brian Mullen, Herb Brooks, John Davidson, Brian Leetch, and John Halligan.

Buddy O'Connor, Chuck Rayner, Andy Bathgate, and Mark Messier each won a Hart Memorial Trophy; while Doug Harvey, Harry Howell, and Brian Leetch each received a James Norris Memorial Trophy.

The Rangers’ history is a picture of drastic highs and lows for a hockey team. Clinging to the same name from day one, everything that goes on in the team gets attached to the team’s reputation. Despite failures, particularly in its victory draught after the 1940s, the New York is still off to more decades of glides and dives for all its opponents and supporters.