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Old
01-05-2012, 03:39 AM
  #1
Al Bundy*
 
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1997 Rangers

Greetings, Ranger fans.

Wanted to bring up something that I've wondered for a while: the last playoff team before the lockout (1997).

What if they had gotten by Philadelphia in the 1997 NHL East Finals and faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals?

You would have had Gretzky and Messier, the team going for a 2nd Cup in 4 years, Detroit trying to break a then-42 year Cup drought.

Does Detroit still win the Cup or Could the Rangers have found a way to make it 2 Cups in a handful of years? (That wasn't a powerhouse Wing team- Detroit was 3rd in the West and The Rangers had the same number of wins- 38)

Does another Cup Finals appearance mean that Messier possibly stay in NY and not go to Vancouver?

Could that change the ensuing bad fortune of Ranger hockey up until the lockout?

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Old
01-05-2012, 03:44 AM
  #2
Callagraves
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You sir, bring a myriad of interesting, difficult questions.

Trouble is, i was seven at the time, so I really don't know.

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01-05-2012, 03:53 AM
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That '97 team was so beat up and injured, there was no way we were getting past Philadelphia, or Detroit in the final.

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01-05-2012, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draft Guru View Post
That '97 team was so beat up and injured, there was no way we were getting past Philadelphia, or Detroit in the final.
Yep, everybody got hurt on that run. Plus the Zubov and Norstrom trades had already gone down. That was the last gasp of a doomed, aging team.

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01-05-2012, 06:16 AM
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White Plains Batman
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Yup, that team was old and was the last hoorah before the dark ages.

As mentioned before, Zubov and Norstorm were gone, Verbeek was not resigned (and in truth that draft pick traded for him turned out to be JS Gigure but Smith was very interested in Jay McKee so he would've helped....a lot!), Kovalev was out with a knee injury, and every round there was an injury or someone missing;

-Paul Laus cheap-shotted Bill Berg and broke his leg
-John MaClean slashed Sundstrom and broke his wrist
-Poor Alexander Karpotsev's (RIP) mother passed during the ECF so he had to go back to Russia of course.

Between all that you had guys like Dallas Eakins and Ken Gernander playing significant minutes up, and guys like Leetch (frozen wrist) and Robataille were just so beat up they couldn't do very much.

So if fully healthy the ECF would have gone 6-7 games and maybe Richter steals it, but who knows about playing Detroit. It would have been much more interesting then a sweep of Philly.

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01-05-2012, 06:43 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Plains Batman View Post
Yup, that team was old and was the last hoorah before the dark ages.

As mentioned before, Zubov and Norstorm were gone, Verbeek was not resigned (and in truth that draft pick traded for him turned out to be JS Gigure but Smith was very interested in Jay McKee so he would've helped....a lot!), Kovalev was out with a knee injury, and every round there was an injury or someone missing;

-Paul Laus cheap-shotted Bill Berg and broke his leg
-John MaClean slashed Sundstrom and broke his wrist
-Poor Alexander Karpotsev's (RIP) mother passed during the ECF so he had to go back to Russia of course.

Between all that you had guys like Dallas Eakins and Ken Gernander playing significant minutes up, and guys like Leetch (frozen wrist) and Robataille were just so beat up they couldn't do very much.

So if fully healthy the ECF would have gone 6-7 games and maybe Richter steals it, but who knows about playing Detroit. It would have been much more interesting then a sweep of Philly.

If I'm remembering correctly, Kovalev was ready to come back in the lineup if the Rangers were to advance to the Cup finals.

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01-05-2012, 07:22 AM
  #7
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Kirk Muller took out Bill Berg. Soupy Campbell was whining about a slew-foot

Quote:
"Muller slew-footed him and that's the worst thing you can do in hockey," Campbell said. "I'd rather get speared than slew-footed. It was just an irresponsible play by Kirk Muller."

Muller insisted he did not intend to injure Berg. Said Muller: "It was coincidental contact. We were just battling. I play a physical game but I don't play a dirty game. Things happen sometimes.

"The guy is playing well and I'm sure (Campbell) is upset at losing him. But I don't want to see him get hurt either. If (Campbell) thinks I'm trying to break a guy's ankle, obviously no."
http://articles.nydailynews.com/1997...rk-muller-slew

I was at game 4 of the Rangers-Debbies in 1997. Section 402. Across the Rangers bench. John MacLean slashed Niklas Sundstrom right at the Rangers bench. We saw it. The NHL didn't have a clear video of the play. No suspension.

That team wasn't very good. They had one big streak which propelled them into a playoff spot.

The Rangers won game 2 in Philly but Brian Leetch hurt his wrist late in that game. Trent Klatt hit him from behind. Klatt also concussed his brother in law Ken Gernander. Klatt always gave the Rangers a hard time.

Quote:
Brian Leetch, who is the rear engine on this team, has been forced to cut his minutes and his dashes to the forefront. He has a sore wrist after a Game 2 slam from Trent Klatt.

"You've seen Brian Leetch play for a long time," Colin Campbell said. "That was not Brian Leetch tonight."

Klatt, a 210-pound bruiser, nailed Ken Gernander last night, smashed him into the boards and gave Gernander a concussion. Gernander left the game trying to remember what series this was. He had a sling on his right arm, too, a possible shoulder separation.
http://articles.nydailynews.com/1997...cup-semifinals

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01-05-2012, 09:38 AM
  #8
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That 97 run was fun. I had no idea, at the time, that would be the last playoff appearance until post lockout. Injuries took a toll on the team. I never knew Kovalev was ready to come back. I always thought the Russ Courtnall trade was to replace the offense that was lost with Kovalev.

I read a book by Carpinello called Messier: Dragon Slayer, Messier was very upset with Neil Smith when the Nemchinov/Noonan for Tikkanen/Courtnall trade happened. I learned Messier was a big supporter of Sergei Nemchinov and remain good friends. Yet, I thought Tikkanen was one of Messier's boys.

Tikkanen had a great playoff that year. MSG sometimes replays the game where Tikkanen scores in OT and the refs let the game play. Tikkanen knew he scored. After the whistle, they are reviewing the goal and there is a shot of Tikkanen with a huge smile on his face and his arm around Richter.

Mike Eastwood, Dallas Eakins.

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01-05-2012, 11:28 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Plains Batman View Post
Yup, that team was old and was the last hoorah before the dark ages.

As mentioned before, Zubov and Norstorm were gone, Verbeek was not resigned (and in truth that draft pick traded for him turned out to be JS Gigure but Smith was very interested in Jay McKee so he would've helped....a lot!), Kovalev was out with a knee injury, and every round there was an injury or someone missing;

-Paul Laus cheap-shotted Bill Berg and broke his leg
-John MaClean slashed Sundstrom and broke his wrist
-Poor Alexander Karpotsev's (RIP) mother passed during the ECF so he had to go back to Russia of course.

Between all that you had guys like Dallas Eakins and Ken Gernander playing significant minutes up, and guys like Leetch (frozen wrist) and Robataille were just so beat up they couldn't do very much.

So if fully healthy the ECF would have gone 6-7 games and maybe Richter steals it, but who knows about playing Detroit. It would have been much more interesting then a sweep of Philly.
I never forgave him for that which is why I puked in my mouth a little when I heard we signed him. I was so happy when he flopped as a coach as well, bad karma baby.

That 97 team was real good but the injuries were just too much. Gretzky was amazing that whole run and scored the hatty in our only win in the series. Det was a very good team, Lidstrom, Federov, Larionov, Yzerman, among others they were much much deeper than the NYR so no I think DET wins it that year either way it shook out.

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Old
01-05-2012, 11:48 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewcon40 View Post
That 97 run was fun. I had no idea, at the time, that would be the last playoff appearance until post lockout. Injuries took a toll on the team. I never knew Kovalev was ready to come back. I always thought the Russ Courtnall trade was to replace the offense that was lost with Kovalev.

I read a book by Carpinello called Messier: Dragon Slayer, Messier was very upset with Neil Smith when the Nemchinov/Noonan for Tikkanen/Courtnall trade happened. I learned Messier was a big supporter of Sergei Nemchinov and remain good friends. Yet, I thought Tikkanen was one of Messier's boys.

Tikkanen had a great playoff that year. MSG sometimes replays the game where Tikkanen scores in OT and the refs let the game play. Tikkanen knew he scored. After the whistle, they are reviewing the goal and there is a shot of Tikkanen with a huge smile on his face and his arm around Richter.

Mike Eastwood, Dallas Eakins.
Such great memories. Tikkanen did have a great playoff that year. Along with the goal you mentioned, he scored the series-clinching goal to eliminate the Beezer's Panthers in OT, and I also remember him scoring a laser of a snapshot on a breakaway against Brodeur in I think Game 5 (the game that Graves did his best Matteau impression and eliminated the Devils with yet another OT wraparound goal on Brodeur.)

Gretzky also had a hat trick against the Panthers and against the Flyers. Russ Courtnall played well for us, despite being more remembered for the trade that saw us loose Nemchinov and Noonan.

As others have said, we were so banged up in the Philly series, that we probably would've still lost to Detroit, but you never know. That's part of the beauty of the game. Anything can happen. The tiniest differenes can have huge implications. Maybe Yzerman steps on Messier's stick and breaks his ankle and we go on to win the Cup. Plus, I think Richter could've stopped McCarty's cup-winning goal. You never know. 97 was still a magical run and I feel lucky to have lived through it.

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