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Rangers playing style in the 80s

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Old
01-23-2014, 11:23 AM
  #1
Tawnos
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Rangers playing style in the 80s

I didn't start becoming a hockey fan until the early-90s (elementary school for me) and my interest didn't explode until 93 or so. I've always been curious about the period of time preceding when I started paying attention. I can look at the rosters of the 80s teams and see what the players stats were. I can see that the team made the playoffs almost every season and made a Wales Conference Final in 86.

But what were the teams like? Was there a big difference between the teams when they went from Herb Brooks to Ted Sator... and then the Esposito/Bergeron debacles? Were the finesse or physical? What were they lacking compared to the Bruins, Flyers and Canadiens, especially in the later part of the decade?

Thoughts are appreciated from those who watched them.

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01-23-2014, 11:29 AM
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Janet? Can you give us some insight?

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01-23-2014, 11:38 AM
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True Blue
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The teams were never big. And mostly, they seemed to lack the sheer toughness of the others.

Which does not mean that they were not enjoyable. I do however recall a lot of torture at the hands of the Isles and Flyers.

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01-23-2014, 11:41 AM
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I got into them in the very late 80s and maybe I'm off here but I felt that the 80s Rangers were run like a B-level small market franchise where money was never spent.

The team had no superstars in the 80s just a bunch of solid B-level players. The closest they had was Beezer and maybe Sandstrom. Other than the Barry Beck trade and the Ridley/Miller for Carpenter fiasco, no big trades just a lot of smaller trades.

It was a very different era of course but it's a contrast to the 70s when they had Gilbert/Park/Rataelle or even later with Espo and the Swedes.

I know the early 80s teams before Brooks were very physical (the year they gooned it to the ECF in 1981 with Hospodar, Beck ,Fotiu, etc.) and then they became a skating team under Brooks.

They did make the playoffs 9/10 years in the 80s but that was when 16/20 teams got in. From 1984-85 to about 1987-88 they were pretty awful. The 86 team got hot and drew well and decided to play Sator's system for a few weeks but they hated that guy and vice versa.

They started getting physical again under Bergeron with Patterson, Nilan and then when Roger Neilson came in with King, Brotten, Jansens, etc.

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01-23-2014, 11:54 AM
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You never got the feeling that the team was a true contender back in the 80's.

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01-23-2014, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue View Post
You never got the feeling that the team was a true contender back in the 80's.
They always had to deal with the Islanders/Flyers in the early to mid 80s and then the Canadians and Flyers in the late 80s who were all deeper teams and then out West the Oilers and Flames.

They were pretty good in the early 80s just not as good as those other teams. Pretty similar to how they are now except this team spends. The way the playoff format was setup they always had to go through the Islanders and Flyers and they could beat one, but not the other.

The real shame in Rangers history that no one mentions is that if they trade that 1979 playoff run and beat the Islanders in 1981 instead, they absolutely smoke Minnesota in the Finals and win it all.

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01-23-2014, 12:44 PM
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The real shame in Rangers history that no one mentions is that if they trade that 1979 playoff run and beat the Islanders in 1981 instead, they absolutely smoke Minnesota in the Finals and win it all.
Maybe or maybe not. The real shame to me is that immediately following the playoff run, they traded away all of the core that got them there in efforts to get over the top. Sounds very familiar.

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01-23-2014, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
I didn't start becoming a hockey fan until the early-90s (elementary school for me) and my interest didn't explode until 93 or so. I've always been curious about the period of time preceding when I started paying attention.

They were called The Smurfs!

A tiny team that used its skill over any toughness. They were the closest thing to Euro hockey: skate up to the opposing team's blue line, if you can't keep on skating with the puck, back up to regroup and try again. Dump and chase? No such thing!

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01-23-2014, 02:08 PM
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Those Rangers were a fun team that always seemed to win 1 playoff series before getting beaten by one of the better teams. They overachieved and rarely lost to an inferior team in the playoffs.

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01-23-2014, 02:24 PM
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I still have my #16 Pavelich jersey. lol

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01-23-2014, 02:27 PM
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Glenn Hanlon was a decent goalie I remember. Was willie Huber there?

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01-23-2014, 02:31 PM
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Glenn Hanlon was a decent goalie I remember. Was willie Huber there?
Poddubny, Carey wilson, Mike Rogers, Kelly Kisio, Pavelich, Larouche, Ridley....They had a ton of offensively creative players in the 80's.

Of course the players (specifically the goialies) are light years better now than they were then so it's almost unfair to compare.

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01-23-2014, 02:32 PM
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Glenn Hanlon was a decent goalie I remember. Was willie Huber there?
Huber was # 27. Also had Gresch on D of course, as well as Reijo Ruotsalianen.

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01-23-2014, 02:58 PM
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God, the Garden was a dump back then. I just remember really skinny panes of glass, no scoreboard at center, and scrawny teams that were just good enough to get by. Lots of "1940."

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01-23-2014, 03:03 PM
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The Smurfs were fun to watch. Yes for the most part the were always towards the bottom of the NHL, with the exception the the 86 run. They made the playoffs every year, in those days you had to make the playoffs, before the first expansion there where 21 teams, 16 made the playoffs. In the patrick division 4 teams made the playoffs out of six, and with the Devils so bad that left 4 out of 5 making the playoffs (yes, Devs made there magic run 88, which knocked Rangers out last day of season when they beat the blackhawks).
I remember I went to a Ranger-Oilers game in 1987 and Rangers lost 7-6 against that great Oilers team, that game was unbelievable.

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01-23-2014, 03:43 PM
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The 80s are back it seems, if to be judged by Pat Leonards latest contribution.
A subtle touch that says this must be the American Olympic Uniform for 2014.

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01-23-2014, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McD27 View Post
Glenn Hanlon was a decent goalie I remember. Was willie Huber there?
Despite admitting he was decent, my father HATES Glenn Hanlon to this day for letting in the Ken Morrow OT goal vs. the Isles in the 84 playoffs. He says that goal was what finally made him go insane after so many losses to the early 80's Islanders.

Then, he smiles and happily rejoices about how the 84 Islanders got curb stomped by Edmonton in the finals.

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01-23-2014, 04:17 PM
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Smurfs




Quote:
Originally Posted by tawnos View Post
i didn't start becoming a hockey fan until the early-90s (elementary school for me) and my interest didn't explode until 93 or so. I've always been curious about the period of time preceding when i started paying attention. I can look at the rosters of the 80s teams and see what the players stats were. I can see that the team made the playoffs almost every season and made a wales conference final in 86.

But what were the teams like? Was there a big difference between the teams when they went from herb brooks to ted sator... And then the esposito/bergeron debacles? Were the finesse or physical? What were they lacking compared to the bruins, flyers and canadiens, especially in the later part of the decade?

Thoughts are appreciated from those who watched them.

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01-23-2014, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Bleed Ranger Blue View Post
Despite admitting he was decent, my father HATES Glenn Hanlon to this day for letting in the Ken Morrow OT goal vs. the Isles in the 84 playoffs.
I remember how late that game went. I had to sneak and watch it as it was way passed my bed time, but my parents were watching game downstairs. I just remember finally going to bed dejected.

The 80's teams had characters, but were short on success. The whole organization has been short on success and seems to always ice similar teams that fail in similar ways.

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01-23-2014, 04:24 PM
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I remember how late that game went. I had to sneak and watch it as it was way passed my bed time, but my parents were watching game downstairs. I just remember finally going to bed dejected.

The 80's teams had characters, but were short on success. The whole organization has been short on success and seems to always ice similar teams that fail in similar ways.
I was 2 years old, so I imagine I was asleep already. Just funny how my father talks about it 30 years later. I was just home this weekend and he mentioned it.

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01-23-2014, 04:25 PM
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In the 80's they were (almost) always competitive in the playoffs, regularly beating teams ahead of them in the standings. Then the next round reality would set in. The playoff series with the Islanders were epic.

Always had good goaltending, and went after big names - Pierre Larouche, Bobby Carpenter, Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner, Bernie Nicholls to name a few.

Then we drafted Leetch and Richter, Neil Smith made a genius free agent signing of Adam Graves (that cost us Troy Mallette in compensation) - and everything changed. Then Glen Sather made some trades to improve us, and the rest is history.

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01-23-2014, 04:48 PM
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Herb Brooks teams were all about puck possession. When they were on they were tough to beat--when not they weren't good at all. It seems like we always made the playoffs in the 80's even carried off some big upsets but the 80's teams weren't the toughest and we never really had elite players--unless you want to call Van Biesbrouck one.

There were some really good players--Barry Beck, Greschner, the Maloney brothers, Duguay went away and came back again, Anders Hedberg, Mark Pavelich, Reijo Ruotsolainen, Kelly Kisio, Sandstrom, Van Biesbrouck, Mike Rogers, James Patrick, Ogrodnick, Brian Mullen, Podubny, Pierre Larouche--none of them are going to the HOF. Ridley wasn't around more than a couple seasons--ditto Kelly Miller both dealt to the Caps for Bobby Carpenter--one of the most ****ed up deals since I've been following the team.

After Brooks came Ted Sator--Sator's personnel decisions were just ****ing horrible. Pierre Larouche was sent to the minors. He constantly ****ed with Mark Pavelich to the point that Pavelich just walked off the team part way through the year. Barry Beck wanted out. Ruotsolainen wanted out. These were all core guys. Beck retired very young after that year. Ruotsolainen went back to Europe--later joined the Oilers and won a couple cups. Somehow his team managed to make the playoffs though he was forced to recall Larouche with about 20-25 games to go in the regular season who went on a real tear down the stretch to save the season. They did well in the playoffs. If I remember right Sator did another season and then got canned.


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Old
01-23-2014, 04:54 PM
  #23
Tawnos
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A lot of great responses in this thread. Thanks! Finesse team. Not a lot of size or physicality, except for the early 80s teams. Playoff team that can win rounds, but not go all the way. Sounds like today a little bit.

Does anyone happen to know what the feeling was about the Dave Gagner trade? Was definitely one of those trades that turned out awful for the Rangers.

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01-23-2014, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
A lot of great responses in this thread. Thanks! Finesse team. Not a lot of size or physicality, except for the early 80s teams. Playoff team that can win rounds, but not go all the way. Sounds like today a little bit.

Does anyone happen to know what the feeling was about the Dave Gagner trade? Was definitely one of those trades that turned out awful for the Rangers.
Gagner was given plenty of chances with the Rangers. He finally blossomed after they traded him but I don't think it was looked at as a disastrous trade it was more of a player that finally made he when left the Rangers. He was a first rounder with plenty of potential but it was not meant to be with the Rangers. Sometimes that happens. I think he was in the Rangers system for about 5-6 years before he was traded.

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01-23-2014, 05:09 PM
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Looked up Larouche on wikipedia. Sator sent him to Hershey of the AHL--not even the Rangers farm team. He intended to bury him. Larouche was a legit NHL goalscorer. It would be like the Blackhawks sending Patrick Sharp to our Hartford team. Larouche finally got recalled and scored 20 goals in 28 games down the homestretch. The Rangers would not have made the playoffs that year. That **** is unreal.

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