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"Older" fans: how does the atmosphere/build-up in NY compare to '94?

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05-31-2014, 06:57 PM
  #1
Krams
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"Older" fans: how does the atmosphere/build-up in NY compare to '94?

I'm not sure if being around to remember 1994 really qualifies you as an 'older' fan, but it's twenty years ago now, and a large portion of the fan base--particularly here on the internet--was too young to experience the Rangers' last cup appearance.

As somebody who was born just months after Messier lifted the cup, my question is:

How does the overall atmosphere/hype in the metropolitan area surrounding the team right now compare to '94? In the press, at your local bar, on the streets, etc.

My father always told me that the entire city of New York was absolutely Rangers-crazy in '94. Jerseys everywhere, talk and pride of the city, local media couldn't get enough. Perhaps he was overstating it, but I'm not sure I'm seeing that level of excitement yet, especially amongst New Yorkers who generally aren't hockey fans.

Is it too early? Or am I just expecting too much? How does it compare for you?

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05-31-2014, 07:11 PM
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Totally different. People went nuts 20 years ago, which makes a lot of sense. We were the Cubs of the NHL. Chants of 1940 were a regular occurrence. People had waited 54 years. Very few were alive who had seen the previous victory.

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05-31-2014, 07:17 PM
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THE BIG WHISTLE
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Totally different. People went nuts 20 years ago, which makes a lot of sense. We were the Cubs of the NHL. Chants of 1940 were a regular occurrence. People had waited 54 years. Very few were alive who had seen the previous victory.
I think it would have been even crazier if the Knicks weren't in the NBA Finals

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05-31-2014, 07:24 PM
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I think it would have been even crazier if the Knicks weren't in the NBA Finals
I didn't even take that into consideration. Totally slipped my mind. Makes the hype surrounding '94 even more impressive.

That being said, I'm a bit surprised that New Yorkers haven't latched onto this team a bit more. Other than the Rangers right now, sports in New York right now is really bleak. Islanders suck. Baseball is pretty unexciting. Mets look like they're heading towards another disappointing season, and the Yankees aren't faring much better. Not much hype about the Jets/Giants. The Knicks are terribad and the Nets are too new to the area to really evoke any sort of pride/identity within long-time New Yorkers.

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05-31-2014, 07:25 PM
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Yeah. This year is much different. The ECF im against the Devils was just an epic, crazy thing that got everyone engaged. The team was also led by two very big personalities (Messier and Keenan). Hockey was also more popular back then with Gretzky in L.A. and still in his prime.

That said, I was also just 13 years old, so of course I was more excited than I am now, so that might be biasing my assessment a little.

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05-31-2014, 07:25 PM
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In 94' the team was stacked and expected to compete for the cup. Also the conference finals featured two local teams so the atmosphere and local coverage was huge. This team kind of snuck up on everyone more like the 79' team, neither was expected to be here.

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05-31-2014, 07:25 PM
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Totally different. People went nuts 20 years ago, which makes a lot of sense. We were the Cubs of the NHL. Chants of 1940 were a regular occurrence. People had waited 54 years. Very few were alive who had seen the previous victory.
This^ ! As well as the Rangers regular season record. People had high expectations. Once we got in and dominated the Isles and Caps, the city went absolutely crazy!

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05-31-2014, 07:27 PM
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Rangers had big stars back then. Messier-Leetch. The team was quite a lot deeper than the current one and there were larger expectations. They cruised through the regular season and the playoffs--at least until they hit the Devils--then things got really, really tense--it was a roller coaster ride from thereon in until the final game with Vancouver. About a month's worth of manic depression isn't really a fun experience. A lot of Rangers fans were going mental. It was our year and all the fear and depression came out every time we lost a game. Anyway--euphoria afterwards--literally--figuratively too.

This year's team is just a frigging surprise. The way I looked at--first round I thought we should beat the Flyers--we were a better team, better goalie, home ice advantage and we had our problems with them but finally won. The Penguins in the second round--push comes to shove I thought the Penguins would prevail. I thought the Rangers could beat them--but they'd have to keep Malkin and Crosby from doing much damage and there was decent reason to think that wouldn't happen. Fleury can be shaky and the Pens d unit wasn't that great. Us getting to 6-7 games with them and losing would have been meeting expectations but a decent shot of winning the series. We won--so right there we'd surpassed how far I thought this team would go--but I didn't expect the Canadiens to beat the Bruins. With Price I looked at the Canadiens Rangers as 50/50 even with them having home ice. Collectively I didn't think they were a better team than us.

So we're way beyond my expectations and it's almost happened by stealth. Mostly a fun ride--without all that much anguish compared to 1994. This series coming up is going to be really hard for us to do. I think it's a must that the Rangers win one of the first two on the road--even if they split at home after. The further we can ride the series out the better our chances.

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05-31-2014, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KOVALEV022473 View Post
This^ ! As well as the Rangers regular season record. People had high expectations. Once we got in and dominated the Isles and Caps, the city went absolutely crazy!
Yup, there was a lot of hype surrounding that team from the get go. I remember casual fans hopping on the bandwagon before the playoffs even started.

And there was a lot of media coverage in NY not only because of the curse and the team winning the President's Trophy, but because of the local matchups. With the Rangers playing both the Islanders and the Devils, it was a very tristate area-focused playoff run.

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05-31-2014, 07:37 PM
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Much bigger in 94. It probably had to do with the long drought and also that team was a juggernaut that steamrolled through the regular season, plus even with the internet nowadays, that team just got more press overall.

Everyone was Rangers crazy then. This team was much more under the radar.

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05-31-2014, 07:47 PM
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Last time, the first two rounds were a party: beating up on the Isles and Washington after so many years of one or the other team destroying any chance of getting out of the Patrick division. And then there was the Devils series...

Another thing--MSG had broadcast rights for the whole post-season. You saw every game with "family". I still remember Emile Francis coming on between periods during several of the overtime games. I think that made a difference too.

Plus, it was the days before the internet, so people were actually reading the same newspapers and watching the same news/sports programs. It was much easier for bandwagon fans to catch on and get excited--with so many ways to get information now, it's just not the same. People don't share experiences in the same way.

And finally, that year was special--winning the Stanley Cup got rid of a lot of ghosts that had accumulated over 54 years. It was truly a special experience and feeling.

This one is different, but that's OK.

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05-31-2014, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krams View Post
I didn't even take that into consideration. Totally slipped my mind. Makes the hype surrounding '94 even more impressive.

That being said, I'm a bit surprised that New Yorkers haven't latched onto this team a bit more. Other than the Rangers right now, sports in New York right now is really bleak. Islanders suck. Baseball is pretty unexciting. Mets look like they're heading towards another disappointing season, and the Yankees aren't faring much better. Not much hype about the Jets/Giants. The Knicks are terribad and the Nets are too new to the area to really evoke any sort of pride/identity within long-time New Yorkers.
I moved away from the NYC area in 1998, but go back at least once a year to visit family, and try to catch a Ranger game.

Something I've noticed is that the makeup of the city is very different. It seems like while baseball was always the #1 sport in New York, it is now talked about 24/7. I can be driving on I-78 just east of Harrisburg a week before Christmas, come into range of WFAN, and they're arguing over who's going to be the Mets' fourth starter. This with the Giants having a game for the division title on Sunday, the Knicks on a four-game winning streak, and the Rangers leading the division.

Back in '94, and previous, sports radio was SPORTS radio, and there would be talk about all the sports; baseball would dominate, but you'd get hockey talk every now and again. My brother-in-law is a big Ranger fan, living in the town in Jersey where I grew up, and he says that any kids in my nieces' classes that follow hockey are Devil fans or Penguin (Crosby) fans.

Hockey in New York always seemed to be a fairly large cult following that occasionally would grow with the Rangers success. Unfortunately, due to economics, a lot of people like me who were and still are die-hards, moved away, and the numbers that once were there have shrunk.

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05-31-2014, 07:51 PM
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Uh, we haven't won yet.

I think you guys are comparing your memories of winning The Cup to where we are right now which is not quite there yet.

If we win this thing the. City will blow up! You ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Hank, MSL and Brad Richards on Letterman. Book it.

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05-31-2014, 07:52 PM
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One more thing:

As eco mentioned, one thing that was especially annoying in the years before 1994 was listening to the 1040 chants--especially on Long Island. I will always remember the first game back there in 1995: there was stop in play towards the end of the first period--want to guess the time? Yep, 19:40. And there was absolutely no sound from the Isles crowd.

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05-31-2014, 08:01 PM
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'94 was as big a drama as I can recall. The tension was incredible. Many Flames fans here in Calgary hated the Canucks, and backed the Rangers. Many fell in line with supporting the team from Canada.

This season, it feels more like every non-Rangers fan just blinks and says "The Rangers?" Like they forgot they even existed, never mind that so many (not all by any means) just parrot things they have heard.

The lead-up to the '94 win was simply epic. Of course, I was younger and that's part of it, and that was the first time I witnessed my beloved Rangers hoist Lord Stanley's silverware.
Hopefully this will be my second, but it's a different experience for me out here.

I really hope it mounts and builds in NYC.

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05-31-2014, 08:03 PM
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The long drought had the city aching foe the cup. But with the President's trophy and the deadline deals it felt like it was destiny. We steamrolled the first two rounds and were set to face the devils, and I expected another easy win since we stomped NJ 6-0 in the regular season.

That series being one of the best in NHL history had the team under the country's microscope.

So now, no huge cup drought. The team caught everyone by surprise so the hype is almost nil.

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05-31-2014, 08:18 PM
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Last time, the first two rounds were a party: beating up on the Isles and Washington after so many years of one or the other team destroying any chance of getting out of the Patrick division. And then there was the Devils series...

Another thing--MSG had broadcast rights for the whole post-season. You saw every game with "family". I still remember Emile Francis coming on between periods during several of the overtime games. I think that made a difference too.

Plus, it was the days before the internet, so people were actually reading the same newspapers and watching the same news/sports programs. It was much easier for bandwagon fans to catch on and get excited--with so many ways to get information now, it's just not the same. People don't share experiences in the same way.

And finally, that year was special--winning the Stanley Cup got rid of a lot of ghosts that had accumulated over 54 years. It was truly a special experience and feeling.

This one is different, but that's OK.
That's a good point about MSG televising all the games. I wonder 'if' the Rangers win the Cup you're going to be seeing replays of any of these games that NBC owns the rights to. The Rangers have gotten their money's worth out of their own 1994 broadcasts and they were fun to re-watch for a couple-three seasons afterwards.

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One more thing:

As eco mentioned, one thing that was especially annoying in the years before 1994 was listening to the 1040 chants--especially on Long Island. I will always remember the first game back there in 1995: there was stop in play towards the end of the first period--want to guess the time? Yep, 19:40. And there was absolutely no sound from the Isles crowd.
Somebody else mentioned the 1940 thing. We used to get serenaded with that all the time--especially from Islanders fans when we visited their rink but there were other places too. That went on for years and years. Even those who taunt don't like to be taunted.

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05-31-2014, 08:33 PM
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My god the. "1940" was relentless, we got it from everyone, but the Island was the worst. Thank god we dispelled that ghost. Nothing will ever beat that feeling.

"This one will last a lifetime"

And it will

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05-31-2014, 08:38 PM
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It definitely feels different being the underdogs instead of the top dog. With all the old Edmonton boys playing, there was a lot of metered determination and leadership in our locker room. It was also a top heavy lineup. I don't remember the 4th line getting much ice time. This team is built around speed and 4 solid, rotating lines. It was also a different era of hockey.

The defense these days is a lot better. I remember the refs being better back then too. Fraser, Koharski, Van Hellemond, and my favorite Paul Stewart! you always knew you'd get a good game called with that crew. It's more of a feeling than memory. Maybe some of the old-timers here can tell me I remembered it wrong. With one ref on the ice, they had to be better.

It's also really funny how many enemies our opponents have that they flood in and root for us. PLEASE BEAT THE PENGUINS! PLEASE BEAT THE HABS! And I think because we are an honest hard working team, MSL, and Hank, it's easy for other fans to be rooting for us this post season.

Our classic rivalries have really not been all what they've been in the past. There is the 54 year thing people touch on but holy smokes, not having Sam and JD, that's like something that really stands out to me.

I remember Pavel Bure being absolutely frightening. In a way, Patrick Kane is very much like Bure... can't say who is faster though. In my memory, Bure was but it's hard to say without a side-by-side. Anyways, the point is, I'm not terrified of Patrick Kane. Leetch-Beuke, Karpy-Zubov was our top 4 back then. A much more offense oriented blue line. With McD-G, Staal-Stralman - especially having already shut down Giroux, Crosby, Malkin, which ever team makes it through will of course have a great line up (unless they kill each other in game 7! ) but I know we can shut them down.

I also get the feeling that most of NYC won't care until we are 1 game away from clinching while back in 94, the whole Messier guarantee thing got EVERYONE into the drama of the finals. The drama of the Matteau goal. Rangers winning aside, it was one of the most memorable NHL finals. That post 94 lockout was absolutely the worst thing to happen to hockey in that era. So much interest in the sport at that point and then

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05-31-2014, 08:45 PM
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1994:

-Hockey was more enjoyable in general

-The seats were more comfortable

-Smaller corporate seat area [Red Seats became Dark Purple]

-No Smartphones

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05-31-2014, 08:46 PM
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I would think with all the social media these days that there will be more hype around this Finals than in 94.

You can reach more (potential) fans these days.

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05-31-2014, 08:56 PM
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It was a more blood and guts kind of game back then, too. More wide-open, with some incredible (totally illegal now) hitting. People did not talk about systems as much.

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05-31-2014, 09:04 PM
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You have to put 1994 in a different context. First you have the whole "1940" aspect, which, as others pointed out, many long-time fans never believed they'd see a Ranger Cup-winning team in their lifetime. The ghosts that needed to be slayed that season were monumental. It colored everything. It was such a burden to carry around that post-season, especially in the last two rounds. Plus, for many of us, the 1992 was more talented and more complete, especially up front. Many of us believed that the 1992 team should have been the one to challenge for the Cup. Add in the total disappointment of the 1992-93 season, including the disappointment of losing out on Lindros, and there was so much weight on the shoulders of that team. And, you also had Smith essentially re-making the team three weeks away from the start of the playoffs,,,that team HAD to win. Like Brooklyn Ranger said, the first two series were a cakewalk, although "the dragon" as Messier dubbed it, reared it's ugly head in game 5 against the Caps when Kevin Hatcher scored on a shot just inside the blueline, reminding many of us of the Ron Francis goal two years prior. It was the series against the Devils where the anxiety started. I had nights where I could not fall asleep. From my vantage point nothing can ever equal that sports moment in my life again. Believe me, I fully have cherished this run. I love this current squad, and many of the players are players I wanted to see in a Ranger uniform, either through drafting and development, or through trades. But, that run actually vaulted hockey into 3rd place among the big four pro sports league, past the NBA, for a brief and shining moment. It was transcendent in so many ways. Just enjoy and savor the ride.

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05-31-2014, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Blueshirt Special View Post
Uh, we haven't won yet.

I think you guys are comparing your memories of winning The Cup to where we are right now which is not quite there yet.

If we win this thing the. City will blow up! You ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Hank, MSL and Brad Richards on Letterman. Book it.
I agree with this assessment. We're comparing apples to oranges as far as the timeline goes. The Rangers beat another underdog team in the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games....great! But against a storyline of a dramatic double overtime Game 7 victory against hated local rivals, with our Captain guaranteeing victory in Game 6, and all the Cup curse drama? It can't compete. Of course there was more buzz then!

Wait 'til the Stanley Cup Final heats up a bit though, especially if the Rangers are leading the series after Game 4. That's when you capture lots of casual fans. Game 7 is when you get tons of non-hockey fans as well. And we'll be playing either the 2nd or 3rd largest (and Original 6) market in the country. That should help drive interest.

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05-31-2014, 09:46 PM
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I think the question is how does it feel today compared to the '94 cup run.

Nothing has been won, but it is a Cup run. Perfectly legitimate to talk about.

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