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The 1992-93 New York Rangers. What happened?

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06-08-2014, 10:05 PM
  #1
Jinsell
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The 1992-93 New York Rangers. What happened?

Between the New York Rangers' two President's Trophy wins in 1991-92 and 1993-94 was a very dismal 1992-93 season. Looking back it appears to simply be an aberration but it's hard to believe a team with the roster it had would decline so sharply only to rebound the following year and win the Stanley Cup. I guess what I'm wondering is what exactly happened for the Rangers to have such a disappointing campaign in 1992-93? I'd imagine the absence of Brian Leetch for all but 36 games played a big role, but there's got to be more.

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06-08-2014, 10:45 PM
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First of three years I had season tickets at MSG. Not an NYR fan, but a hockey fan and lived within walking distance of the Garden so....Hit it rich in '94 getting to see the Cup Final and what not.

Anyway, yes, Leetch's slip on ice that winter (legend has it after few drinks out late after a game) spelled the end of NYR's hopes. Later in the season Messier rebelled against Roger Neilson and the team followed his lead in basically selling out the season. Neilson was canned before the season ended and they mailed it in under interim coach Ron Smith.

Also of a somewhat lesser note, they traded Tie Domi and Chris King to Winnipeg near the end of calendar year '92 for Eddie Olczyk, a deal that took toughness and personality out of NYR's room and replaced it with a guy who contributed little.

Neil Smith wised up and hired the most demanding coach alive at that time. No nonsense Mike Keenan turned them around immediately. The 1992-93 season was a lost one, to be sure.


Last edited by Trottier: 06-08-2014 at 10:51 PM.
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06-08-2014, 11:50 PM
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Art of Sedinery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
First of three years I had season tickets at MSG. Not an NYR fan, but a hockey fan and lived within walking distance of the Garden so....Hit it rich in '94 getting to see the Cup Final and what not.

Anyway, yes, Leetch's slip on ice that winter (legend has it after few drinks out late after a game) spelled the end of NYR's hopes. Later in the season Messier rebelled against Roger Neilson and the team followed his lead in basically selling out the season. Neilson was canned before the season ended and they mailed it in under interim coach Ron Smith.

Also of a somewhat lesser note, they traded Tie Domi and Chris King to Winnipeg near the end of calendar year '92 for Eddie Olczyk, a deal that took toughness and personality out of NYR's room and replaced it with a guy who contributed little.

Neil Smith wised up and hired the most demanding coach alive at that time. No nonsense Mike Keenan turned them around immediately. The 1992-93 season was a lost one, to be sure.
What a great leader.

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06-09-2014, 12:11 AM
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I think another problem the Rangers had, or at least some people attributed to them, was dressing room issues due to players knowing they were part of the trade that would have sent Lindros to the Rangers.

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06-09-2014, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Art of Sedinery View Post
What a great leader.
That snide comment would pack more punch if they didn't totally win the Stanley Cup with Mark Messier and without Roger Neilson the next year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times; January 5, 1993
"I don't want to coach the team," Messier said. "But sometimes, you should be doing something different. We were predictable, and our record showed that."

Matters had disintegrated so far, Neilson revealed yesterday, that he held a secret meeting on Friday night in Pittsburgh, asking three players to take over the leadership role from Messier. In addition to Mike Gartner, one of those players was Messier's closest friend on the team, Adam Graves, and the third was his roommate, Kevin Lowe. Messier was bound to find out about the session, and he did.

"Our relationship had deteriorated, and holding meetings behind my back, that wasn't the right thing to do," said Messier, who was told about the meeting by Lowe. "I'm captain until someone takes it away from me."

Messier was absolutely livid about the notion that he might have subverted Neilson purposefully with some sloppy play of late. Messier said his recent mistakes, which had led to a minus-12 ice rating on the season, were caused by torn muscles in his ribs, which have been bothering him for the past two months.

"I've heard those rumors about quitting, and it's criminal to think that," Messier said. "I have an obligation to my teammates on and off the ice."

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06-09-2014, 06:31 AM
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The 2nd post (above) is bang-on, I think. The fact that management tried to trade a bunch of players for Lindros also didn't help, yes.

The dressing-room issues with Messier and Nielsen are over-stated, I would guess. None of us was there or knows what went on behind closed doors. Nielsen might have been a great hockey mind, but based on his persona on hockey-broadcasts in the past, I never had the impression that he was, socially, the sharpest knife in the drawer (I realize I'm speculating, but that's the clear impression I had). And anyone would have to say that holding a meeting with Graves and Lowe (basically Messier's two closest friends) to try to convince them to depose Messier is not only wrong-headed but unbelievably stupid. I can't believe that Messier had that much power over the team when Neil Smith next hired Iron Mike to coach them... I don't think he would have been Messier's choice.

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06-09-2014, 07:03 AM
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DisgruntledGoat
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Originally Posted by Art of Sedinery View Post
What a great leader.
He put his reputation on the line for the sake of winning. He personally had nothing to gain by clashing with Neilson, as he was already a HOFer and four-time champion. Why risk being branded a 'coach-killer'? Because that's what had to happen to win a Cup.

I'd prefer that in a leader over going the Linden route; carefully protecting your public image while achieving nothing.

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06-09-2014, 07:45 AM
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I'd prefer that in a leader over going the Linden route; carefully protecting your public image while achieving nothing.
Are you implying that Linden intentionally chose a less effective path of leadership for the sake of preserving his public image?

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06-11-2014, 08:18 AM
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I believe Tie Domi admitted that a bunch of players were still bitter about being included in the Lindros trade and that got the Rangers off to a bad start. Obviously Leetch missing half the season didn't help either.

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06-11-2014, 12:51 PM
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What Lindros trade are you talking about?

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06-11-2014, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinsell View Post
Between the New York Rangers' two President's Trophy wins in 1991-92 and 1993-94 was a very dismal 1992-93 season. Looking back it appears to simply be an aberration but it's hard to believe a team with the roster it had would decline so sharply only to rebound the following year and win the Stanley Cup. I guess what I'm wondering is what exactly happened for the Rangers to have such a disappointing campaign in 1992-93? I'd imagine the absence of Brian Leetch for all but 36 games played a big role, but there's got to be more.
The thing is, it wasn't just that Leetch was injured on that D. Beukeboom was the only defenseman to play more than 60 games. Zubov was up and down. Lowe didn't come in until December. Patrick and Wells each missed a quarter of the season from injury. Hardy and Cirella, important players on the President's Trophy team, took steps backwards.

So, beyond a lot of what's been mentioned about locker room issues and Neilson having run his course... there were roster structure issues to boot.

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06-11-2014, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbuffalo313 View Post
What Lindros trade are you talking about?
This one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The New York Times; July 1, 1992
Rangers had offered John Vanbiesbrouck, Tony Amonte, Doug Weight, Aleksei Kovalev, first-round draft picks in 1993, 1994, and 1996, and $12 million. If Vanbiesbrouck was declared an unrestricted free agent, he would have been replaced in the package by James Patrick.

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06-11-2014, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
This one:
Yup. And Quebec accepted the Rangers offer after accepting Philly's (there was a question of timing there) and it went to arbitration. So not only did the Rangers offer those players, they then fought in arbitration for the trade to be valid.

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06-11-2014, 01:38 PM
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Art of Sedinery
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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
He put his reputation on the line for the sake of winning. He personally had nothing to gain by clashing with Neilson, as he was already a HOFer and four-time champion. Why risk being branded a 'coach-killer'? Because that's what had to happen to win a Cup.

I'd prefer that in a leader over going the Linden route; carefully protecting your public image while achieving nothing.
I understand that my comment may not be the most accurate, but I literally have no idea what the Linden comment is supposed to mean...

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06-11-2014, 03:29 PM
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Thanks guys. I didn't know we offered a trade for him back then.

If we did get him, do you think we still would have won?

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06-11-2014, 03:40 PM
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Biggest issue was the team was set up to be an aggressive forecheck/rush attack team and Neilson had them play passively.

Messier in particular was bothered by this.

A good amount of them had nagging injuries all year.

The goalies ran bad.

In a minor point, some of the big minute guys on the team were also sort of soft, while the guys that weren't were often pure goons (Domi, King, Kocur). The roster was kind of a fantasy hockey construction before fantasy hockey, or maybe more of one of those teams you see put together in the trades forum. (Big young skill at the top, facepunchers at the bottom, profit).

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06-11-2014, 03:48 PM
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Thanks guys. I didn't know we offered a trade for him back then.

If we did get him, do you think we still would have won?
Well, considering it was Alexei Kovalev's lucky troll, I'd say no.

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06-11-2014, 04:09 PM
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Well, considering it was Alexei Kovalev's lucky troll, I'd say no.
I completely skipped over Kovalev there. He was pretty important for us and was third in scoring for us, so maybe we wouldn't have won

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06-11-2014, 07:19 PM
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Rangers probably win with Lindros

by his 3rd year he was the best player ITL. lol ****ing alexei kovalev


Last edited by Bear of Bad News: 06-11-2014 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Don't circumvent the profanity filters
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06-11-2014, 07:25 PM
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you have to keep in mind post 94 you've already deleted weight and amonte in the real world. in the fantasy one, they're also gone but you have lindros. instead of a 1 year rental of Pat Verbeek, NY might pony up for someone like Shanahan. Possibilities are pretty wide.

Rangers biggest problem post 96 is not having a legit 2nd line center for like a decade. It's fair to guess Gretzky comes here and Mess stays and moves to LW and things can start looking a lot different. Richter doesn't get fried. New York may well have been a legit contender thru the late 90s.

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06-12-2014, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Evil Sather View Post
you have to keep in mind post 94 you've already deleted weight and amonte in the real world. in the fantasy one, they're also gone but you have lindros. instead of a 1 year rental of Pat Verbeek, NY might pony up for someone like Shanahan. Possibilities are pretty wide.

Rangers biggest problem post 96 is not having a legit 2nd line center for like a decade. It's fair to guess Gretzky comes here and Mess stays and moves to LW and things can start looking a lot different. Richter doesn't get fried. New York may well have been a legit contender thru the late 90s.
Nah. The Rangers would have had to keep drafting as well as they did in the very early part of Smith's tenure and they would have had to stop mortgaging the future in trades. Richter was the victim of a freak accident, so not sure what the quality of the team has to do with that.

I will say this... if Amonte was gone for Lindros, then you don't need to make a deadline deal to add grit to the lineup. Really, whether or not the Rangers win the Cup with Lindros depends on if Beezer got to be part of the trade. If he did, then we can still acquire Larmer. If he didn't, I don't think we win since with don't have Patrick to deal away.

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06-12-2014, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
Nah. The Rangers would have had to keep drafting as well as they did in the very early part of Smith's tenure and they would have had to stop mortgaging the future in trades. Richter was the victim of a freak accident, so not sure what the quality of the team has to do with that.

I will say this... if Amonte was gone for Lindros, then you don't need to make a deadline deal to add grit to the lineup. Really, whether or not the Rangers win the Cup with Lindros depends on if Beezer got to be part of the trade. If he did, then we can still acquire Larmer. If he didn't, I don't think we win since with don't have Patrick to deal away.
Rangers probably draft fine - Verbeek pick gets kept, Chernski pick was a freak injury in junior, Malhotra doesn't happen if the team isn't so barren of young talent they don't take him because they thought he was NHL ready.

Richter wasn't the same goalie at the end of his run and his insane workload had a lot to do with it IMO.

Larmer was acquired for Patrick and Turcotte... both were fairly soft players.

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06-12-2014, 09:47 PM
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Rangers probably draft fine - Verbeek pick gets kept, Chernski pick was a freak injury in junior, Malhotra doesn't happen if the team isn't so barren of young talent they don't take him because they thought he was NHL ready.

Richter wasn't the same goalie at the end of his run and his insane workload had a lot to do with it IMO.

Larmer was acquired for Patrick and Turcotte... both were fairly soft players.
I don't really know what insane workload you're talking about. Richter didn't play over 70 games most seasons and his shot load was about 100 more than his contemporaries spread over an entire year. Around 1-2 shots per game extra.

After drafting Sundstrom, the Rangers ability to draft quality NHL talent took a pretty big hit rolling through the mid-90s. I broke it down in a thread a while back on the NYR board.

First 4 drafts: 3 first line forwards (I consider Sundstrom in his prime a 1st liner). Two 1st pair D, including one of the best of his generation. Two excellent 3rd liners and an enforcer-type 3rd pair D who played over 450 games. Pretty impressive haul.

Next 6 drafts: 1 1st liner, 1 2nd liner, 1 2nd pair D, 1 3rd liner, 1 4th liner, 1 3rd pair D, 2 7th D and a mediocre starting goalie.

The results speak for themselves.

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06-12-2014, 11:55 PM
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I don't think people are giving Leetch the credit he deserves here. He's a Norris winner in 1992 with 102 points. He misses most of the 1993 season. He comes back for the Cup winning season in 1994 and is a 2nd team all-star as well as the Conn Smythe winner. The Rangers win two Presidents' trophies and a Cup when he is healthy and miss the playoffs the year he misses the majority of the year. Coincidence? I don't think it is. Although there are other issues at large here, the truth is Leetch is the one player I immediately think of who has a Hart trophy voting record that does not reflect how integral he was to his team.

So yeah, Leetch is my number one reason.

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06-13-2014, 04:24 AM
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Agree with Big Phil. Brian Leetch, circa 1991 to 1996, was probably one of the top-5 impactful players in the NHL.

There were other issues off-ice, but without Leetch, the 90s' Rangers were quite average.

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