MSG takes Rangers fans back to Spring of ’94

Rangers
fans who saw the Blueshirts capture their first Stanley Cup in 54 years have no
trouble recalling where they were on June 14, 1994.

At the moment when time ran out on Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals series
against the Vancouver Canucks, the Garden Faithful celebrated like never
before. It wasn’t just a moment of euphoria, it was also a moment of sheer
catharsis — epitomized by the famous “Now I Can Die in Peace” sign
unfurled in the stands during the postgame celebration.

The Rangers’ run to that 1994 championship was full of golden moments – captain
Mark Messier’s Game 6 guarantee vs.

New
Jersey, Stephane Matteau’s double-overtime goal in
Game 7, and Mike Richter’s save on Pavel Bure in the Finals, to name just a
few. And while fans surely revel in all of these specific memories, the context
of the era is sometimes forgotten.

That’s because 1994, wasn’t just a big year for the Rangers. It was also a big
year for
New York City, which was undergoing a
major change in leadership under new mayor Rudy Giuliani, and for

Madison
Square
Garden,
home to both the Blueshirts and a Knicks team flirting with a championship of
its own.

Next week, a new MSG Originals two-part series will off a unique take on the
Rangers’ Cup run by putting it in the larger context of what it meant to an
entire city at a pivotal moment in its history. The program “Spring of
’94” premieres on MSG on Monday night (May 21) at 8 p.m., with Part II of
the two-hour program airing the following night (Tuesday May 22), also at 8
p.m.

“Spring of ’94” offers a deep look at what remains the greatest
hockey memory for most Rangers fans who lived through it. The show paints the
full picture of the run to the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals,
examining the first two rounds against the Islanders and Capitals. It’s not all
joy, either, as the show also recalls the brutal murder of longtime Rangers fan
Ceil Saidel, whose loss brought grief to the thousands who of her devotion to
the Blueshirts.

The new MSG show also puts the Rangers’ Stanley Cup run in the context of what
was going on with the Knicks at that time. As the Blueshirts drove to the NHL
finals, the Knicks fought their way into the NBA Finals, where they would
eventually fall to the Houston Rockets in seven games.

“It was just such a cool time,” remembers former Rangers goaltender
Mike Richter. “You had both teams in the championship (round) at the same
time. It was just really cool.”

“Spring of ’94” looks at a larger picture of the political change
that swept New York in Mayor Giuliani’s first several months on the job –
indicating how the success of both the Rangers and Knicks was somehow perfectly
timed to coincide with a landmark moment in the city’s evolution.

“That was quite a celebration in this town, because you had the two teams
in the same building,” said Knicks great Bernard King. “Two teams
that hadn’t won a championship in a long time, with the Stanley Cup and the NBA
title, and here we had a chance to see them both at the same time, in the same
week. That was really a heightened period in

New York for sports fans. You couldn’t enjoy
sports anymore than you did during that period with the Stanley Cup and the
Rangers and the Knicks. It’s not possible.”

The new show even makes special note of June 17, 1994 — the day of the
Rangers’ Stanley Cup celebration parade. Later that night, the Knicks and
Rockets played Game 5 of the NBA Finals at MSG – a game that will forever be
remembered for the surreal distraction of the infamous O.J. Simpson
“Bronco chase”.

Rangers fans looking to relive the memories of a Stanley Cup championship
within the mindset that existed at the time, won’t want to miss a minute of
“Spring of ’94” on Monday and Tuesday nights. You’ll not only
remember where you were during those days leading up to the Cup, but you’ll
also remember how you felt.