#TBT: Rangers vs. Devils – March 19, 2012

July 20, 2017, by


Welcome back for another edition of Blue Seat Blogs’ Throwback Thursday.  In last week’s edition, we revisited Nikolai Zherdev’s last gasp, game-tying goal against the Penguins way back in 2008.  This week, we jump forward in the time machine nearly four years to reminisce about another memorable matchup with a division rival.

For fans of a certain age, hockey hatred was learned not by watching Rangers-Habs or Rangers-Isles, but Rangers-Devils.  While the rivalry has lost some steam in recent years, Rangers-Devils still evokes a distinct type of of animus among the Garden Faithful.

The Rangers and Devils met several times throughout the playoffs in the 1990’s, with the Rangers getting the best of the Jersey team in 1994 and 1996.  However, as we’re all too painfully aware, after 1994, the Rangers fell into the abyss while the Devils amassed 3 Stanley Cup championships, simultaneously setting the sport of hockey back by 50 years.

The 2012 edition of these teams met in the Eastern Conference Final, which we certainly don’t need to discuss in detail today or ever again.

March 19, 2012 – Rangers vs. Devils | The Line Brawl Game

“Oh, Torts…” is what I thought to myself as Stu Bickel lined up at center opposite Ryan Carter.  Bickel was famous for his big hits and lack of significant ice time, and had certainly never taken a face-off at the professional level.  But this is how John Tortorella chose to match up against Peter DeBoer’s starting lineup.  The Rangers had lost badly to the Devils 13 days prior, and so this happened:

Some observations:

  1. The crowd is going crazy.  I’m not one to defend fighting in hockey (particularly staged, “enforcer” vs. “enforcer” fighting like this), but it certainly put a charge into the early stages of this game.  Side note: this is post-renovation MSG, which proves that if the crowd is engaged, the building can still produce an incredible hockey atmosphere.
  2. Bickel vs. Carter in particular: woah.
  3. Whether or not it had anything to do with it (hint: it didn’t), the Rangers got off to an extremely fast start once the actual hockey game started, with Brandon Dubinsky scoring at the 1:11 mark.  I can still hear the “MAAARRRTTYYY” chants.

All in all, 40 penalty minutes were assessed after the dust settled on the line brawl.  Bickel/Carter, Mike Rupp/Eric Boulton and Brandon Prust/Cam Janssen all got 5 minutes for fighting, and Bryce Salvador got a 10-minute misconduct for trying to peel Bickel off of Carter after their bout ended.

Notable Players

The 2012 Rangers were truly assembled in John Tortorella’s image.  In addition to the grinders who started the game, Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko complemented the familiar forward core of Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan.  Tim Erixon and Stu Bickel both dressed ahead of future top-pairing defenseman Anton Stralman in this one (though I can’t verify he wasn’t injured).

The Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, who essentially propped up an otherwise below-average roster.  In case you can’t tell, I’m still bitter about losing to this version of the Devils that season.

Trivia Question

John Tortorella once said this player “sucks on the power play”.  He had two assists in this game, one of them shortly after a power play expired.

How’d it all turn out?

The Rangers finished in first place with 109 points and captured the Atlantic Division (not yet the Metropolitan) crown.  And that was it!  They didn’t play the playoffs that year, and by default the Rangers were awarded the Stanley Cup!  What a year it was.

Just kidding.  Hope you enjoyed this one.  See you all next week.

"#TBT: Rangers vs. Devils - March 19, 2012", 5 out of 5 based on 5 ratings.


  1. Spozo says:

    Hagelin sucked on the PP.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    Why I “love” the devils.

    They are a classy organization from top to bottom.

    As to hags sucking. 2-1. Number of cups they have won. Hags is in the lead.

    • Matt R says:

      Ahh, the old Cups/Rings/Championships argument, the laziest argument in sports. Nice.

  3. Walt says:

    Chris F says:
    Jul 19, 2017 at 4:32 pm
    A class act would have still discussed how much the Rangers meant to him and the opportunity they gave him throughout his career (signing him after going undrafted). He would have acknowledged that the buyout is a business decision.

    It’s fine to be excited about a change of scenery, obviously he can’t act like he’s miserable to be in Tampa. But giving a shout out to the team that put you on the map would have been appropriate instead of questioning the buyout, overstating how well he played this year, insulting the critics who recognized a deteriation of his play, and talking about throwing away his Rangers gear now that he’s in Tampa. Just struck me as him striking out at the Rangers organization as a result of the buyout.

    1 0 Rate This
    Walt says:
    Jul 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    And you had the gall to call me cold when I said he wasn’t any good, and was glad to see him go. You may want to apologizes to me now??? That’s OK, no need………

    0 1 Rate This
    Walt says:
    Jul 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm
    Here is the letter Kevin Klein wrote as he departed from the organization, a far cry from the pylon when he left!!!!!

    I would like to thank both the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers organizations for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the NHL. Thank you to the fans of both cities for their appreciation. I couldn’t have been happier to play in front of you. I will miss all the friends I’ve made along the way, from the staff to the guys I’ve played with.

    I’d like to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and for their constant love and support. Most importantly, my wife Jodi and our boys, Joseph and Oliver, who have sacrificed the most over the years. I am looking forward to many great years with my extended family.

    Again, Thank You.

    • Chris F says:

      Unless you had predictive powers, not sure how that exchange from awhile ago is relevant to Girardi’s press conference the other day.

      • AWDS says:

        Girardi was all sour grapes after the buyout; just looking at him could tell you that.

        And he has no business being like that.

        There are people reading this website who could play better defense (at least in short bursts) than Girardi has over the past few years….

    • Richter1994 says:

      Bro, I’ve read this no less than 10 times and I’m still trying to figure out your point of it being on this thread, lol. 🙂

  4. amy says:

    when the rangers played the devils during the 2012 did we know that they would play each other for the eastern conference championship and a trip to the Stanley cup finals the rangers were a much better team then but the devils found a way to beat them but when they played the kings they lost in six 2 yrs later the rangers would be in the finals against the kings and would lose in 5

  5. Richter1994 says:

    I was there for that game. When Stu Bickel takes the face off then it’s pretty much assured what will happen next. Wild scene, you just don’t see anymore.

  6. Richter1994 says:

    On another note, Bozak reportedly put his Toronto condo on the market for sale. I’m getting mixed signals on this one. Some say it will happen with the Rangers and some saying that it doesn’t work trade wise, so I don’t know.

    I do know that Gorton wants him.

  7. Bobby B says:

    Awesome post and video, was it only 5 years ago that if you pushed the Rangers the wrong way , you paid for it in spades. The majority of today’s roster would be waving a white towel.

    • 43 says:

      I recall this board being inundated with the same bemoaning on the general softness of the team back then, though, too. Even Joe Thronton called the Rangers the softest team back then.

      • Spozo says:

        You’re saying Rangers fans are just never happy?

        Also, we really showed them how tough we were by answering the call here. But they showed us how much better at hockey they were when they ousted us in the conference finals.

        Surprisingly being a tough, fighting team doesn’t correlate to winning.

        • 43 says:

          Actually, being tough and instigating frustration in the opponent is why NJ won the 2012 ECF, even though they should’ve been dispatched in 5 games at the most.

          To this day, the 2012 ECF has to be the single biggest disappointment of my experience as a Ranger fan.

          • AWDS says:

            “To this day, the 2012 ECF has to be the single biggest disappointment of my experience as a Ranger fan.”


            I’ve gotta ask – why?

            Did you really want to see the Kings beat them twice?

            • 43 says:

              Well, at that point they’d never played and lost to the Kings in the Final, so it would’ve been impossible for me to have wanted them to lose to them twice.

              • AWDS says:

                Lol I know that you know what I meant.

                Point is, 2014 would have been twice as painful.

                If we couldn’t even beat the derbils…. the Kings would’ve annihilated us.

              • 43 says:

                Well, if you would analyze what I said, you’d understand what I meant, which was I really thought we had it that year, and was shocked when it all ended at the hands of NJ. I thought we were gonna beat them, and then I was confident in our chances to beat the Kings, who weren’t an established presence in the NHL yet. Remember, they were like the 8th seed in the West that year.

          • Spozo says:

            I thought they won because they were a better hockey team. My bad.

            • 43 says:

              Rangers were heavily favored to win that series, so much so, that they included those words verbatim in EA NHL 13 & 14.

    • Rich S says:

      Bobby B,
      Cant watch that video enough as well as older [fotiu, ron harris, tie domi, kotsopolus, boxcar, etc] ..miss the old days…..instead now you have the radko gudases, kris letangs cheap shotting and injuring players without regard…..
      Stu Bickel was a very good fighter, always willing to stand up for teammates, ala Mcilrath…….this organization cant get rid of fan favorites fats enough……
      My top seven home grown rangers……1. fotiu 2. puriton 3. kotsopolus
      4. hospodar 5. wilson 6. bickel 7 domi

      • Spozo says:

        Dale Purinton is your second favorite homegrown Ranger of all time?


        • Rich S says:

          Not favorite player …… ‘home grown Fighter’…….. Should have said this- My top seven home grown rangers ‘Fighters’…..
          Favorite players…..#1 Brad Park, Ed Giocomin, Jean Ratelle,
          Nicky Fotiu, Ron Duguay, Pat Hickey, Greg Polis, Ed Hospodar, Don Murdoch, mike mccwen, mark heaslip, ron greshner……but how could you not like puriton, domi, bickel…
          I could go on and on…….

      • Bobby B says:

        Rich S, those names mentioned certainly have their place in Ranger tough guy history, all warriors in their heyday. I am not sure if he was home grown? but one person who is missing on the list is George McPhee. ( Yes the same guy who is the GM of the new Vegas Knights) McPhee may have been pound for pound the toughest Ranger to ever play for the organization, He was maybe 5″7, 170 lbs, but was TOTALLY FEARLESS!! I remember one year where he took on and beat the following heavyweights all in the same season: Rick Tocchet ( 2x) , Bobby Nystrom, Ed Hospodar, Dave Longavin, all these players had him by at least 5 inches in height and 25 lbs. One of the toughest guy’s to ever lace up the skates. Tough guy legend Stan Jonathan of the Bruins said McPhee was the toughest fighter he ever saw!!!

  8. Johnny Red says:

    I’m an old school guy who grew up watching the battles when the 6 teams played each other 14 times! a year. I remember at the garden a battle between Ranger defense-man #15 Jim Nielson A.K.A. The Chief and Montreal d-man Terry Harper along with about 5 other fights that night. These 2 battled for about 5 min non stop. WOW!
    I know the game is changing and I’m for it but boy do I miss those epic battles. My worry is if they take it out totally we will see more stick work because there’s no one to settled things on the ice. Esposito who have never been able to do what he did without Cashman and others. Same for any other star in them days. I guess when your a kid growing up seeing it you love it all the more. Hell when we played hockey we imitated the fights as well.

  9. 43 says:

    I still miss Torts.

  10. Leetchie Nut says:

    One of the most embarrassing moments in the history of NYR and the league. And gee, look who was a key cog of it all: The King of Embarrassment himself, John Tortorella. As Sam would say: “What a disgrace. Just sickening.” Poster moment for UFC or WWF, not the NHL. So sad.

  11. wwpd says:

    Correct. Rangers could win 10 cups in a row and I would still hate the devils. Beating them has never gotten old and losing to them never gotten less sucky

  12. Richter1994 says:

    1992: Joey Kocur, Kris King, Tie Domi, Adam Graves, and Beuk lol

    • Bobby B says:

      Richter, the trading of Domi was one of the worst deals in Ranger history!! Even Messier could not believe he was dealt!

      • Richter1994 says:

        Right Bobby, especially in the 90s when muscle was needed.

      • Rich S says:

        Yup mcphee was tough one!!
        The rangers had a habit of trading their FAN favorites as well as some valuable players!
        Which idiot made that trade?