Aug
17

#TBT: Rangers vs. Red Wings – March 24, 2001

August 17, 2017, by

adam graves

After a brief hiatus, the Blue Seat Blogs #TBT series returns.  Our first two editions revisited memorable Rangers regular season wins.  But because being a Ranger fan involves a little bit of masochism, this week’s trip back takes us to the most recent nadir of Rangers hockey: the early 2000’s.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, the Rangers declined slowly and then all at once, as the core of Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter and Adam Graves aged.  Rock bottom wouldn’t truly come until 2004, but if you lived through this era of Rangers hockey, you likely have done your best to delete it from your memory.

This particular game isn’t notable for any particular reason.  It happened at the point of the season where even the interest of diehards wanes.  I happen to remember it only because I was lucky enough to be in attendance that day.

March 24, 2001 – Rangers vs. Red Wings | Utter Embarrassment

Unfortunately (fortunately?) I couldn’t find any video highlights from this game, so I’ll just put this here.

There is so much to digest, but here are some of my favorite tidbits:

  1. Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal, assist and 9(!) shots on goal. Dominant.
  2. Brendan Shanahan scored, of course.  He led this edition of the Red Wings in scoring that season with 76 points.
  3. Let’s give it up for the immortal Ranger goaltending tandem of Kirk MacLean and Guy Hebert!

Notable Players

Given that this was the NHL in the pre-salary cap era, the Red Wings were able to assemble – and keep together – a roster that featured seven future Hall of Famers: Lidstrom, Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Larry Murphy and Chris Chelios.  It’s not a surprise that this team finished with 111 points, tied for second-most in the NHL.

For the Rangers, their 33-43-5-1 (we had loser points AND ties in 2001!) record certainly reflected the talent on their roster.  Leetch and Messier put up good numbers but were well past their primes, and the Rangers had very little talent under the age of 30 to speak of.  Mike York, Jan Hlavac, Manny Malhotra and Tomas Kloucek were the next generation for Ranger fans to pin their hopes to, and well, we know how that turned out.

Trivia Question

Which player won two consecutive Steven McDonald Extra Effort Awards in 2001 and 2002?

How’d it all turn out?

When I began writing this, I assumed that this edition of the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, but I was mistaken.  This Detroit team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.  How did they respond?  They went and got LA’s top scorer Luc Robitaille and won the Cup the next season.

For Blueshirts fans in the Garden that day (I can confirm, there weren’t many), the dark days of Ranger hockey were far from over.  Here are the team’s win totals from the 2000-01 season through 03-04: 33, 36, 32, 27.  To put this in perspective, in the 12 seasons since the lockout, the Rangers have only failed to win 40 games (in an 82-game season) once.  Even though the current Rangers can be both brilliant and infuriating, they’ve given us a consistent run of successful hockey over the last decade-plus.

When you look back at some pretty recent history, that’s not too bad.

"#TBT: Rangers vs. Red Wings - March 24, 2001", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
Categories : Offseason

6 comments

  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Czechmate.

  2. Jade X says:

    Husband/ Die Hard RW, watching /Original 6 NYR/ Still ended up with an awesome Lidstrom Sweater I have to this day. Blessings 😱😇

  3. Leetchie Nut says:

    Trevor Linden…Ugh! A hat trick goal away from destroying all of our dreams!

    And the SMcD Award winner was either Sandy McCarthy or Jed Ortmeyer.

  4. Jerry says:

    I believe it was Sandy McCarthy

  5. Brendan says:

    I’d guess Graves or Leetch for the award… one of the few good memories from those dark ages was Brian Leetch in OT 4 on 4… guy was unstoppable

  6. 43 says:

    It was Sandy.