Blueshirt Bust: Same Bitter End, Different Year

Published on 29-May-2013 by Chips 10

NHL    NHL Daily Review

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Blueshirt Bust: Same Bitter End, Different Year

Madison Square Garden is one of the world's finest venues to see a hockey game and perhaps the best during the playoffs.

The New York Rangers are loaded with tradition, and when things are going well, there are no better fans to carry their team forward.

The Rangers last won a Stanley Cup in 1994, and last Saturday, when the Boston Bruins eliminated them from the playoffs, it kept their count at just one Stanley Cup in the past 73 years.

The Blueshirts have always had money behind them, along with management that had been successful elsewhere, so it is hard to figure how they have not won at least one or two more championships over seven decades. After moving to the 'new' Madison Square Garden in 1968, the Rangers started improving after a long lull of cellar dwelling. But each year, something went against them and they hit the golf course empty-handed.

Here's a sampling of whatever hex they've had:

  • In 1971, Bobby Hull was too good for New York and Chicago beat the Rangers in seven games.
  • The following season, the Rangers made the finals, but another star -- Bobby Orr -- led the way, and the Bruins won the Cup in six games.
  • In 1974, the upstart Philadelphia Flyers knocked the Rangers out of the semi-finals in seven games, and then
  • In 1979, the Rangers got back to the finals, only to lose again, this time to the Montréal Canadiens.

The Rangers did not come close again to a championship for the next 15 years, although they did advance to two final fours, losing to the New York Islanders in 1981 and Montréal in 1986.

When they finally won the Stanley Cup in 1994, many fans thought this would happen again and again. Nope. The Rangers only advanced to the conference finals twice and didn't even qualify for the playoffs from 1998-2004.

Last season, the Broadway Blues were favored to beat the Devils and lost in the conference finals.

And this year, New York entered the season as favorites and still exited early from the playoffs, meaning another summer of excuses from and organization that is running out of them.