With the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils facing each other for the first time in 18 years for a birth into the Stanley Cup Finals, I'm reminded of that magical sports summer of 1994 in the city and what could have been the greatest summer of our sports lives. The unforgettable parallel would-be championhsip runs of the Rangers and Knicks consumed May and June and the Yankees were the best team in baseball at the time, something that hadn't happened since 1978.
The Rangers were able to finish the deal, with their incredible comeback against the Devils down 3-2 in the series with The Captain Mark Messier guaranteeing the victory in game 6 and having a hat trick in the process and the "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!" goal in double overtime to win the series. The Stanley Cup Finals was a bit anti-climactic although that series went 7 games as well, mainly because the Rangers blew a 3-1 series lead but were able to finish the deal. If anything, the series was more frustrating than anything else because after such an epic run it'll piss you off to no end if the Rangers lost to the inferior Canucks.
The excitement in those 2 weeks of June was in the Knicks-Houston Rockets NBA Finals. And it was also surreal because during Game 2 on a Friday Night there was OJ's infamous white Bronco car "chase." With the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals going on at the same time with the two teams that call Madison Square Garden a home, the city was in an absolute frenzie. By Friday, June 17, the Rangers had won their first Cup since 1940 (finally ending those annoying "19-40" chants by Islander fans), and the Knicks had taken a 3-2 series lead. The greatest sports summer of our lives was upon us ... but just like that, it wasn't.
The Knicks would lose the series in excrutiating fashion, losing both games 6 and 7 in Houston. And the Yanks, finally playing winning ball after so many years had their chance at a World Series title snuffed out by the the baseball strike. On June 17, everything was so glorious, but then it was gone. At the least--and it wasn't really a least--the Rangers had finally won the Cup. Fans had to wait 54 years for that one, and now hopefully the 18 year wait is over.
The Knicks are relevant again and the Yanks had their dynasty, but it is full circle for the Rangers. For them, let the Cup runneth over.