18 years after Mark Messier’s Guarantee, the Rangers and Devils find themselves in familiar positions. Given that it’s probably going to be the topic of the day (you think?) until the puck drops tonight, I thought I’d share a bit of a corny video tribute to the moment that I found on youtube.
First of all, have you ever seen anything that screams 1990′s like that video? Geez, between Messier’s sweater and the whole look Brodeur had going on, wow. Second of all, is it me, or does Brodeur seem a little too happy when discussing one of the most crushing defeats of his storied career? By his giddiness in the interview, you’d think Brodeur and Messier were on the same team in this game.
Thirdly, Mike Richter doesn’t get enough credit for his part in “The Guarantee.” If it wasn’t for his stellar play in periods one and two, Messier and the Rangers wouldn’t have been within striking distance heading into the third period, as the game could have been well out of hand by then.
But back to the matter at the hand.
What still gets me all these years later isn’t just that Messier was ballsy enough to make the claim, it’s the fact that he ended up being the hero of the hour in the third period, with the Rangers’ season 20 minutes away from a disappointing ending and chants of “Nine-teen-for-ty” raining down.
If you really think about it, at the end of the day, any captain, or any player in any sport for that matter, can make a guarantee about a specific game and have a 50 per cent chance of being right. Furthermore, they can play absolutely no part in the victory and still look bold for “delivering” on the promise.
But Messier himself (and Richter, as noted) played the deciding part in the game that he guaranteed his team would win with a third period hat-trick. With his team down 2-1. Facing elimination.
Forget “Captain Courageous.” Messier should have been forever linked with the nickname “Captain Clutch.”
As for the game tonight, am I the only one who thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous that some media members actually expected the Rangers players to reference the guarantee? I get it if you’re asking Ryan Callahan and company in a half-joking way, but if you actually expected them to make a bold statement themselves, you’re out to lunch.
The other ridiculous part of this whole thing is how similar this series has been to the 1994 series, especially since Game 3. Besides the fact that both series were Eastern Conference Finals and the Rangers were the No. 1 seed in the East both times, the dates (May 19, 21, 23, 25, 27) for Games 3-to-7 actually match up exactly the way they did in 1994, with the results (Rangers in Game 3, Devils in Games 4 and 5) staying true so far. Does that continue tonight? Rangers fans can only hope.
Lastly, if the Devils take a big lead tonight or if the result seems cemented in New Jersey’s favour, how many times do you think we’re going to hear someone say “Mark Messier isn’t walking through that door?”
I’ll tell you what, I guarantee someone will.
Now here are some morning links:
- Let’s not party like it’s 1994 (ESPN).
- Henrik Lundqvist needs to channel Mike Richter’s 1994 effort (New York Post). I’d say a standard 2012 Lundqvist performance will do.
- John Tortorella asks the Rangers for one more comeback (Boston Herald).
- Jarret Stoll is hearing echoes of his run to the Cup Final with the Oilers (Globe and Mail). Both teams were No. 8 seeds, but this Kings team is good enough on paper to see in a Cup Final, where as that 2006 Oilers team was a legitimately shocking underdog story.
- Dustin Penner’s in a good place and should stay in L.A. (Winnipeg Free Press).
- Drew Doughty is finally living up to huge expectations (The Chronicle Herald/The Associated Press)
- Ryan Kesler’s agent says Kesler is miffed over Alain Vigneault’s comments (Vancouver Sun). Vigneault is adding “fuel to the fire.”
- Daniel Alfredsson plans to begin off-season workouts next week (Ottawa Sun). Alfie “hopes to know where he stands when it comes to his playing status within two or three weeks.”
- Don’t look now, but Toronto has a hockey winner (Globe and Mail). As a Leafs fan, I’d love to say that this means real success at the NHL level is just around the corner, but, you know…
- In pro sports, fans wield the most power when they’re unhappy (Globe and Mail). Just ask Ron Wilson.
- UCONN hockey is reaching out to gay athletes (Sports Illustrated).
- Another edition of NHL Playoff Beard Watch (Puck Daddy).