Founded in 1926 by Tex Rickard, the New York Rangers were among the original six teams that summed up the roster of the National Hockey League from 1942 until 1967. The other five were the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The NHL itself was organized on November 26, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada after its operations were first suspended as the National Hockey Association. The Montreal Canadiens were already on the roster, as were the Toronto Maple Leafs. That year, the NHL immediately took NHA’s place as one of the leagues that competed in an annual interleague competition for the prized Stanley Cup. By 1926, the NHL was the only league still in operation after a series of foldings and mergers took place.
When the NHL first began, it actually had four teams and they were Canadian. In 1924, the NHL expanded to allow the inclusion of American teams. This started with the Boston Bruins before the New York Rangers became part of the Original Six in 1926. That year, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings also joined. The Stanley Cup is actually the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. While the history of the New York Rangers begins in 1926 as one of the Original Six, the history of its founder, Tex Rickard, began in 1870 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Tex Rickard Background
Although born in Kentucky as George Lewis Rickard, he and his family moved to Texas when he was four years old. By the time he was eleven years old, Rickard became a cowboy before becoming a marshal of Henrieta, Texas in 1893 at just twenty-three years old. This is when he would pick up “Tex” as a monicker. In 1895, he and his bride moved to Alaska, hoping to cash in on the recent discovery of gold that was found in the region. When the Klondike Gold Rush began nearby in 1897, he partnered with Harry Ash and the two staked their claims that was later sold for nearly $60,000 USD. With the money, Rickard and Ash opened up a gambling hall, hotel, and saloon in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. It was during this time, after experiencing monetary loss through gambling, that he would become a boxing promoter.
While in Nome, Alaska, he goaded his friend, Wyatt Earp, to join him in a mutual quest to chase the gold strikes in that region. Earp was a boxing fan that also officiated a number of matches, including the infamous match between Box Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey in San Fransisco, California, on December 2, 1896. In 1906, Rickard was not only running casinos, hotels, and saloons, but he was also a boxing promoter. By the time the 1920s hit, Tex Rickard was the leading boxing promoter and was recognized by the media as the first to recognize the potential of the star system. Rickard is the same man to identify the Montreal Canadiens as “the Habs,” as he commented the “H” that was sported on their hockey uniforms at the time stood for “Habitants.” This was, at the time, the Canadian nickname equivalent to the American redneck.
From 1911 until 1916, Tex Rickard became a rancher in South America before returning to U.S. soil and getting right back into the game of boxing promotion. On March 17, 1916, Jess Willard and Frank Moran fought each other at New York City’s second incarnated Madison Square Garden, which was located at 26th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. At the time, it set a new record for an indoor event at $152,000 USD. The purse wound up becoming the largest ever awarded for a no-decision match. This record was later beat on July 2, 1921, at $1,789,238 USD when a boxing match took place between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier.
The fight was held in a specially built arena in Jersey City, New Jersey. In the meantime, after Walker Law reestablished legal boxing in the state of New York on July 12, 1920, Rickard secured a ten-year lease of Madison Square Garden from its owner, New York Life Insurance Company. In 1922, Rickard lost his license as a boxing promoter in the state of New York when he was inducted on charges revolving around underage girls that included abduction and sexual assault. At the time, he also gave up control of Madison Square Garden. After he was found not guilty and all the charges were dropped, he got his license back. On May 12, 1923, Rickard promoted the first boxing card held at Yankee Stadium. The crowd attendance was another record that was set for a boxing bout in the state of New York at 60,000 spectators.
The $182,903.26 profits that were earned that day were donated to Millicent Hearst’s Milk Fund. On May 31, 1923, Rickard filed incorporation papers for the New Madison Square Garden Corporation. This was a company that was formed for the purpose of building and operating a brand new sports arena in New York City. After acquiring the rights to proceed with the third incarnated Madison Square Garden, he purchased a car barn block between 49th and 50th Streets on Eighth Avenue. Thomas W. Lamb was the man assigned to design the new stadium, which officially opened on November 28, 1925. The first event it held was the preliminaries for the annual six-day bicycle race. The first major event it held was a boxing match between Paul Berlenbach and Jack Delaney that was held on December 11, 1925.
In January 1926, Rickard purchased WWGL and renamed it WMSG after moving it to the Garden. In 1926, after the Garden’s successful year with its first hockey team, New York Americans, the Madison Square Garden Corporation introduced its second team which was nicknamed “Tex’s Rangers.” Originally, the New York Americans were promised they were going to be the only hockey team to play in Madison Square Garden but the inaugural season gave Rickard cause to pursue the dream of a second professional-level ice hockey team.
Debuting the New York Rangers
During the 1926-27 season of the National Hockey League, Tex Richard was the president of Madison Square Garden and was awarded an NHL franchise to compete with the New York Americans. The New York Rangers, also known as Tex’s Rangers at the time, began to play its first season that sported the team crest of a horse sketched in blue that was carrying a cowboy waving a hockey stick. It was later changed to sport the familiar diagonal print, RANGERS.
Conn Smythe was the man hired to assemble the first roster of the New York Rangers but had a falling out with Colonel John S. Hammond and was fired as the team’s coach and manager on the eve of the 1926 team’s first season. This is the same Conn Smythe that eventually became the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Taking his place was Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s co-founder Lester Patrick. Although the team was assembled by Smythe, it was Patrick who coached the Rangers to win the American Division title before losing in the playoffs to the Boston Bruins.
Thanks to the team’s first-season success, the players on the roster of the New York Rangers became minor celebrities in the city of New York. They became fixtures in the city’s Roaring Twenties nightlife brought about the team’s nickname “The Broadway Blueshirts.” Their popularity soared even further after winning the 1928 Stanley Cup against the Montreal Maroons. The teams played five games where the Maroons won two of them and the Rangers won three. This series featured Patrick having to replace the team goaltender, Lorne Chabot, after having to leave the game due to an eye injury.
Originally, Patrick suggested Alex Connell of the Ottawa Senators take Chabot’s place as he was in attendance, watching the game. At the time, there were no backup goaltenders uniformed and on standby should anything happen to the first goalie. When the Maroons’ head coach, Eddie Regard, vetoed Patrick’s decision, the angry forty-four-year-old coach of the Rangers geared up and joined his team on the ice. After two periods during game two of the finals, Patrick allowed only one goal past him before fellow teammate, Frank Boucher, scored the game-winner in overtime against Montreal. His left-winger, Murray Murdoch, was also instrumental in this fateful series. Until Murdoch left the New York Rangers and the NHL after the end of the 1937-37 season, Murdoch never missed a game since his 1926 debut. He spent the rest of his hockey career as a coach for Yale University’s ice hockey team, the Bulldogs before retiring in 1965. When Murdoch passed away in 2001, he was the last living player from the 1925 inaugural team.
Cookin’ with Boucher
The 1929 Stanley Cup Final witnessed the New York Rangers losing to the Boston Bruins. It wouldn’t be until 1933 that they would win NHL’s top prize when its star center, Frank Boucher, would have Bill Cook serve as his right-winger and his brother, Bun Cook, play left wing. Together, they were instrumental in the best of five series against the Toronto Maple Leaf. They won the series in just four games, losing only one of them to the Canadian team. Throughout the rest of the 1930s, the Rangers played a 0.500 game average until they earned their next Stanley Cup win in 1940.
During the 1939-40 season, the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins saw their NHL rivalry result with the Rangers finishing just behind the Bruins in the league ranks when the regular season wrapped up. Going into the playoffs, these two teams were pitted against each other saw the Bruins win the first two of the best of five games. Defying the odds, the New York Rangers dug deep into their team spirit and bounced back with three straight wins. While the New York Rangers defeated the Bruins, their Madison Square Garden counterparts, the New York Americans, lost to the Detroit Red Wings in their best of three series, two games to one.
When the Red Wings faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second round, they failed to secure a win in that three-game series. As for the Rangers, eliminating the Bruins earned them a bye, allowing them to watch on to witness the Maple Leafs earning their shot to put an end to the hope of the Rangers to earn their third Stanley Cup victory.
Held in Madison Square Garden, the 1940 Stanley Cup finals witnessed the Rangers win the first two games before the Maple Leafs bounced back with two wins of their own. In this best of seven series, the Rangers won the fifth and sixth games in overtime. For Lester Patrick, this was his final crowning achievement before stepping down as the team’s head coach. Taking his place was Frank Boucher as he hung up his skates as a player, hoping to lead the Rangers into the 1940s with the same impressive track record since they first enrolled in the NHL in 1926.
During the 1943-44 season, the New York Rangers experienced a rough ride as its 1943-44 goaltender, Ken McAuley, led the NHL with thirty-nine losses with 310 goals allowed against him in the fifty games he played. He had a 6.24 goals-against average, a record that remains the worst in the league’s history that has played at least twenty-five games in a season. It wouldn’t be until the 1950 playoffs the New York Rangers would enter the NHL playoffs. As fate had it, Madison Square Garden was hosting a circus during the playoff season, forcing the Rangers to play every single one of their games in Toronto. That year, the Rangers lost to the Detroit Red Wings when they were scored against in overtime in their seventh game together.
Interestingly enough, James E. Norris became the largest stockholder with Madison Square Garden. He also happened to own the Detroit Red Wings at this time. However, he did not have a controlling interest in the arena as this would have violated NHL’s rule against a person owning more than one team. He did, however, have enough support on the board to exercise de facto control. Unfortunately for the Rangers, their performance as one of the Original Six teams saw them only making the playoffs four times over the span of the next sixteen seasons. In 1967, the New York Rangers did witness a return to the playoffs after a five-year drought when rookie goaltender Eddie Giacomin and the thirty-seven-year-old former Montreal Canadiens right-winger, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. However, it was not enough to secure another Stanley Cup victory.
Revivals and Rivals
In 1968, the fourth version of the Madison Square Garden was erected and opened for business as a multi-use indoor arena. Located in Midtown Manhattan, this new arena was situated between Seventh and Eighth Avenues from 31st to 33rd Street, right above Pennsylvania Station. When this happened, it seemed the New York Rangers experienced a bit of a revival. The team had its high-scoring center, Jean Ratelle, keeping pace with Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins. He, along with Brad Park, Vic Hadfield, and Rod Gilbert summed up what was an exciting team lineup. Ratelle, Hadfield, and Gilbert were dubbed the GAG line as their goal-a-game performance earned the Rangers a 1971-72 season NHL playoff berth.
This impressive team dethroned the defending Montreal Canadiens in the first round, then the Chicago Blackhawks during the second round, but failed to get past the Boston Bruins in the finals. This was no small achievement as Ratelle was sidelined with a broken ankle and Gilbert was hampered by injuries. It was Walt Tkaczuk who played a key role in helping the Rangers defeat the Canadiens and the Black Hawks. Although the Rangers did lose to the Bruins, Tkaczuk earned his due for shutting out Phil Esposito’s scoring streak, preventing him from scoring a goal in their six-game series.
During the 1973-74 playoff season, the New York Rangers play against the Philadelphia Flyers, who were among the six expansion teams that doubled the NHL’s league size to twelve in 1967. What made this series legendary was the seventh-game fight between Dale Rolfe of the Rangers and Dave Schultz of the Flyers. This was also the same series that witnessed the New York Rangers become the first from the Original Six to lose to a 1967 expansion team.
In 1972, the New York Islanders joined the NHL after paying a territorial fee of about four million dollars. During the 1975 playoffs, the Islanders and the Rangers squared off against each other which saw the newer of these two teams emerge victorious. For years, the rivalry between these two teams grew, as did the rivalry of the fans who made it clear whose side they were on. Interestingly enough, that same year the New York Rangers signed up the iconic Phil Esposito from the Boston Bruins, along with Carol Vadnais, in a trade deal that sent Park, Ratelle, and Joe Zanussi their way.
In 1978, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson, a pair of Swedish hockey stars, also joined the ranks of the New York Rangers from the World Hockey Association. When the 1979 NHL playoffs witnessed the New York Rangers defeat the New York Islanders in order to advance to the 1979 Stanley Cup finals, this was epic in the eyes of NHL fans, especially among New Yorkers. Unfortunately, the Rangers were not able to topple the mighty Montreal Canadiens. That fourth Stanley Cup victory still managed to slip through the team’s fingers despite their best attempts.
Between the Stanley Cup drought that was plaguing the Rangers and the loss of three consecutive playoff series against the New York Islanders, the salt in their wound when the Islanders won the NHL’s top prize in 1982, 1983, and 1984 merely added to the rivalry between these two teams. The Rangers were able to make it to the playoffs each year, despite losing to the Islanders during three of them, clean into the early 1990s. In 1986, the Rangers relied on its goaltender, John Vanbriesbrouck, who played an instrumental role in defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in five games, then the Washington Capitals in six games. Unfortunately, they were not able to defeat the Montreal Canadiens and their legendary goaltender, Patrick Roy. The 1986-87 season featured Marcel Dionne joining the team after spending nearly twelve seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. In 1988, as a Ranger, Dionne moved into third place as the most amount of NHL career goals scored at that time before retiring.
Trials & Triumphs
Although the New York Rangers were able to win the President’s Trophy for the 1991-92 NHL regular season as the top team, their first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins met with a disappointing finish. The 1992-93 season saw the Rangers riddled with injuries and a dismal regular season finish that placed the team at the bottom of the Patrick Division. Up until this point, they were in a playoff position for most of the season. When going into the 1993-94 season, the team would feature Mike Keenan as the new head coach, as well as seven all-star players from the Edmonton Oilers lineup. Signed up as team captain was Mark Messier. Accompanying the legendary left-winger was Glenn Anderson, Jeff Beukeboom, Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, and Esa Tikkanen.
As a team, the New York Rangers experienced the most successful season it had in over fifty years. Graves set a team record of fifty-two goals, a record that was previously set by Vic Hadfield during the 1971-72 season. Hadfield was the first Ranger to reach a fifty-goal season and was the sixth player in the NHL overall to do so. By the end of the 1993-94 season, the New York Rangers set a franchise record of fifty-two wins, twenty-four losses, and eight ties. The team won the Presidents’ Trophy and a birth in the playoffs. When the Rangers swept their rival New York Islanders, the fan response was epic. The crowd enthusiasm picked up even more after they took out the Washington Capitals during its second playoff round.
Then come the New Jersey Devils, another major rival to the New York Rangers. When the Rangers lost the first game in double overtime, the fans siding with the team from New York were biting their nails. When the Rangers bounced back with back-to-back wins, this built the excitement of a series the entire NHL fan base was watching closely. When the Devils won the next two games, some of the fans felt their hearts grow faint. However, when the sixth game was played in New Jersey and Mark Messier scored three times in the final period, it allowed the Rangers to tie up the series.
Going into double overtime, both teams were exhausted but determined. However, when Stephane Matteau managed to send the winning puck across the red line, this cinched the New York Rangers as one of the two teams that would play in the Stanley Cup final. For the team, this was a position they were not in since 1979. Their opponent, the Vancouver Canucks, was the only team left standing in their way to taking home the big prize. In this series, the Rangers lost the first game in overtime on their home turf in New York. Over the span of the next three games, the Rangers only allowed the Canucks to score a total of four goals as they dominated the Canadian team to the point where they were now just one win away to end the Stanley Cup drought. However, the Canucks bounced back, winning the next two games. This forced the series to reach a seventh game to find out which team had enough gusto left in them to be declared the 1994 Stanley Cup Champions.
The Rangers were quick to let the Canucks know they meant business when they scored two goals in the first period. The Canucks did score a goal, only for Mark Messier to again give his team a two-goal lead against their opponent. Although the Canucks did close the gap with a second goal, it was enough to take the Stanley Cup glory away from the Rangers. To say the New York fans went ballistic when this much-deserved victory was finally achieved would be an understatement. Messier, who was previously the captain of the Edmonton Oilers before coming to the New York Rangers, became the first and only player to captain two teams to win the Stanley Cup. His teammate, Brian Leetch, also became the first American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL playoff’s Most Valuable Player. Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov, and Sergei Zubov became the first Russians to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
So far, the New York Rangers have not managed to earn a fifth Stanley Cup yet. Right after coaching the New York Rangers to a first-place regular-season finish and their fourth Stanley Cup, Mike Keenan left the team after having a dispute with the team’s general manager at the time, Neil Smith. This was later followed by the 1994-95 season lockout. When the NHLers returned to the ice, the Rangers managed to defeat the Quebec Nordiques in the first round but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. After this, Smith traded Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Luc Robitaille and Ulf Samuelsson. However, this new team formula was not enough for the 1995-96 New York Rangers to get past the second round of the NHL playoffs. In 1996, Wayne Gretzky was signed over from the Los Angeles Kings. This move placed him and his former teammate from the Edmonton Oilers era, Mark Messier, together again. Together, they led the Rangers to the 1997 Eastern Conference finals but they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. It became Messier’s final season as a player. When the 1998-99 season was over, Gretzky also retired as a player.
In the year 2000, General Manager Neil Smith and head coach John Muckler were both fired. James Dolan hired Glen Sather, also of Edmonton Oiler fame, to bring the New York Rangers back to championship material. This new management team saw the return of Mark Messier to the lineup, along with a newly recruited Theoren Fleury of Calgary Flames fame. The 2000-01 NHL season had an incredible lineup of some of NHL’s top stars that also included Eric Lindros from the Philadelphia Flyers added to the roster. This was followed by a 2001-02 lineup that featured Bobby Holik, Alexei Kovalev, Jaromir Jagr, and Martin Rucinsky.
However, all this star quality was not enough for the New York Rangers to earn a playoff berth during the seasons of 2002-03 and 2004-04. Because of this, Glenn Sather agreed to do a full rebuild of the team that saw a total of ten veteran players, including Leetch and Kovalev, in exchange for a number of prospects and draft picks. When Pavel Bure and Mark Messier retired, accompanied by Eric Lindros going to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sather hired Tom Renney as the team’s new head coach. His first move was to steer away from pricy veterans in favor of a new breed of talent, namely Blair Betts, Dominic Moore, and Petr Prucha.
It was assumed by NHL fans the New York Rangers would struggle during the 2005-06 season. However, this team had a Swedish rookie goalie named Henrik Lundqvist that proved his weight in gold. He was instrumental in the team’s end-season finish of forty-four game wins, twenty-six game losses, and twelve ties. This was the same team that saw Jagr break the team record at 110 points during a regular season. It was previously set by Jean Ratelle in 1972. Jagr also broke the team’s record after scoring his fifty-third goal which was previously set by Adam Graves. The Rangers did reach the 1996097 Eastern Conference quarterfinals after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, they were not able to do the same with the New Jersey Devils. Jagr fell two points shy of winning his sixth Art Ross Trophy but did win his third Pearson Award as the most outstanding player according to the players’ choice. outstanding player.
When Henrik Lundqvist tended goal for the New York Rangers, this was from 2005 until 2020. During that time, he won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and has since become the only goaltender in NHL history to record eleven thirty-win seasons in his first twelve seasons. He currently holds the record for the most wins by a European-born goalie in the NHL. The New York media and Ranger fans dubbed this remarkable goalie “King Henrik.” While 2019-20 was his final season with the Rangers, he did practice during the 2021-22 season for the Washington Capitals before going into retirement. On January 28, 2022, the New York Rangers retired Henrik Lundqvist’s jersey number, thirty, honoring the man and his accomplishments that still remain in the hearts of NHL fans.
Despite Lundqvist’s dominance as a goaltender for the New York Rangers, the team seemed to have issues being able to score goals during his rookie season. With Messier now officially retired after the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Jaromir Jagr was named as the team’s new captain on the opening night of the 2006-07 season. The Rangers also acquired another star player, Brendan Shanahan, to a one-year contract. For the Rangers, what started off as a slow first half of the season turned itself around, thanks to Lundqvist’s dominance as the NHL’s star goaltender. Before this season was over, the Rangers brought on board Sean Avery from the Los Angeles Kings
. Despite a team riddled with injuries, the Rangers were able to make it into the playoffs and survive the first round by defeating the Atlanta Thrashers. However, the Buffalo Sabres put an end to the team’s quest to earn a fifth Stanley Cup during the second round. Going into the 2007 season, the Rangers acquired a collection of star-quality players, namely Chris Drury, and Scott Gomez, as well as its draft pick, Alexei Cherepanov. The 2007-08 season ended with the Rangers making it into the playoffs again but once again was sent home in the second round, this time by the Pittsburgh Penguins. At the end of the season, the Rangers lost Jaromir Jager to the KHL, Brendan Shanahan to the New Jersey Devils, and Martin Straka to the Czech Republic.
On October 3, 2008, Chris Drury replaced Jagr as the team’s captain. For the opening game of the 2008-09 season, the New York Rangers were among four NHL teams that defeated the European Victoria Cup champions, Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Bern, Switzerland. The next two NHL regular-season games played in Europe were played against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague, Switzerland, on October 4th and 5th. The Rangers won both of these games, bringing its season start to a total of five games won without a single loss.
This tied the team’s 1983-84 record. After thirteen games that featured ten wins, two losses, and a tie, the Rangers set a franchise record for having the best start in the season. This high came to a crashing end on October 13, 2008, with the sudden death of Cherepanov while he was playing a KHL game in Russia. After this, the second half of the regular season for the Rangers was disappointing. This led to the team’s coach at the time, Tom Renney, to be fired and then replaced by John Tortorella. Although the Rangers did make it into the 2009 playoffs, they were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in what was a tight seven-game series.
After the end of the 2008-09 season, the Rangers made additional trades that saw also NHL’s superstar, Marian Gaborik, sign up with the team. When the Rangers failed to make the playoffs, it was a bitter pill for the team to swallow. Come September 12, 2011, Ryan Callahan became the next team captain for the New York Rangers. It was during the 2010-11 season that saw several players were brought in with hopes to boost the team’s ability to score goals. It was also the same season, on November 12, 2010, that witnessed the unveiling of the Rangers’ new Heritage Jersey for the first time at the Rockefeller Center’s ice rink.
Done as part of the special ceremony, this historic event featured the current roster of the Rangers at that time, as well as its alumni, to discuss the history of the team’s franchise. This new jersey was worn for the first time on November 17, 2010, when the Rangers squared off against the Boston Bruins in Madison Square Garden. In a nail-biter season that saw the Rangers squeak their way into the playoffs, the dream of a fifth Stanley Cup victory was squashed for the second time in three years by the Washington Capitals. This bitter pill was too much for the Rangers to swallow, thus sparking a rivalry between these two teams that would endure for several seasons.
Another bitter pill occurred on May 13, 2011, when the team’s forward, Derek Boogaard was found dead in his home in Minnesota. After the 2010-11 season was over, the Rangers signed Brad Richards shortly after the team bought out Chris Drury’s contract. Replacing Drury was Ryan Callahan. As it turned out, the 2011-12 season saw the Rangers come out on top in the Eastern Conference with fifty-one wins and seven ties. Going into the playoffs again, the Rangers eliminated the Ottawa Senators before meeting face to face with their rivals, the Washington Capitals.
As to be expected, this intense series was highly physical as the Rangers were determined to not let the Capitals take them out of the playoffs for the third time in just four years. It wasn’t easy, but the Rangers did defeat their nemesis to win the Eastern Conference finals. However, another rival was the next hurdle for the Rangers as the New Jersey Devils were chomping at the bit to take them out. It took six games to do it, but the Devils did send the Rangers packing.
The 2012-13 season saw the New York Rangers make a series of trades that met with Stanley Cup disappointment again when they were eliminated by the Boston Bruins after the second round of the playoffs. Still general manager at the time, Glen Sather fired head coach John Tortorella, replacing him with Alain Vigneault. This resulted in a fruitful 2013-14 season that finally had the New York Rangers compete in the Stanley Cup finals. After eliminating the Philadelphia Flyers, then the Pittsburgh Penguins, and finally the Monreal Canadiens, the Rangers had one final team to take out and that was the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately, the team from the west coast proved to be too mighty, denying the Rangers its fifth Stanley Cup. After the season, the Rangers management team opted to regroup which saw Ryan McDonagh become the twenty-seventh team captain in the franchise’s history.
The decision to regroup the New York Rangers saw the 2014-15 season ended with the team winning its third President’s Trophy in its history as a franchise. With fifty-three wins, twenty-two losses, and seven ties, the Rangers set new franchise records. When going into the playoffs, the Rangers eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins before having to once again face off against the Washington Capitals. This infamous rivalry saw the Rangers come out on top. With just the Tampa Bay Lightning standing in the team’s way to earning its Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four years, the Rangers hoped to overcome this hurdle. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In the team’s own backyard, the Rangers lost its seventh game and were sent home empty-handed.
Going into the 2015-16 season, additional trades were made as the team strove to regroup. On July 1, 2015, Glen Sather retired as the team’s manager and was replaced by Jeff Gorton. The shaky season still saw the Rangers earn a playoff berth but it was short-lived when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated them in the first playoff round. The 2016-17 season also had a short-lived Stanley Cup run before it was followed by a disappointing 2017-18 season that kept the Rangers out of the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Vigneault was fired at the end of the season and was replaced by David Quinn. During the 2019-20 season, the New York Rangers found their regular season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it was announced there would be a twenty-four-team playoff tournament, the Rangers faced the Carolina Hurricanes during the first round. The Hurricanes came out on top while the Rangers had to wait yet another year to try and win the Stanley Cup prize.
On May 3, 2021, Artemi Panarin had his season come to an early end when he was injured by Tom Wilson, an aggressive forward from the Washington Capitals who cross-checked Pavel Buchnevich in the head and sent him crashing into Panarin. When it was learned Wilson was fined $5,000 USD for the incident, the disappointed New York Rangers voiced themselves which resulted in a $250,000 USD fine against them. The owner of the Rangers, James Dolan, fired the team’s president, John Davidson, and the general manager, Jeff Gorton. It was stated the firings were unrelated to the comments that resulted in the team’s hefty fine. Taking the place of the two men was Chris Drury, who later fired the team’s head coach, David Quinn, after the Rangers failed to qualify for the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. As of June 16, 2021, Gerard Gallant has become the new head coach for the New York Rangers.
As for the New York Rangers jerseys, the classic sweater design has been in use since the very beginning. There have been a number of alterations that have taken place over the years, including the RANGERS wording. The history of the sweaters first saw the Rangers use a light blue hue before switching to a darker shade in 1929. During the team’s 1946-47 season, the RANGERS lettering sported an arch above the player’s number. At the start of the 1951-52 season, the white jerseys made their debut with the team as part of a mandate that home games required darker jerseys to be worn while away games sported lighter jerseys.
During the 1976-77 season, the team’s general manager at the time, John Ferguson Sr., used rounded numbers and a shield logo on the jerseys but this was not popular among the fans and it was dropped in favor of an updated version of the classic design by the time the 1977-78 season began. The updated versions sported a V-neck collar. From 1978 until 1987, instead of RANGERS diagonally featured on the team’s jerseys, it was NEW YORK. This was similar to the 2010 heritage alternate jerseys they wore. In 1998, however, the team went back to RANGERS.
The team did, however, sport NEW YORK during an October 7, 2001 game in Madison Square Garden when they played against the Buffalo Sabres. This modified jersey was worn in wake of the September 11 attacks. From 1996 until 2007, there was an alternative jersey that featured the head of the Statue of Liberty. This became a fan favorite, as did the heritage jerseys.
First founded as a team in 1926, the New York Rangers are closing in on becoming a centennial team. As one of the Original Six, this classic team has as rich of a history as the city it represents. As a team, it has stood the test of time and it is only a matter of time before these iconic hockey heroes win another Stanley Cup.