1994 was a long time ago…
Either you lived it or you have repeatedly lived it through the story telling on MSG Network, but ’94 was the greatest time ever to be both a Knicks and Rangers fan. Literally, every night from October on the buzz at MSG was at an all-time high. I remember going to Rangers games the night after a Knicks game and feeling the hangover buzz from what took place on the hardwood the night before.
I talked about ’94 with Lori Rubinson of WFAN early this morning and with the NHL coming back so do the memories of when the Knicks and Rangers potentially could play late into the Spring and into the Summer.
’94 was an emotional year for so many reasons, both horrible and exciting all wrapped into a huge ball of anxiety. The Knicks and the Rangers provided a distraction, a much-needed one, at a vulnerable time in the development of this teenager. I will avoid details but that was a time where many things were going on including the loss of a good friend far too young, choosing a college, trying to win a state championship and trying to afford going to the prom.
The Rangers had Mark Messier who, like Carmelo Anthony, wanted the bright lights of New York. Mess wanted the responsibility of slaying the biggest dragon in the history of this city. That 54-year curse loomed so big on that arena and its patrons that people refused to allow themselves the opportunity to believe mid season. The Rangers had just come off a terrible season in 92-93 and Messier essentially run Roger Neilson out of town. He was a marked man left alone in a sea of doubters.
Except in the locker room.
He had his players and he had his coach. Granted, Messier would leave the game as arguably the second greatest player in NHL history and was a champion before forcing his way to NY, but in New York none of that mattered. Messier led the team by example and force. He was an absolute horse that players, like Adam Graves and Brian Leetch, followed. He got the best out of them. He mentored young talent like Alex Kovalev and Tony Amonte and finished plays set up by Sergei Zubov.
The Rangers had veterans, and added more at the deadline, and prepared themselves for a rush for the Cup and for New York immortality.
And that’s really the point isn’t it? Shouldn’t we embrace Carmelo for wanting this here? Lebron had his chance and passed. Melo’s proving to us every night how good he is and what is goal for this franchise is: the division, home court and the best road to June.
The 94 Knicks were a great team but they were flawed. This Knicks team, to me, is better and the Conference is weaker. They are built to beat Miami and get to the Finals. There are a lot of parallels with the 94 Rangers, but let’s stop it there. Let’s start to enjoy the potential 2013 has for both teams and for the arena.
It’s been a long time coming.