Skip to main content

Making His Mark

I've never been one for neatness, so you might say I'm a little messier than the average guy. Or, if we're talking hockey, you could also say I'm a little Messier than the average guy and I'd be okay with that too. Of course, in that case, we're talking about ex-New York Rangers legend (and that is the appropriate word here) Mark Messier

They raised the captain's No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in what by all accounts was a touching display, and Jaromir Jagr took the proverbial torch from the Rangers captain and lit the lamp for the game-winning goal in overtime as the Rangers defeated the Edmonton Oilers.

Mark Messier shall be hailed forever in New York sports as the leader of the team that ended a 54-year drought without a Stanley Cup championship. You can place him on a level with the all-time greats who have played for city teams, and if you insist on separating the imports from the homegrowns, his place belongs right alongside Reggie Jackson (sorry for the Yankees reference...he's a better comparison than Mike Piazza).

You can, should, and will talk about the guaranteed win in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils, when Messier scored three third-period goals to cap a Rangers comeback from the brink of elimination as his defining moment, or the game-winning goal he was (probably unjustly) credited with in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks, but in this space, and this case, we'll talk walk-offs because it seems most appropriate.

The one I wish to reference took place during that 1994 season, the regular season actually, on January 27, 1994. As Rangers games go, I'm guessing it's not one that is particularly well-remembered, since there were many games that overshadowed it, but this is one with a fun finish. It is albeit a little messier (or Messier) than most games because of the way it concluded.

The Rangers were the hot team in the NHL throughout 1993-94 and they were in the midst of a nice run in January, having followed up three straight losses with four consecutive victories. They aimed for number five in Los Angeles against Wayne Gretzky and the Kings and it looked like they'd get it with ease, as the Rangers had a 4-1 lead in the second period, with a Gretzky goal the lone Los Angeles tally. The Kings, on their home ice, mounted a nice comeback against Rangers goalie Mike Richter, scoring twice in the second to get within a goal and then striking for the tying goal with 4:13 remaining in regulation.

This one went almost the full extra five minutes allotted to such contests. The Rangers dominated the overtime, but couldn't score. In the closing seconds, the Rangers caught an unusual break when Tony Granato came off the bench too soon on a change, trying to thwart a New York breakaway. The call, amazingly enough was for a penalty shot, but Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey was up for the challenge, and he stopped Rangers forward Tony Amonte's 1-on-1 attempt.

The ensuing face-off was in the Kings zone, but only 11 seconds remained, so there wasn't much time to try to work something out. The 1994 Rangers were a team that flourished in all situations regardless of time or score and on this occasion, it was there captain who came through. The Kings won the face-off and tried to immediately clear, but Rangers defenseman Sergei Zubov kept the puck in the zone and fired a slapshot. Hrudey made the save but could not corral the rebound. Messier, coming from behind the net, curled in and scored the winner on a backhand shot.

"I learned that from 'The Great One,'" Messier told reporters after the game, referring to Gretzky, and I wonder if Jagr said the same thing after Thursday night's game referring to his nifty game-winning wrist shot.

True Mettier fans know...The 1993-1994 Rangers had three regular-season walk-off (overtime) goals (scored by Mark Messier, Mike Gartner and Tony Amonte) and two more in the postseason (both tallied by Stephane Matteau).

Back to baseball, with maybe a little Jets, over the weekend or next week

Comments

Metstradamus said…
Jaromir Jagr scored the overtime "walk-off" winner on Messier Night...and also the overtime "walk-off" winner during Gretzky's final NHL game as well while with the Penguins.

Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry walk-offs...so if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls

The 'Duca of Earl (and walk-offs)

If I told you that the Mets had just obtained a guy who is a career .316 hitter with runners in scoring position? How about if I told you that the Mets just traded for a hitter who has consistently ranked among the toughest in baseball to strike out? Or if I mentioned that the Mets just dealt for a player who was selected to the NL All-Star team the last three seasons, with the last honor coming via a vote by his peers? So, although he's on the down side age wise, his throwing arm isn't as good as it used to be, and he doesn't provide much power, there are a lot of good things that Paul Lo Duca brings to the New York Mets. For example: He'll sacrifice his body for the good of the team The Dodgers and Braves squared off on August 23, 2002 and Lo Duca made an impact both on the start and finish of this game. Three pitches after being dusted by Greg Maddux, Lo Duca made him pay with a first-inning home run. The Braves rallied to tie the game, 3-3 in the ninth, but thei

Minutiae Break: Worst Mets Relievers

It occurs to me after 79 straight walk-off related posts and some fatigue still remaining from Saturday's finish that I did promise to bring Metspective on other issues related to the Flushing 9, so I offer this posting up as a "Minutiae Break." This came about after several discussions related to the offhand Dick Tidrow/Danny Graves remark the other day , the conclusion of which indicated that it would be fun to create a list of the worst Mets relievers of all-time. I don't want to step on the territory of other bloggers, like " Faith and Fear in Flushing ," Mets Guy in Michigan " and " Metstradamus ," so I'll tread carefully here, aided by their influence. Should any friends, family members, or fans of these pitchers visit this site, I mean no harm. I'm just here to have a little fun with this topic. The ground rules are as follows: The pitcher must have had a Mets stint as long as Dick Tidrow's (11 games, 15 2/3 innings), for