With the remarkable season that the New York Rangers are having, it's no surprise
that fans and media alike have been trying to find similarities between this current
team and the iconic 1994 Stanley Cup Championship team. Unfortunately for those
trying to recapture the past success, everything, from the stellar regular season
record and Atlantic Division title to the second round matchup against the Washington Capitals
and now the ’94 conference final against Martin Brodeur and the Devils, has been
just a coincidence.
However there is one comparison with '94 that everybody can agree on: the city
of New York is truly falling in love with the Rangers for the first time since
that magical Cup run.
Ratings have been up across the National Hockey League all postseason, and
nowhere is that more evident than in New York. After drawing consistently good
ratings during games 1 through 6 of the first round, Game 7 is when New York really
took notice. A Game 7 in any sport in any venue is an exciting event, but a Game 7 at
the World’s Most Famous Arena is something special, something everyone wants
to be part of.
With the first Rangers Game 7 at Madison Square Garden since 1994, MSG Network drew at 5.4 in the New York market — the highest rated hockey game on the network since game 7 of the ’94 Final — according to PuckTheMedia. The impressive ratings continued throughout the second round against Washington,
including a 4.8 in Game 7, which marked the highest rated game ever on NBCSN in
the New York area. That record would go on to last a whole 48 hours, as Game 1 of
the Eastern Conference Final drew a 6.2 in New York.
Along with the new eyes watching the Rangers, the team has also become
increasingly visible in the print media. Since the playoffs started, the Rangers have
been consistently given the back pages of the New York Daily News, the New York
Post, Newsday and feature articles in the New York Times’ sports section.
Perhaps most shocking of all, hockey has been all but dominating sports talk radio
station WFAN. While there was always a touch of Rangers talk on Boomer and Carton
and Steve Somers’ show, the coverage has increased on all shows including, Mike
Francesa’s nationally syndicated Mike’s On. After pushing hockey aside for the last
fifteen or so years, Francesa has not only been dedicating the majority of his shows
to hockey, but he is talking about the Rangers with the passion of a fan and going to
playoff games at the Garden. In a sports saturated market like New York, it is import
to have somebody like Francesa fueling the conversation about the Rangers.
While all these things are great, there is nothing better for a Rangers fan than
walking around New York City and seeing a sea of blue. New York loves a winner and it’s
hard not to fall in love with this New York Rangers team. Welcome aboard, New