NBC Sports Talk posed an interesting question last night: how do current New York Rangers compare to the Stanley Cup-winning 1993-94 version? Before PHT goes a little deeper with this, here’s the video of that discussion.
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(Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a money goalie? I dunno … he did kinda win a gold medal in one of the few instances in which he had a truly elite team in front of him. Just saying.)
Anyway, that video touched on Mark Messier and intangible type stuff, but I thought it would be more fun to take a quick-and-dirty comparison between the two.
1993-94 New York Rangers
Record: 52-24-8 for 112 points; first overall in the Atlantic Division; Goals For: 299 (fourth overall); Goals Against: 231 (third overall); PP%: 23.02 (96 goals); PK%: 84.6 (67 allowed); 20 shorthanded goals for, five against
Leading scorers: Sergei Zubov (89 points), Mark Messier (84), Adam Graves and Brian Leetch (79)
Goalies: Mike Richter (42-11-6 in 68 GP; .910 save percentage and 2.57 GAA with five shutouts) and Glenn Healy (10-12-2 for .878 save percentage, 3.03 GAA and two shutouts)
To help correct for the different scoring paces of the times, Richter’s save percentage was eight overall, his GAA ranked fifth among goalies and he was an All-Star in 93-94.
2011-12 New York Rangers
Record: 37-13-5 for 79 points; first overall in Atlantic Division; Goals For: 156 (12th overall); Goals Against: 110 (first overall); PP%: 14.81 (28); PK%: 87.15 (23); seven shorthanded goals for and three against
Leading scorers: Marian Gaborik (49), Ryan Callahan (42), Brad Richards (39) and Derek Stepan (37).
Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist (27-11-4 with a .941 save percentage, 1.77 GAA and seven shutouts) and Martin Biron (10-2-1 with a .919 save percentage with a 2.03 GAA and two shutouts).
Similarities: The teams certainly share some common traits. The ’94 Rangers had a coach who liked to yell at people (Mike Keenan) and the current version certainly does (John Tortorella). Both teams have an All-Star goalie and fairly balanced scoring, without having anyone who threatened for the Art Ross Trophy. Oh yeah, the current Rangers are sitting atop the Atlantic Division, which the 1994 ones won.
Differences: That doesn’t mean there aren’t big differences, though. As you can see from Zubov and Leetch being in the team’s top four scorers, the old version produced a lot more points from the blueline. (Not to say that Mike del Zotto is chopped liver offensively, but the gap is glaring.)
The current team also isn’t quite as balanced, but the biggest difference might be in special teams. The 2011-12 team’s power play is pretty punch-less while the older one was strong, especially in scoring an impressive 20 shorties to just five allowed.
Captains: Finally, both teams have a heart-and-soul captain, although one’s more famous and the other has quite a bit more hair.
Overall, I think there are some interesting parallels, but the current Rangers might be a few strides behind. (Unless they nab Rick Nash and become a more potent offensive team, perhaps.)