Though this video has been available on YouTube for what seems like forever, it just never gets old. It is one of the rare videos taken during a dark time in New York Rangers history that you can just watch over and over again and still laugh your head off. The date was Wednesday, November 5, 1997, and the Rangers were off to a mediocre start in what would be the first of seven consecutive seasons without a trip to the playoffs. They had taken a 4-1 lead at Madison Square Garden on the perennial-contending Colorado Avalanche on goals by Wayne Gretzky, Pat LaFontaine, Kevin Stevens, and Niklas Sundstrom, with Mike Richter in goal. Time was running out in the third period, and legendary Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy was not about to let the game end as dismally as it had been played. So, with just under four minutes to go in the game, the puck drifted down into his end, and he took it. Rather than passing it off and leaving it for a teammate, he decided to go for a little waltz down Broadway, turning a game that no one would ever remember into a memory of a lifetime. Let’s have a look:
Though it was the action of Roy making a daring entrance into the neutral zone (and deking out Wayne Gretzky, no less!) that made this a little part of history, the video would not be the same without the colorful announcing of Sam Rosen and John Davidson. Just hearing J.D’s laugh makes me realize just how much I miss him. Those years might not have been something to remember, but listening to that duo made it seem like you were sitting down to watch hockey every night with old friends—through all the miserable seasons, the tandem of Sam and J.D made it a little more bearable.
I actually have a lot of fond memories of the Avalanche as they became a second favorite team of mine when I was growing up, when the Rangers were fielding mediocre teams year after year. I cheered them on in the playoffs, went to see them when they played against the Devils at Continental Airlines Arena, and bought a jersey of theirs, and still have one today that I wear on occasion. Patrick Roy became my favorite non-Ranger, and when I wrote him a letter asking for an autograph when I was about ten years old, a few months later, a signed picture and a few team stickers arrived in the mail with a short note of thanks on their maroon, black, and silver team stationary. Patrick probably never saw the letter, but it was still a nice gesture by the organization. Though the stickers are long-gone, the letter and autograph are cherished items in my hockey memorabilia collection. I hope you enjoyed that little video, as every week here on FNYTSF, we will try to reminisce old-time hockey, to bring back some of those moments that have been lost to time.