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1994? Really?

MARK MESSIER, Hockey After a three-season stint in

After a three-season stint in Vancouver, Messier returned to the Rangers as a 40-year-old. In 2000-01, his first season back in Blue, he improved his numbers across the board, finishing with 24 goals and 67 points. At 43, he had 25 assists for the first time in three seasons, and for the 22nd time in his career. In all, Messier netted 67 goals and totaled 173 points in his final four seasons.
Credit: Newsday/Paul J. Bereswill

Disturbs me to read the comparisons in the media.

18 years.

Different NHL. Different game. Different coaches. The circumstances may be similar by a coincidence of the calendar, but come on.

The sweaters are the same but the teams are completely different. (Martin Brodeur is only one left on either squad).

The arena isn't the same for Game 6.

Sure, the Rangers have shown heart and grit and have Henrik Lundqvist, who presumably will rebound in Game 6 on Friday, "the anniversary".

But win or lose Friday in Newark, to me, it really is a fool's-gold reach to evoke 1994.

This Rangers team, in a rebuilding year, has accomplished an awful lot with very little. The 1994 team was more balanced, with more firepower.

Can they win on Friday or did the Devils deliver a deadly physical and mental blow yesterday at MSG?

Sure, the Rangers can win. Check the track record. The toughest games to win are elimination games, and the Devils (5-2 at home in the playoffs) have been tough at The Rock in the last two months. Yet there could be a Game 7 on Sunday at MSG.

But then, the more accurate comparison would be this year's Game 7s against Ottawa and Washington. If there is any at all....

Then again, Marc Staal did say in the somber locker room:  "We'll regroup and get the next one."


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