No one is more thrilled to see the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final than Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan.
Dolan, who was on the radio with WFAN's Mike Francesa Tuesday, said he's been a hockey fan since he was a 10-year-old growing up on Long Island.
"Started off as a Rangers fan. I went to the old Garden," Dolan said. "We used to play hockey in my basement. We would play hockey and do the play-by-play while playing. One of us would be Marty Glickman. I've been a hockey fan a long time."
The timing of having a team play for a championship couldn't be better for the Garden, given that it comes right after they have completed a major renovation of the arena.
"It's great for the city and it affirms Madison Square Garden's place as the premier arena in the United States, if not the world," Dolan said.
Dolan gave team president and general manager Glen Sather a lot of credit for getting the Rangers to where they are today.
"I'm very proud of the job that Glen's done," Dolan said. "He's been masterful, particularly the last couple of years, putting together the team."
Dolan talked about how it hadn't been an easy year for the Rangers, beginning with the decision to fire coach John Tortorella, whom he considers a good friend, at the end of last season.
He was quick to add, however, that he thinks first-year coach Alain Vigneault is doing a good job.
"I'm pretty good friends with Torts. We got along really well and had a fun time while he was here," Dolan said. "Glen is the one who knows. Glen had his reasons for doing what he was doing."
Dolan admitted that he didn't have much hope when the Rangers were down 3-1 to the Penguins in the conference semifinals. In fact, he said he did not go to Game 5 in Pittsburgh. He is going to Los Angeles, however, for Games 1 and 2.
Said Dolan: "It's new ground for me. I've never had any team in the finals. I'm obviously excited, a little nervous. I don't know what I'm going to feel like when that puck drops in L.A."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.