Big Moments in Rangers-Devils Rivalry

  • OCT. 8, 1982. The first game played between the cross-river rivals took place at Brendan Byrne Arena, and was won by the Devils, 3-2. It was the first win in franchise history. The Rangers and Devils met seven times in 1982-83, and they tied their last meeting of the season after splitting the first six. It was the beginning of an intense, evenly matched rivalry.
  • MAY 1, 1992. The Devils and Rangers met in the playoffs for the first time in the ’91-92 Patrick Division Semifinals. After the Devils defeated New York, 5-3, in Jersey to force a Game 7, the Rangers took care of business at Madison Square Garden with a decisive 8-4 victory. Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Darren Turcotte scored two goals apiece for the Rangers.
  • MAY 27, 1994. Despite going 0-6 against the Rangers during the regular season, the Devils found themselves leading the ’93-94 Conference Finals 3-2 against their Hudson River foes. Prior to Game 6 in New Jersey, Rangers captain Mark Messier guaranteed victory — and delivered. Messier’s hat trick lifted New York to a 4-2 victory, but they still needed one more win. In a double-OT thriller at the Garden, Stephane Matteau scored from behind the net on Calder-winning goaltender Martin Brodeur to give the Rangers a 2-1 victory. They would go on to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, defeating Vancouver in seven games.
  • MAY 11, 1997. The Rangers clinched their third consecutive playoff series against the Devils with a 2-1 OT victory in Game 5 at the Meadowlands. Adam Graves scored the winning goal on a wraparound after beating defenseman Scott Stevens. Rangers goalie Mike Richter stopped 46 shots to earn the win.

  • APR. 29, 2006. Despite a lack of playoff success against the Rangers, the two teams went in starkly different directions following the Rangers’ Cup victory in 1994. From 1995-2003, New Jersey compiled a 25-5-14 regular season record against New York and won three Stanley Cups in between. The Devils won 11 straight games to close the ’05-06 season and won the Atlantic Division by one point, overtaking the Rangers on the last day. The Devils proceeded to sweep the Rangers in the Conference Quarterfinals, outscoring them 17-4. After a 4-2 win in MSG, the Devils had finally ousted their rivals in the postseason.
  • APR. 13, 2008. In the fourth playoff meeting between the two teams, the Rangers took a 2-0 series advantage into Madison Square Garden. During a 5-on-3 power play in the second period, Ranger Sean Avery turned completely away from the play and did everything he could to distract Martin Brodeur. Worse for Marty, Avery scored moments later to give New York a 2-1 lead. The Devils would eventually win the game in OT thanks to a goal by John Madden, but that didn’t stop the debate on Avery’s tactics. The NHL instituted a rule the very next day outlawing such practices. The Rangers won the next two games to take the series, and Brodeur conveniently skipped over Avery in the handshake line.

  • MAY 25, 2012. For the first time since ’93-94, the Devils and Rangers collided in the Eastern Conference Finals. After a late goal by Ryan Carter helped the Devils take Game 5 in the Garden, they returned to the Prudential Center with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup for the first time since ’02-03. The game was deadlocked at the end of regulation. However, Adam Henrique scored 1:03 into OT after a furious netmouth scramble to propel the Devils to their fifth Cup Finals appearance. For Devils fans, Doc Emrick’s call will live on forever: “Henrique! It’s over!”

  • JAN. 26, 2014. This was the game played outdoors — how else? — on a frigid day at Yankee Stadium. At first the Devils looked like winners with an early goal burst but the Rangers trimmed it to 3-2 New Jersey at the end of the opening period. The Blueshirts smashed through with six straight goals — including four in the second frame — and won the game, 7-3, going away.Mats Zuccarello continued to establish his excellence with a pair of goals and was first star. Patrik Elias also got a pair in New Jersey’s losing cause. Despite the cold, the jammed crowd delighted in this unique event.
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The Most Enjoyable Season

On a frigid Wednesday night in Whippany, NJ several weeks ago, I was asked to address the New Jersey Devils’ Fan Club at their monthly meeting — much to the dismay of my wife.  Our MSG Networks’ Devils crew had just returned from a week on the road with stops in St. Louis, Colorado, and Arizona, and I had spent a grand total of one night at home over a 15-day stretch. But Mrs. Cangialosi gets it — this is a seven-day-a-week endeavor until the Devils are eliminated. Then the Red Bulls season is well under way and it’s a six-and-a-half-day-a-week endeavor. We’ve scheduled dinner for May 12.

But it’s a labor of love.

The Devils’ Fan Club is comprised of mostly longtime fans, many whom would drive to the Meadowlands to see their favorite team for a quarter of a century before making the adjustment of training to Prudential Center.

It’s an annual appearance for me, meeting and greeting some of the most loyal hockey fans you’ll find anywhere. Their questions range from anything such as ‘What’s Ken Daneyko really like?’ (Inconsolable after a Devils’ loss), to ‘What’s your favorite road venue?’ (Bell Centre in Montreal by a country mile), to ‘How many cigars does your producer Roland Dratch smoke daily?’ (I’ve stopped counting).

This year, however, was different. It struck me while I was addressing the group that this 10th season on the Devils’ broadcast crew has been far and away the most enjoyable. That statement, on the surface, might make little sense to you.

The Devils will emerge from the All-Star break with 32 games remaining in their regular season, on the bubble of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Penguins have their act together, the Lightning are playing well, and it’s a matter of time before Carey Price returns to the Canadiens. In short, it will be difficult — though not impossible — to qualify for the postseason. But there’s a plan, and that’s a wonderful thing.

MISSING LOU, CREDITING SHERO

Let’s be clear: I miss Lou Lamoriello. I miss him needling me on the day after a broadcast with gems such as “Really nice hearing you coach the team on the air last night, Steve. Any advice for tonight?”

He commanded respect in any room he entered. It could not have been easy for Ray Shero to step into a general manager’s role being the “new boss” after 28 years, yet Shero has made it work marvelously. His acquisition of Kyle Palmieri from Anaheim for 2nd and 3rd round draft choices has the potential to benefit New Jersey for the next decade. His signing of Lee Stempniak, after a professional tryout, rates as one of the best NHL bargains this season. In John Hynes, he’s appointed a head coach that I believe can have the longest run of anyone to hold his position previously (Jacques Lemaire’s first term from 1993-94 to 1997-98 currently being the longest).

Much of that is circumstantial. Hynes inherited a team from which observers around the league expected little — and he’ll likely be given time to cultivate this group and transform it into a winner. His name has been mentioned as a Jack Adams Award candidate this season, but even Hynes seems uncomfortable and uninterested in the chatter. As an NHL broadcaster, I have an Adams’ ballot and my first place vote would currently go to Washington’s Barry Trotz. Of course, Trotz has the horses, but you don’t disqualify candidates on that basis either.

DEVILS EPITOMIZE ‘TEAM’

So how can this be a “most enjoyable season” for someone who first joined the crew as a pre-game and post game host in 2006-07? Since then, the Devils have won three division titles. Martin Brodeur became the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender and the team, of course, advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.

It’s simple. I’m surrounded by players who from the first day of training camp didn’t care about predictions that forecasted them finishing 30th in a 30-team league. It all could have gone so wrong after an 0-3-1 start, but instead, the Devils got to work. There’s a life lesson here and you don’t get that too often in sports.

When Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique were sidelined with injuries, Michael Cammalleri stood calmly at his locker and said this team is not dependent on one or two players.

When John Moore was asked to point to the primary reason his team was in the playoff hunt, he pointed to “a level of coaching that I have not seen from any other staff.” Moore is a defenseman who’s played for a Stanley Cup-winning coach in John Tortorella and a coach who has led teams to Presidents’ Trophies on three occasions in Alain Vigneault.

We work in a results-oriented business and the time will surely come when the organizational nucleus of Shero-Hynes-Schneider-Larsson-Greene-Henrique will be judged on playoff wins and losses.

At present, it’s a team that does and says things for the right reasons. And we’re having a blast.

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EPISODE THREE PREVIEW

Programming Note: Episode Three Airs Tuesday at 11 PM on MSG after Knicks Post Game

Known as one of the most provocative characters in television history, Michael K. Williams’s portrayal of Omar Little on the hit series The Wire was groundbreaking.

Playing a tough, rugged street thug on the mean streets of Baltimore, Williams was able to challenge the stereotypes of what tough really means. He explained the dichotomy on Tuesday’s episode of Four Courses With JB Smoove.

“It was Omar’s homosexuality that I was able to find my connection to his character,” Williams said. “I equated homosexuality or being openly gay with being vulnerable … what was hard for me was making all y’all believe that I would really kill you. I found that reality through my vulnerability.”

Another poignant moment from episode three of Four Courses was when comedian Chris Distefano explained his process of telling jokes from his most emotional experiences and how fellow guest Artie Lange helped him during his career.

“In reality, to get the point that was funny, I had to go through a lot of mental pain,” he said. “And those jokes started with tears. Artie told me in the very beginning, ‘make sure you can escape the pain.’”

Other things you’ll see in episode three include:

·         Jay Pharoah’s hilarious impression of JB Smoove

·         A discussion on whether New York is better in the day or at night

·         The merits of double dipping and what constitutes double dipping

·         The PONY NYC Moment – where is the first place you would take a visitor in New York City?

Catch the show Tuesday after post game coverage of the Knicks-Celtics game on MSG.

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EPISODE TWO PREVIEW

Would you rather be consistently good for a long time or be great for just a short period time?

That was the thought-provoking question JB Smoove asked his guests – George Wallace, Michael Rapaport, Robert Kelly and Charles Smith – on the second episode of this season’s Four Courses With JB Smoove.

Wallace said he wanted to be just consistent throughout … for a very special reason.

“I am the most successful person in the world and everybody does not know my name,” he said. “But I can go pee!”

Smith differed with the veteran comic and provided his reason why he would choose being great.

“I would take the three years if I had to really work hard to go from good to great,” the former Knick said. “Because that experience, from going from good to great, will is going to carry me on for the rest of the my life even if they’re not saying my name.”

What would you take?

Other topics of conversation at the dinner table:

·         The talents, merits and looks of some of Hollywood’s biggest actors

·         Why 21 Jump Street actors Richard Greico and Johnny Depp had diverging paths to their careers

·         George Wallace’s special relationship with friend and fellow comedian, Jerry Seinfeld.

You’ll also learn why Wallace has a family connection to seven Super Bowl rings and why he believes that the Braves and Falcons are in some way related to Chick-fil-A.

Catch the show Sunday on MSG after coverage of the Knicks-Warriors game.

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Show Clips: Knicks-Celtics 1973 ECF

Check out some exclusive clips from The Garden’s Defining Moments – Knicks-Celtics 1973 Eastern Conference Finals:

Watch: Beantown vs. The Big Apple
Look back at the New York Knicks’ magical 1972-73 season and the team’s intense rivalry with the Boston Celtics:

Watch: Easter Sunday Thriller
Minus stars Earl Monroe and John Havlicek, the Knicks and Celtics put on a show for The Garden crowd in Game 4 of the 1973 ECF, as the Knicks prevailed in double overtime:

Watch: Knicks Win 1973 NBA Championship
Ned Irish’s criticism helps ‘Good overcome Evil’, as the Knicks moved past the Celtics on their way to capturing the 1973 NBA Championship:

Ned Irish’s criticism helps ‘Good overcome Evil’, as the Knicks moved past the Celtics on their way to capturing the 1973 NBA Championship.

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JIMMER FREDETTE SELECTED TO 2016 NBA D-LEAGUE ALL-STAR TEAM

**COURTESY WESTCHESTER KNICKS**

WHITE PLAINS, January 29, 2016 – The NBA Development League announced today that guardJimmer Fredette has been selected to represent the Eastern Conference at the 2016 NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire on Saturday, Feb. 13. The game, featuring 24 top prospects from the NBA’s official minor league, will air live on NBA TV and NBA TV Canada at 2:00 p.m. ET from Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum.

Fredette, 6-2, 195 pounds, was originally acquired by the Westchester Knicks in the 2015 NBA D-League Draft (first round, second overall). The Glens Falls, NY native became the second GATORADE Call-Up of the 2015-16 NBA Development League season when he was signed by the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 10, 2015. Fredette returned to Westchester after being waived by the Pelicans on Nov. 19, 2015.

Appearing in 22 games for Westchester so far this season, Fredette is averaging 22.1 points, 5.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals over 36.9 minutes per game and currently ranks fifth in the league in scoring (22.1 points) and seventh in steals (1.9 steals).

VISIT WESTCHESTER KNICKS TEAM PAGE

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WESTCHESTER KNICKS ACQUIRE KEITH BOGANS

**COURTESY WESTCHESTER KNICKS**

WHITE PLAINS, January 29, 2016 – The Westchester Knicks, the official NBA Development League affiliate of the New York Knickerbockers, announced today that the team has acquired forward Keith Bogans from the available player pool.

Bogans, 6-5, 215 pounds, is a veteran of 11 seasons in the NBA with eight organizations (Orlando Magic, Charlotte Bobcats, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics). A four-year starter for the Kentucky Wildcats, Bogans was selected in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2003 NBA Draft by Milwaukee before being traded to Orlando. Appearing in 671 career NBA games, Bogans has averaged 6.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over 21.6 minutes per game.

Westchester also announced today the release of forward Ben Strong. In 10 games for the Knicks this season, Strong averaged 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds over 15.4 minutes per game.

VISIT WESTCHESTER KNICKS TEAM PAGE

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Knicks Sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

**COURTESY NEW YORK KNICKS**

NEW YORK, January 29, 2016 – New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo – from the Westchester Knicksto a 10-day contract. His signing marks the 15th NBA Gatorade D-League call-up of the season.

Antetokounmpo, 6-7, 205-pounds, is averaging 10.3 points, on 50.2-percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.26 blocks over 27.7 minutes in 27 games (25 starts) for the D-League’s Eastern Conference-leading Westchester Knicks (16-11) this season.

The Athens, Greece-native was originally selected by New York in the second round (51st overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft, attending training camp in 2015 before being waived on Oct. 23, 2015, returning to Westchester for the second straight season. He is the older brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis.

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Rangers Mid-Season Review

Expectations define fan analysis. When you have the success the Rangers have had over the last three seasons, the goal is Stanley Cup or bust. So, a 98-point pace at the All-Star break is not what the fan base is willing to accept, even though it is actually a two point improvement on their Stanley Cup Final regular season.

Inconsistency has plagued this Rangers team. An incredible start to begin the season matched the pre-season expectations, but a lot of the Rangers success was percentage driven. Unsustainable shooting and MVP goaltending pushed the Rangers to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, even though their possession game and underlying play were more of a mid-tier Eastern Conference playoff team. When the percentages evened out like they tend to do, the Rangers moved into their current spot in the standings.

The Rangers expected goal percentage for the season’s first 49 games offered an interesting look into their inconsistent results. The Rangers, while not a possession powerhouse, had been able to hover around the 50% mark in goal creation until a six-game stretch in late November. While the loss to the Edmonton Oilers garnered most of the attention, the Rangers correction had already begun to occur.

Your whole schedule defines who you are, but it is encouraging to note that for 43 of the Rangers 49 games, they were able to play their opponents to a standstill and allow talent to determine the outcome. A successful model when you have a goaltender that is the pedigree of ‘The King.’

This is how the Rangers are built. They are built for speed on one side of the puck. While the Rangers cause all types of havoc for teams with creative zone entries and gaining the offensive zone with speed, they have a tendency to struggle with foot speed on the defensive side of the puck. This offensive speed and creativity allow the Rangers to manipulate space to take advantage of the slot line, but they sometimes struggle to protect Henrik Lundqvist from the same dangers when forced to defend their zone for sustained stretches.

This occurred during their failed Cup run last season and they were forced to lean on goaltending to survive. As the playoffs moved on, they struggled to outplay the Capitals and then the Lightning. The question of whether the Rangers window had closed was reliant on how the Rangers young core could develop and shift the responsibility away from core players entering their post-prime seasons.

There have been bright spots among the Rangers younger core and strong play by JT Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider, but they need the younger core to make a bigger leap in the second half.

If we look at their on-ice differentials (these are expected goal totals for each player while they are on the ice and not individual shooting totals) while they remain positive, these numbers aren’t adjusted for strength of competition. Dylan McIlrath, while impressive, has had the advantage of riding shotgun with Keith Yandle as he continues to crush his third pairing exploitation minutes. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal don’t have this luxury.

Lindberg, while a different type of player than the departed Carl Hagelin, has replaced that production nicely and Miller has made a nice adjustment and improved on his totals from last season. He has also shown some ability to drive the play when given more responsibility. Hayes was one of the players who struggled to drive play during the six-game stretch and hasn’t made the scoring leap yet, required to bridge the aging core.

When we look at their actual performance vs. their expected goal totals, we can see how the Rangers have relied on percentages for success. The above numbers represent the amount of goals scored based on a player’s individual shooting position and pre-shot movement. The average is based on what an average players success rate would be in the same environment.

While players like Rick Nash are above average shooters and will likely always remain in the positive, it still gives us a good idea of who has been lucky and is scoring at an unsustainable pace. Mats Zuccarello stands out as somebody who is scoring at an unsustainable pace as he has outperformed his shooting positions by almost nine goals through the first half of the season. We can also see why Kreider has taken so much heat as his on-ice production is in the positive, but his actual shooting production has been well below his expected outcomes.

The Rangers are a highly-skilled team who have the ability to cheat percentages and should maintain their playoff standing, the issue is the concerns I had from October haven’t been fully addressed.

The first half has highlighted spectacular individual performances, but also deficiencies holding back the Rangers from ultimate success. The expectation remains the Cup and the window remains open just a sliver. The Rangers need to pry it open by breaking their dependency on Lundqvist and addressing their depth issues from internal improvement through their youth or through trade.

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INFOGRAPHIC: 1973 KNICKS-CELTICS SERIES

In the spring of 1973, the Knicks defeated the Celtics in seven games of the Eastern Conference Finals en route to their second NBA championship.

msg_defining-moments_knicks-versus-celtics_1973_20160128

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