Judge David Johnson is a blueshirt. A jackbooted blueshirt.
Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! MATTEAU!!!!
It's 2012 and once again my beloved New York Knickerbockers have been eliminated with little fanfare from the playoffs, pushing their title drought to a robust 40 years. Thankfully, through Divine planning—or the fact that my editor had no idea what to do with it—New York Rangers: Road to Victory was sitting on my doorstep, allowing me to experience the last Madison Square Garden team to have any championship success in my lifetime.
The 1994 New York Rangers put together a pretty epic Stanley Cup run, captained by the legendary Mark Messier and coached by Mike Keenan, a fiery coach who wasn't afraid to bench his best players in the playoffs to send a message. In the playoffs.
Road to Victory provides an exhaustive look at this Rangers squad, starting with the years of heartache and the supposed curses besieging the Original Six team to the pivotal trade for Mark Messier, signaling the Blueshirts were set to make a serious run.
It took a couple of years and more than a few setbacks and devastating losses, but the 1994 playoffs found the Rangers sitting atop the standings, sporting two of the top players in the game (Messier and Brian Leetch), and a goalie primed for a hot streak in Mike Richter.
It wasn't a cake walk and required an immortal performance by Messier in Game 6 against the hated New Jersey Devils (following an immortal win guarantee) and a stunningly more-difficult-than-it-should-have-been seven game series against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
New York Rangers: Road to Victory makes for a compelling sports story and is well-suited to the 90 minute documentary treatment. So good news Rangers fans, you can relive the last smattering of glory for your beleaguered franchise.
The feature is well-produced, tracking the building of the team, supplementing on-ice snippets and archived footage with current interviews from some big names involved in the team's success (Messier, Leetch, Keenan, Matteau). And all the big moments are given their proper dramatic pop: Messier's Game 6, Matteau's game-winner, Richter's clutch goaltending against the Devils. Very well-orchestrated and sweeping enough to give both Rangers fans and hockey followers a solid dose of goosebumps.
Good DVD presentation, too: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 stereo, and a bunch of bonus footage including interviews and clips of the players cavorting with the Stanley Cup. I just would have liked to have seen some uninterrupted game footage.
Not Guilty. At least someone got to hang a banner in MSG in the last
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