This Happened In New York Sports For The First Time In 29 Years
For New York sports fanatics, 2023 is heating up like another very special year. If you are a "New York" NBA and/or NHL fan, 1994 was one for the memory banks. And, something happened on Wednesday that hasn't occurred since '94.
29 years ago, Madison Square Garden hosted the NBA Finals and the NHL Finals. Names like Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch dominated the New York sports pages. Could 2023 be shaping up to bring the same excitement to the Big Apple? Well, at least 5 of the stars are lining up.
On Wednesday night, the New York Islanders defeated the Montreal Canadians 4-2. This marked the first time in 29 years that the Knicks, Nets, Islanders, Rangers AND New Jersey Devils all made the playoffs in the same season. Yes, I know there are the New York sports fans that don't want the Devils included. Those could be the same people that say that the Buffalo Bills are New York's only NFL team. Different discussion.
As pointed out by Ethan Sears of nypost.com, 1994 was the year that Mark Messier was leading the charge to break a 54-year Stanley Cup draught for the New York Rangers and their faithful fans vs. 60-goal scorer Pavel Bure and Vancouver Canucks. At the same time, Patrick Ewing and a tough New York Knicks team was battling Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
The cool thing about 1994, that likely won't happen this year, the teams had to go through their metropolitan rivals to reach the championship round. On their way to reaching the NHL finals, the Rangers disposed of the Islanders in the first round before squeaking by the Devils in a wild 7-game series. The Knicks knocked-off the Nets in the first round. A guarantee here, the Knicks and Nets will not play in the 2023 NBA playoffs.
29 years ago in June, Messier lifted the cup and the curse for the Blue Shirts. Ewing was not so lucky, He and the Knicks fell to the Rockets in an epic 7-game series. Hopefully, as the stars, or New York playoff teams have aligned, 2023 provides some of the same drama and excitement that 1994 brought New York sports fans.