The NHL Playoffs are beginning to feel a bit like they did in the mid-90s, when all three local New York teams were a steady presence in the postseason. This year, the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders made the playoffs and both are looking to do damage.
And that is a good thing for the game and hockey in the New York area, so says former Rangers goaltender Mike Richter.
Richter’s Stanley Cup winning team in 1994 beat the Islanders in the opening round and had an epic series win in the Eastern Conference Finals over the New Jersey Devils. With the Rangers and Islanders both in the postseason and the Devils in contention for much of the year, the area’s hockey teams are back to having success and beating up on each other. A trend that might continue.
“The Islanders have been building for a long time, people had great expectations last year," Richter told Metro. "Experience is the greatest teacher and that’s why the Rangers have such a big edge over some teams.
“I love the fact that the metropolitan teams are that good. The Rangers-Flyers rivalry is that good; Rangers-Flyers will always be there. The more that happens in the playoffs: Pittsburgh there is some recent history.”
Richter holds the franchise record for games played, was a multi-year All-Star and won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics.
Heading into the playoffs, Richter didn’t “see a lot of big, red flags” for this Rangers team, who are currently embroiled in a first round series with the Penguins.
Currently, one of Richter’s passions is Great Cycle Challenge USA, a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Last year, the June event raised over $1.7 million with the hope of breaking $2.2 million this year.
Participants are encouraged to find sponsors for each mile they ride. The cycling he said can be outdoors or even in a spin class at a gym. The goal is to raise money for the Minneapolis-based charity.