What was your favorite moment in Stanley Cup Finals history?
Will Carroll: I'm a teenager - the WHA is just a memory and I'm as far away from Market Square Arena as I can imagine. My ribs had been broken during wrestling season and baseball had left me gasping after every game. Instead of going out much, I'd come home and lay down. We had cable at that point and I can remember Tom Mees' voice as he said "The Oilers win! Gretzky, Messier, and the Oilers have won the Cup!" I'd felt more connected to the Isles, but this was a real WHA win and Gretzky, well, I'll always remember him as the awkward teenager who was going to high school before he'd come and play. I hadn't though the upstarts had a chance against Billy Smith, but they did and that loooooong empty net goal at the end was symbolic. I was late - watching highlights, not live - and I may have been the only one in the area code that cared, but I still smile thinking about it.
Robert Vollman: 1989, I was in deep on the Calgary Flames and simply couldn't afford to lose. The game was pure excitement, and it was glorious to see Lanny McDonald hoist the Stanley Cup, almost as glorious as it was to see my youngest daughter again when Fat Tony released her. I don't know how I would have explained things to my wife had Claude Lemieux scored that late goal and taken the game to overtime. It was a thrilling finish to a great series, and I haven't been that emotional about a Stanley Cup since having my legs broken during Tampa Bay victory in 2004.
Tom Awad: It was the spring of 1993. I was an acne-faced teenager in my last year of high school, just discovering girls. Her name was Claire.
She was very much into sports, moreso than me, so when the
Canadiens won the Cup in 1993 we made plans with two
of our friends to go attend the parade. The excitement of the
whole city was in the air, as the Canadiens hadn't won the
Cup for A WHOLE SEVEN YEARS!!!
Claire and I dated on and off for the next two years, but I've
never had another parade to attend.
For an actual hockey game, I was watching Calgary-Vancouver
game 7 in 1989, in overtime, thinking to myself: "One goal
and the Canadiens have the Cup handed to them on a silver
platter!" Stan Smyl nearly got that goal, but Mike Vernon
made a spectacular glove save that I can still see today. As
predicted, the Flames won and made Rob a rich man down the
Iain Fyffe: My favorite Stanley Cup Finals memory is from 1993, when Canadiens coach Jacques Demers called for a stick measurement on the much-hated
King Marty McSorley. Eric Desjardins (why the Habs ever let him go
I'll never understand) scored the tying goal, and then the winning
goal less than a minute into overtime to complete his hat trick.
Desjardins 3, Los Angeles 2. After going a solid 6-3-6 in overtime
during the regular season, it seems the Habs couldn't lose in overtime
that year. They did lose their first playoff game to Quebec in
overtime, but then proceeded to reel off a record 10 straight
victories in OT, including games 2, 3, and 4 of the Finals to take a
stranglehold on the series.
I was 16 at the time, and it was the first (and to date, last) time I
was able to really watch my beloved Habs in the Finals. The 1989
Finals were the first time I remember paying attention to the NHL,
since my father was a big Montreal fan. But my memories of that year
Vincent Damphousse will always remain one of my all-time favorites. He
cemented his place in Habs history with 23 points en route to the Cup,
in his first season in a Montreal uniform. Ah, Damphousse, Muller and
Bellows, those were the days. It was kind of nostalgic late this
season, with both Matt Schneider and Patrice Brisebois patrolling the
blueline again. They're the last two players from the 1993 roster that
are still in the NHL, and there they were, together again. It could
have been a hell of a centennial, couldn't it? Ah well, there's always
Timo Seppa: Coming off seeing Alex Kovalev and Mark Messier overcome a seemingly impregnable 2-0 Devils lead (yeah, their defense was that formidable) in person at Brendan Byrne Arena, I have to admit that I missed "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!" while in transit to Sweden and Finland for a vacation preceding my cousin's wedding. In fact, for the huge Rangers fan I was in 1994, I've never gone back and watched that Game 7 of the Conference Finals, probably because I considered the finals an inevitability. I also missed the Blue Shirts' puzzling Game 1 loss -Sorry friends, the Canucks honestly weren't in their league- but I was able to tune into Games 2-4 in the wee early morning hours while staying with friends in Stockholm. I particularly remember jumping around and flailing in a dark living room as New York poured it on for 5-1, 4-2 and 6-3 thrashings of Vancouver - all in silence so that I wouldn't wake the sleeping family and sleeping baby. Back in the US, I watched Pat Quinn's goons run roughshod and relatively unpenalized in Games 5-6, setting up a memorable Game 7 that I watched from the comfort of my worn old couch.
David Laurila: Watching playoff hockey is typically either heartbreaking or euphoric. It is seldom easy. In 1997, the Red Wings finally escaped the demons of disappointment when they captured their first Cup in 40-plus years -- their first in my lifetime. The seasons leading up to it had been dagger-in-the-heart tragic, almost pre-2004-Red Soxian, with talent-laden Red Wings teams rife with promise and expectations falling just short. Losing to the Sharks, in 1994, was arguably the most crushing, Osgoodís Game 7 misplay being almost Buckneresque. Being swept in the finals the following year was bedeviling in its brevity and abruptness. 1996 once again had a Red Sox quality, the vanquishing Avalanche playing the role of the arch-rival Yankees. While Steve Yzermanís spectacular double-overtime goal against the Blues had seemingly been a harbinger of destiny, not unlike Fiskís shot off the pole, it was again false hope. Then came 1997. When Darren McCarty scored his highlight-reel goal in the deciding game, one that was far more Yzerman-like than McCarty-like, fans in Hockeytown could finally rejoice. Vladimir Konstantinovís tragic accident would mar the euphoria only days later -- hockey is seldom easy -- but there was still the Cup. There was finally a Cup. I wonít forget that.
Richard Pollock: While Mario Lemeiux's incredible goal in 1991 stands out, I'd have to say that my favorite Stanley Cup memory has to be the Red Wings' dominating performance over the Capitals in 1998. What was memorable was not the fact that the Wings had just won back-to-back Stanley Cups (the first team to do that since the early 90's Penguins), or the fact that Detroit was such a tremendous team; rather, what I remember most was the presentation after the final horn when the Wings presented the Stanley Cup to teammate Vladimir Konstantinov. Obviously, there was no classier player than Steve Yzerman, and the way he handled the trophy presentation was absolutely incredible. He captured the moment so well, that I think it is fair to say that no one would have done it better if they tried.
Considering all that the 1997/98 team had went through in terms of emotions and ups and downs, with what had happened the summer before, there was nothing better than seeing Konstantinov as a part of the team's celebration. On top of that, you could genuinely see the love that his teammates had for him and it is that passion for teammates which is what the NHL playoffs and hockey in general are all about.
Gabriel Desjardins: 1979. Avco Cup. It would be my favorite championship moment if I remembered it - this is what it means to have grown up a Winnipeg Jets fan, a team whose existence is bookended by losing all its good players in the 1979 expansion draft then moving to Phoenix. Don't
forget getting dominated by the Oilers and the Flames for many years
in the middle. My favorite playoff game was April 12, 1986, which is
actually a well-played Jets loss in OT to the Flames, to lose the
series 3-0. Sad, I know. If Vancouver had won the '94 Cup, that
probably would have been my favorite moment.
Andrew Rothstein: I remember during the summer of 1994 my parents had taken my brother and I on vacation to the Hamptons. I spent the entirety of Game 7 at a restaurant with my Dad watching the Rangers and Devils beat up on one another. When Matteau scored on the wrap around past Brodeur, the entire restaurant went from silence to ecstatsy in a matter of seconds
I remember when Messier scored the final goal in Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks to counter Canucks Captain Trevor Linden's short-handed goal. At that point, I knew the Rangers would finally win the Stanley Cup after their 54 year drought. However, my greatest Stanley Cup moment was when Mark Messier hoisted the Stanley Cup in the middle of Madison Square Garden. His emotions in that instant to me represented why the game of hockey is one of the greatest sports ever. He was so overcome with joy, ecstasy and reverence for what his team had accomplished. I'm not sure I'll ever see a moment like that again.
This article was authored by the staff of Puck Prospectus. You can contact the Puck Prospectus team by clicking here or click here to see the Puck Prospectus team's other articles.