What happened on February 6 in the history of the New York Rangers
The 1992-93 season was a disappointment for the New York Rangers. Not only did they miss the playoffs, but the team was in turmoil behind the scenes. Mark Messier was upset with coach Roger Neilson and to make matters worse, Brian Leetch missed 34 games with a nerve injury.
Both Messier and Leetch were supposed to play in the 44th NHL All-Star Game in Montreal on this date, but Leetch was out and Messier had a wrist injury so they were replaced by Kevin Lowe and Mike Gartner. No one could have known how good this was for Gartner when he was named as a last minute replacement.
All he did was go out and score four goals and add an assist in a 16-6 blowout win for the Wales Conference over the Campbell Conference. His four goals equaled the All-Star Game mark set by Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Vincent Damphousse. For his record tying effort, Gartner was named MVP of the game, winning a 1993 Chrysler Intrepid. Gartner scored two goals within 22 seconds on his first shift of the game. Late in the game, Pierre Turgeon of the Islanders passed up a scoring opportunity to try to get Gartner his fifth and the All-Star record.
Not only that, but Gartner won the Fastest Skater award in the Skills Competition. It was a banner night for Gartner and as the New York Times put it, Mark Messier got a free dinner from his teammate, but Gartner got a car.
21 NHL players were born on February 6 including four former Rangers with one of the 1994 Black Aces in that mix.
Mike Hudson was born on this date in 1967 in Guelph, Ontario. He only played one season in New York, but he had the good fortune to be on the 1993-94 team. The center played in 48 regular season games, but didn’t see any playoff action, but his name is still engraved on the Stanley Cup as one of the “Black Aces” that spring. Hudson played 416 games over nine seasons in the NHL, mostly with the Blackhawks. Traded to Edmonton, the Rangers claimed him on waivers in 1993. Good timing for Hudson.
Vinni Lettieri was born on February 6, 1995 in Excelsior, Minnesota. A product of the University of Minnesota, he was signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent and played 46 games over two seasons in New York. A prolific scorer in the AHL, Lettieri was unable to replicate that in the NHL and was not re-signed by the Blueshirts and is currently playing for the Anaheim Ducks.
Tim Taylor was born on this date in 1969 in Stratford, Ontario. A Washington draft pick, he was signed as a free agent by New York in 1999 and the center played two seasons as a Ranger, scoring 11 goals in 114 games. His brother Chris played was a center for the Islanders.
Ralph Keller was a defenseman born on this date in 1936 in Wilkie, Saskatchewan. He played three games in the NHL in 1962-63, all with the Rangers. Although he couldn’t stick in the NHL, he played 737 games for the Hershey Bears of the AHL and they retired his number three in 2012.
The Rangers have played 36 games on February 6 and are better than .500 with two successful shootouts on this date.
Regulation wins: 15
Regulation losses: 14
Shootout wins: 2
Shootout losses: 1
Points percentage: .541