Today is the 18th anniversary of when Mark Messier, then captain of the New York Rangers, boldly guaranteed his team would win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Messier would go on to score three goals as the Rangers indeed won the game and eventually the series and ultimately the Stanley Cup.
I bring it up because the Rangers today are in the same position they were 18 years ago. They’re down 3-2 in their series against the Devils, so people are bringing up the storyline from 1994. And as a fan it’s driving me mad since this team is nothing like the one that was on the ice in 1994.
And even how the game is covered has changed quite a bit in those 18 years. I started thinking about it when someone linked to the original Daily News story about Messier’s guarantee (by John Giannone, who now works for MSG). Messier’s guarantee happened today, but we didn’t really know about it full well until tomorrow. It didn’t adorn the back cover of New York’s sports pages until game day. We didn’t have social media to tell us what happened. There were no blogs. There was no real-time reporting. Reporters were still filing their stories for the following day’s newspaper rather than filing for the web.
So I start thinking about how the news would have broken with today’s media landscape. I’m sure it would start as a tweet from the locker room. One of the reporters would mention how Messier guaranteed the win. And a slew of tweets would follow. Included would be commentary if it’s a smart move or not by Messier to issue the guarantee. Fans would retweet and react. I’m sure there would be lots of “OMG!” type retweets. And the blog posts dissecting Messier’s words would follow. Also, with all the complaining about how John Tortorella runs press conferences, the Mike Keenan press conference where he would be asked about the guarantee would be highly amusing.
And at some point the jokes on social media would start. There would be a hashtag like #OtherMessierGuarantees. And once Messier fulfilled his guarantee, I’m sure there would be memes floating about of Messier celebrating. And that doesn’t even mention the post-game over-analysis of how Messier fulfilled his guarantee. I think Twitter would burn down during the game. And who would be first with the Storify of all the fan reaction?
I almost wish we had something like Messier’s guarantee with today’s sports media landscape, but at the same time I’m glad we don’t. It’s locked away at a different time when our reaction was much closer to home with our family and friends. I don’t know if I’d want to see the endless analysis of his guarantee.