ON YET ANOTHER WEDNESDAY, INSIDE yet another dressing room, after
yet another practice in pursuit of yet another Stanley Cup, 14-year
veteran winger Glenn Anderson sat forlornly on his stool. As the
second game of the Cup finals approached, Anderson was contemplating
an unfamiliar subject: failure. ''I was brought here at the trade
deadline because I have a reputation for scoring clutch goals in
critical situations, and I haven't done that,'' he said. Then he
added, ''You know, I feel like a library book that is overdue -- big
Thirty hours later Anderson barreled down the ice at Madison
Square Garden in a shorthanded situation, took a pass from his former
Edmonton Oiler teammate Mark Messier and sent the puck into the
Vancouver Canuck net for what would prove to be the decisive goal in
a 3-1 Ranger win that tied the series at a victory apiece.
Anderson, 33, who has scored 91 playoff goals, fourth-most in NHL
history, and has collected six Stanley Cup rings, came to New York on
March 21 in a deal that sent Mike Gartner to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That day New York also picked up Anderson's former Oiler teammate
Craig MacTavish and a pair of Chicago Blackhawk wingers, Brian Noonan
and Stephane Matteau. The acquisition of center MacTavish for Todd
Marchant brought to eight the number of former Oilers in Ranger
uniforms (the others were Anderson, Messier, Jeff Beukeboom, Adam
Graves, Kevin Lowe, Esa Tikkanen and Mike Hudson). After the deals,
New York general manager Neil Smith remarked, ''I told Slats
((Edmonton general manager Glen Sather)) that if we win the Cup, I'd
kiss his butt in Macy's window.''
Noonan and Matteau, acquired for Tony Amonte, joined Greg Gilbert,
Steve Larmer and Ed Olczyk in another growing alumni class, this one
of former Mike Keenan disciples from Chicago. Both the 6 ft. 1 in.,
197-pound Noonan and the 6 ft. 3 in., 205-pound Matteau provided size
and strength for the Rangers' postseason title run. In fact, the duo
became known as Stephane Size and Brian Strength.
Still, of the four late-season additions, it was Anderson who
would produce the most against the Canucks. After his heroics in Game
2, he returned to Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum, an arena that sits
just six blocks from his boyhood home, and again scored the
game-winner, this time in the Rangers' 5-1 victory in Game 3.
''I know there were some doubters after the deals, but I knew I
had one goal left in my career, and that was to win another Stanley
Cup,'' said Anderson. ''I guess that library book has finally been
paid off.'' -- T.C.