ESPYS Interview Series: Mark Messier

Mark Messier ended 54 years of waiting for Rangers fans when he lifted the Cup in 1994. Linda Cataffo/Getty Images

You won six Stanley Cups in your career, but the one with the Rangers is the one that stands out. What did it mean to end that 54-year drought for that franchise?

There's just so much meaning in that Cup. Obviously it's an Original Six team, a 54-year drought, the generations of fans, the fan base, it just runs so deep with meaning, not only for the organization and the players but for the people. I think it really transcended hockey in general. It became bigger than the game. The storylines were incredible. It was a tremendous moment for sports and, like I said, I think it transcended hockey and put it where it really kind of captured a lot of people's imaginations.

In the conference finals in '94, you famously guaranteed a win in Game 6, then backed it up with a hat trick. Were you nervous at any point about not being able to deliver on your guarantee?

No. No. I didn't think of it in that regard. I realized how close we were to winning a cup because of my experience in the past. I felt we could beat New Jersey because we'd proved it to ourselves six times in the regular season, where we won all six matches. We found ourselves in an incredible series against a team that was playing really well, but I still believed we could win the series. I think as the event unfolded and you're getting ready to play the game, you just prepare the way you always have and get ready to play the game and shut out all outside distractions. You get ready to play the game and your preparation gives you the confidence to go out there and play your best. I think as a group, that's what we tried to do. We relied on our preparation and all the work we put in all year. We relied on our conditioning and we relied on the fact we believed in each other and we went in there and, collectively, we found a way to win the game.

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