Jimmy Howard remembers being on the edge of the living room table, counting down the final seconds with dad.
The future NHL goaltender was just 10-years-old when the New York Rangers won their first Stanley Cup title in 54 years. Mike Richter was Howard’s hero and made the most memorable play of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, stopping Pavel Bure on a penalty shot in Game 4.
“My dad let me stay up for all of the games,” Howard recalled. “Even in the New Jersey series, when the games were going into overtime, he’d let me watch.”
For Brad Stuart, the memory of Lanny McDonald capping off his NHL career by skating with the Stanley Cup at the Montreal Forum takes the cake. Stuie’s guy was Al MacInnis, noted for his blistering slap shot and scoring presence. Also on that Calgary club? Current Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon and right winger Hakan Loob, an inspiration to Nicklas Lidstrom.
“They would show the Stanley Cup Final live in Sweden and I would watch the Swedes. Guys like Loob for Calgary and Mats Naslund in Montreal, I remember watching those guys.”
The Red Wings haven’t missed the playoffs in Lidstrom’s illustrious NHL career, but there were times, like during Mike Modano’s childhood, where the postseason was an afterthought.
“The Wings were never in the playoffs, Toronto wasn’t, so I don’t know, I was a big Montreal fan growing up,” Modano said. “Only being able to watch Toronto and Detroit, there weren’t a lot of playoffs happening.”
That pales in comparison to Drew Miller, who was just six the last time the Red Wings weren’t playing in late April and May. His moment, like many fans, happened when the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997, though the Michigan State product admits to being a Joe Sakic fan as a kid.
“Just to be around the hype and the atmosphere after they won, I wasn’t living in Detroit, but being an hour away, everyone was excited and it was good for Michigan.”
What was your moment? Leave your playoff memories in the comments below.