September 30, 2022
Legendary Rangers Announcer Sam Rosen on the Team's Incredible Playoff Run

The venerable broadcaster Sam Rosen has been calling New York Rangers games on the MSG Network since 1984. But because national channels now televise all playoff games after the first round, he’d long been relegated to a role on the network’s pre- and postgame shows if the team went on a major postseason run. This was “unsatisfying,” he says. “From a play-by-play person’s standpoint, you want to be there and calling the action.”

So when Rosen, 74, negotiated a new contract following the team’s relatively successful postseasons in the 2010s, he had a request: to get the call if the team’s usual radio announcer, Kenny Albert, had to miss a game because of his work on national TV broadcasts. That wound up happening a number of times this spring, including for the first four contests in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rosen is now calling Rangers games this deep into the playoffs for the first time since the team’s 1994 Stanley Cup season, albeit not in his usual medium.

With the Rangers up two games to one on Tampa Bay and just two wins from making the Stanley Cup Final — during a postseason many predicted they wouldn’t even be participating in — the Hall of Fame broadcaster spoke with Intelligencer on Monday about why the Rangers are peaking, the danger of playing so many long series, and the call he feels he absolutely nailed.

It feels like the Rangers are hitting their stride at the right time. They weren’t playing their best hockey when they went down 3-1 to Pittsburgh at the beginning of the playoffs, but they’ve generally gotten better as the postseason has gone on. What are they doing now that they weren’t doing before?I’ve always maintained that this Rangers team would become a serious Stanley Cup contender when their young kids matured and became major contributors to the team. And that’s what’s been developing in the playoffs. These kids are very talented, and they’re playing under the pressure of the playoffs, but I think they’ve been handled very, very well by coach Gerard Gallant. There’s not been undue pressure put on them. The coach has kept an even keel and encouraged them. He’s put them together. We’re talking about Filip Chytil, 22 years old; Kaapo Kakko, 21; and Alexis Lafrenière, 20 years old. Lafrenière was excellent in the series against Pittsburgh. Chytil came alive against Carolina. And Kaapo Kakko has just been kind of a steady, steady contributor. So I think that now the Rangers have become not just a two-line team with the focus on their star players like Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. When you add this young line to it, now there are three lines that the opposition has to worry about, and that has helped make the Rangers serious contenders. These young kids have matured probably faster than anyone expected.

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