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Where Are They Now: Nick Kypreos

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Former NHLer Nick Kypreos spent parts of three seasons with the Rangers in the mid 1990s, including the historic 1993-94 campaign that resulted in the team's first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years.

After stepping away from the game after the 1996-97 season, Kypreos embarked on a successful broadcasting career that currently sees him as one of the top analysts at Canada's SportsNet.

Kypreos recently sat down with NYRangers.com's Matt Calamia to talk about the 1994 championship, his broadcasting career and more. 

You arrived in New York in November 1993. At what point did you have a feeling your new team was something special?

NK: We knew the Rangers were going to push for the Stanley Cup long before I got here. I think the writing was on the wall the moment they made the trade with the Edmonton Oilers to bring in Mark Messier. That year it didn't work out, but the push was on. Everybody knew what direction the Rangers were headed, and that was to go after a Stanley Cup. Even well before getting traded here, everybody knew that the Rangers were one of the teams that should be in a position to win a Stanley Cup. 

That roster had a good blend of young players and established players. What was the makeup of that team in terms of character?

NK: You've got to remember that was there era that there was no salary cap. The Rangers could go and get as many pieces as they wanted. They could get certain guys to play different roles on different on clubs and then bring them into the New York environment and ask them to do different things. 

When you got star players from different clubs like a [Steve] Larmer, to a lesser degree you had really good, solid players like Doug Lidster, and Eddie Olczyk was a top player before getting to New York and playing a different type of role. All these guys collectively came in and it could have easily been a disaster because the egos were too huge and guys weren't accepting of their roles. Glenn Healy was a starter for the New York Islanders and he knew when he signed with the Rangers that he was going to be a support guy for Richter. All this could have come crashing down if you didn't have the right character guys coming in. To a lesser extent you always take a chance on it working out, but there's no guarantees. But in this instance and in this particular year, egos were checked at the door and guys accepted their roles and as they say the rest is history with the championship.

Did that come down the leadership group?

NK: There's no question we had exceptional leaders, but it really comes down to the individual looking himself in the mirror and saying I accept this or I don't accept this. As great as Mark Messier is as a leader and how stern and hard-nosed Mike Keenan was, it was the guys looking themselves in the mirror and saying 'Do I want to be part of something that's going to be very special and last a lifetime?' All do respect to other championships, they're all great in their own way, but the New York one at that point was 54 years. An original six team, the biggest city on the circuit. It's like this is a Stanley Cup in New York City. Just the excitement of being part of something that was tried for 54 years and failed, that was the lure to check your ego at the door.

You didn't play many games in the playoffs but were able to play in Game 7 against Vancouver. What did that mean to you?

NK: I played some games in the first round against the Islanders and then I didn't play in the next two [rounds]. We were running into some health issues. Joey Kocur was banged up pretty badly, we had just lost the last two games. The momentum was on Vancouver's side. If I'm not mistaken I was the only lineup change for Game 7, which to me is a huge honor in itself. I told [Keenan] I felt like I could contribute and bring good energy to the team, bring energy into the dressing room. I'm glad they thought of me highly enough to make the one change. It was an incredible experience being in a Game 7, and at the time, arguably the biggest Game 7 in NHL history. That's the memory that'll stand and truly last my lifetime.

What do you remember about that night?

NK: I think the biggest thing for me is that there were a ton of guys nervous and for whatever reason I felt it was our time and it was my time. I had a calming sense about Game 7, and I'm not usually this overconfident guy. Not known to be real cocky. I just felt this inner peace that this is going to happen. Of course Nathan Lafayette hit the goal post with about three or four minutes to go in Game 7, so that got a little dicey. As Mark Messier said, if we needed overtime and we had to be there all night, then we'll be there all night. We weren't going to lose.

Since you hung up the skates you've gone into a very successful broadcasting career. Did you always know that was what you wanted to do once your playing days were over?

NK: There's no real guarantee that because you can talk that you're going to end up on TV for the next 20 years. In saying that, it's really funny because throughout that [1994] season, it would be myself, Glenn Healy, Eddie Olczyk, Mike Hartman, we'd all kind of sit around and do little round tables at the hotels and everybody would say 'You're going to end up on TV and you're going to end up on TV.' It's not like in hockey where you end up being 35 or 40 and you retire and someone is going to take your spot. Don Cherry is 82 and he's still doing it. It's not like there's a lot of empty chairs lying around, but for whatever reason that Rangers team we had the gift for the gab. Eddie Olczyk, Glenn Healy, two of the best. They've gone on to have great careers and I kind of trailed right behind them.

What aspect of the job do you enjoy the most?

NK: Everything. I like the journalistic part about it, whether or not we're talking about trades, teams in their strategies. I love all of it. I really do. I love finding out the stories, the behind-the-scenes stuff, the stuff that maybe other people have not discussed yet. Being the first one to bring a story to the forefront. That stuff is great. I love that part of the broadcast world. I've been doing it since I retired in 1998 and I've been really fortunate.

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