Goalie backstopped Rangers to '94 Cup

Updated: September 3, 2003, 5:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Goaltender Mike Richter, who backstopped the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years but has been unable to recover from post-concussion syndrome, has decided to retire, according to ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek.

The Rangers have scheduled a press conference regarding "a major player announcement" for 3 p.m. ET Thursday.

Richter, 36, missed all but 13 games last season following a seemingly minor concussion on Nov. 5 against Edmonton.

Mike Richter was the consummate professional, and also often rose to the challenge, taking his game to a higher level when under pressure. Looking back on his career, two games in particular stand out.

First, is Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals. Richter kept the Vancouver Canucks scoreless in the final 15 minutes of the game, and held on to a 3-2 lead that gave the Rangers their first Cup in 54 years.

The other is Game 3 against Team Canada for the 1996 World Cup -- one of the finest goaltending performances I've ever seen. In a one-sided game, Richter time and again made saves that defined greatness.

Richter's 14 years with the Rangers is a sign of commitment and respect between him and the organization. The Rangers also are losing an impact player in the locker room and in the community.

The Rangers' all-time leader in wins (301) and games (666) by a goalie, Richter enjoyed his finest season in 1993-94, when he went 42-12-6 with a career-best five shutouts and a 2.57 goals-against average. He helped New York end its storied title drought by going 16-7 with four shutouts and a 2.07 GAA in 23 playoff games.

Richter also holds single-season team records for wins, games and save percentage and played in three All-Star games.

A Pennsylvania native, he also played at the Olympics in 1988, 1998 and 2002 and almost single-handedly led the United States to the championship at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where he was named most valuable player.

Richter was one of the best goalies in NHL history in 1-on-1 situations, stopping 10 of 11 regular-season penalty shots during his career. He also denied current Ranger Pavel Bure on a penalty shot in Game Four of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals at Vancouver.

After battling groin and knee injuries earlier in his career, Richter was struck on the side of the head by a slap shot by Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Chris Tamer in the first period of a game on March 22, 2002.

The injury was diagnosed as a fractured temporal bone and Richter missed the final nine games of the 2001-02 season. Less than eight months later, on November 5, he took an accidental knee to the forehead from Edmonton Oilers center Todd Marchant and sustained a minor concussion.

Richter never returned and only recently received clearance to resume exercising and playing golf.

In a career spent entirely with the Rangers, Richter posted a 301-258-63 record with 24 shutouts and a 2.89 GAA.

Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.