One Year Later: Less Company For Sather-Haters

March 8, 2011, by

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the infamous Fire Sather Rally. It was a rally that got mainstream media attention, and major attention from the blog-o-sphere. I did not attend this rally, as I did not believe that Glen Sather should have been fired then, now, or at any time following the lockout. The organizer of the rally, Mike Zippo, spoke with New York Magazine, and has had a slight reversal of opinion of Slats:

You’d mentioned to Puck Daddy in January of 2010 that you thought Sather would make a “stupid trade” and deal away prospects. But as you said, he’s avoided making that kind of trade. So I guess my question is this: How much confidence do you have in Sather now? How has that confidence level changed over the past fourteen months or so, since that interview?

As long as he doesn’t have his checkbook open on July 1, I think he’ll be okay. He has made some great trades, but a signing like the [Derek] Boogaard one makes you scratch your head.

This seems to be the general consensus amongst Ranger fans. For a period of time between 2005-2008, there have been a few good signings, a lot of questionable signings, and one horrific signing. Everyone has different opinions about the specific signings themselves. However, the point that is often overlooked is that the Rangers were inexplicably making the playoffs and competing when to be blunt, they shouldn’t have been. Thus, Slats made the decision (in my opinion) to go for gold with free agents while not dealing away the core youth in the rebuild. It was a bold decision to make that had some blow-back, but did not cripple the franchise long term.

When you look at the trades the Rangers made, Slats never gave up anyone that has amounted into anything significant. Fedor Tyutin could be the exception here, but the Rangers have so much depth on defense, that he really isn’t missed by this team. Other than Tyutin, the only outrage was when Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes were dealt in a package for Derek Morris. Prucha isn’t in the NHL anymore, and Dawes has been on the waiver wire as often as the Rangers backup goalies in 2009-2010. This of course, brings me to this quote by Zippo:

A year later, do you still think Glen Sather should be fired? Has anything changed over the past twelve months that made you reconsider your position?

Well, he’s certainly been doing a better job as of late. He’s cleared some cap space, he hasn’t given away prospects or picks, and the team is young, competitive, and fun to watch.

The answer given by Zippo here is slightly misleading. As alluded to above, Sather never dealt away any prospect or roster player that the coaching staff recognized as being a core piece to the puzzle. Guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi have remained with the club throughout the years. Players like Artem Anisimov and Michael Del Zotto are being retained despite their struggles. Prospects like Chris Kreider and Christian Thomas are being held on to, despite the fact that the Rangers have been in the playoff hunt every single season.

Although Slats’ free agent signings have been questionable, he has managed to turn those players into core youth. That does not absolve Slats of all blame for the cap situation of previous seasons, but sometimes the end justifies the means. The Rangers are on an upward trend, and are doing it by following the five year plan (post-lockout plan). The only difference between one year ago and today is that fans are beginning to recognize that the Rangers have had a plan, and they are beginning to see it come to fruition on the ice.

Categories : Analysis


  1. mhurley says:

    I was at the Fire Sather rally and I supported it wholeheartedly. Some say it was a waste of time but I wss told that members of the Org were looking down on it from Two Penn with amusement. It achieved its purpose by rattling a few cages.

    Right now, there is 50/50 chance the Rangers make the playoffs. If they don’t make it, Sather will be in the Chateau Bow Wow all over again. For God sake, some nut jobs were screaming for Torts’ head to roll just last week.

    I agree with Mike Zippo. Sather is one bad signing away from the ire of the fan base. We held our breathe at the trade deadline and we’ll hold it again on July 1 waiting to see how much of the future Sather will mortgage to get Brad Richards for Torts.

    How many people these days get to fail for 6 out of 11 years on the job and not get fired.

    The Sather hate is not unjustified.

    • Brian says:

      The Rangers have a 75% percent chance of making the playoffs, but I would even take a 50/50 chance if it means that the Rangers continue to build the team the right way – from the ground up. The Rangers are in a great position to be successful in years to come and whether you agree or not Sather is the person most responsible for it.

  2. Brian says:

    Excellent post. It’s refreshing to see some objectivity when it comes to Sather’s tenure. He has done a good job of evaluating the Rangers in-house talent and aside from the aforementioned Tyutin hasn’t given away players that have gone on to success with other teams. In fact, his trade history, particularly recently, has been excellent. The Prust, Boyle, McDonagh, Wolski, and McCabe trades were masterful.

    Yes, he deserves every bit of criticism he gets for the Holik, Redden and Boogaard signings and some of the criticism for the Drury, Gomez and 2nd Rozsival signing. But, he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for economical signings that paid huge dividends such as Shanny, Nylander, Straka, Prospal, Fedotenko, and Biron. Lastly, you just can’t say enough about the hiring of Gordie Clark and the impact it has had on the Rangers youth movement.

    • Section 121 says:

      What about Lauri Korpikoski for Enver Lisin?

      Our 2004 first round pick who now has a line of 14-17-31, +11, avgeraging 14 TOI, given up for a second rounder who isn’t even in the league any more.

      That move was pointless.

  3. The hockey suit says:

    Sather has done a good job in the second half of his 10 years here. I’m glad most of the fan base has come to recognize that. The rally was pointless. Circa 2003-04, would have made more sense, but last year’srally just shows that a certain element of this fan base can’t move past Sather’s first few years.

  4. bob says:

    my only question is this: do you think Dolan has made Sather spend money on free agents and Sather takes the hit if wrong. Sather might be just following his bosses orders.

  5. KC says:

    11 years into the rebuild, the team might make the playoffs, that should get him another 11 years, no?