Glen Sather doesn’t speak to the press much anymore. Other than his recent quasi compliments/critiques of Tortorella, or his professed love for Sean Avery, I can’t really think of anything he has said in recent seasons that was quite remarkable.
Pre-lockout Sather (the original lockout), had a quite different communication plan. Whether it was referring to Malakhov as a “superstar” or predicting Tom Poti would be “one of the top players in this league,” it seemed every acquisition he made back then was generally followed by some sort of over the top statement.
Perhaps my favorite Sather quote of all time was the one he dropped after acquiring Eric Lindros where he said, “if you don’t make this deal, you’re a mouse forever.” If there was ever any sort of insight into his thought process, that line pretty much gave you all you ever needed to know.
Which brings us to today’s exercise…
For too many days now I’ve read on many a Rangers blog that somehow Alain Vigneault is going to wave a magic wand over this roster and make this team a favorite to win the Cup. Every Rangers blogger out there (other than us) describes AV as a coach who will make us more “offensive” with his “offensive systems”. Yet no one has explained in any detail exactly how his systems actually work.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m 100% behind AV now. As I said when Torts got fired, I support the crest above all else. However, I’m also realistic. This team needs major upgrades to play AV’s style of puck possession offense. We can’t just expect a new coach to be the common denominator here. We lack an elite puck moving defensemen/powerplay quarterback. We lack right-handed point shots that can get through traffic. We lack depth. We also lack the <2010 version of Brad Richards. Coaching can’t change these things. These are roster issues and Sather needs to address them.
Speaking of Brad Richards, how does Sather not buy him out tomorrow when the first of two compliance windows opens?
I get the Rangers technically don’t need to buy him out for cap space. There’s ample cap space ($13-14m) to sign all of our RFA and keep Brad Richards. However, that just gives us the same team as last year. I don’t want to go into next season with the same exact team and the same exact roster issues we have now faced for several years running. Buying out Richards gives us $6M in flexibility. You know how much depth or front end talent we can add with $6M?
Hell, I’d buyout Richards even if he had a decent year. This is your last get out of jail free card, your last mulligan. Use it. If he gets injured next year we are stuck with his cap hit until 2020. How in the world do we build a team that rivals the Blackhawks with that cap hit on our roster? Even if you trust that he doesn’t get injured, do you still believe we can get $6M worth of offense out of him three years from now? Five years from now?
All of this brings me back to Sather’s comments. Buying out Richie after year 2 certainly is a ballsy move. It isn’t what a nice guy would do and it certainly won’t help win over the hearts and minds of any fans. But hearts are for families, balls are for business and mice don’t live very long. Don’t be a mouse Glen.