In case you missed it, Larry Brooks got a few good quotes from Rangers owner Jim Dolan last week. It took a little while to digest, or at least to not react and jump to uninformed conclusions. It’s certainly worth the read if you have the time.
First things first, Henrik Lundqvist was given the chance to leave and not see the rebuild through. He did not, want to leave, and Dolan had glowing praise for his franchise goaltender. There’s not much to dissect here, except that Dolan said Hank helps them contend for the playoffs next year. So….in a rebuild year, that’s something to keep an eye on.
Now that I’m done gushing over Hank, down to business. Dolan’s first quote was about the coaching search, stating that they are looking for someone who can develop the kids and work with the young players. There’s a lot there, so let’s unpack it.
The Rangers are going to develop their youth, which likely means they won’t trade any of their bigger name kids. Not all of the kids are safe, but the ones who the front office thinks have a future with the team won’t be in any blockbuster deal. That’s a bit reassuring.
I also believe this is one of the reasons why Alain Vigneault was fired. Despite what some beat writers may say, AV was not that good at developing youth. Just ask JT Miller that. But it’s clear the Rangers are going in a new direction of playing the kids, and AV was not the guy to get them there.
Not sold yet? Dolan specifically called out how scolding a player isn’t growth. Leaning on his assistants and trainers to train and teach is, though. That’s not necessarily a shot at AV by Dolan, but it’s refreshing transparency.
Dolan also mentioned that the Rangers don’t intend to bottom out, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since the Rangers retained Hank. Keeping Hank means the Rangers can’t bottom out, it just won’t happen. But that also means they will at least attempt to teach the kids a winning culture. That’s always a good thing.
The last bit I think is the most interesting, as Dolan specifically called out Ryan McDonagh. Dolan stated that the leadership in the locker room wasn’t what was expected, mentioning that there was a burden on McDonagh when he was named captain.
This one surprised me a little bit, since I didn’t really think McDonagh’s play changed that much with naming him captain. I still don’t think his play suffered that much, but it’s clear that he wasn’t the influence in the locker room that Dolan thought he would be. But it is what it is at this point. I’ll miss McDonagh.
I always enjoy reading interviews from Dolan because they are few and far between. This one is rather candid too, which is a nice surprise. It’s clear there were issues on the Rangers that we weren’t privy to. With a new horizon upon us, hopefully the lessons are learned and the front office can adjust."Dissecting the Jim Dolan interview",