Posts tagged: Glen Sather

Musings on free agency eve

Has Glen made another canny move? (Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

Has Glen made another canny move? (image credit: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

Welcome to the musings. It’s the day before free agency and on many occasions it has felt like Christmas Eve to Rangers fans – the day before the presents arrive. This year is likely to be different as the Rangers are set to be more cautious with the little money they have to spend. Or are they?

Scott Arniel seems like a logical choice as assistant coach. He has run his own bench before, has been in charge of multiple Rangers before and will help Alain Vigneault’s transition to New York because of his familiarity with the ex Blue Jackets. You have to assume Arniel is motivated to prove he’s worthy of another shot as a HC too.

Even if it wasn’t the ex-Ranger many hoped for, Ulf Samuelsson is a nice addition to the coaching staff. The Rangers need to be more physically imposing next year and if Samuelsson can get his style as a player across to the Rangers now he’s a coach it could be a smart move.

Scanning the scrap heap:

With the Rangers unlikely to be major buyers July 5th, there are several players who are  no longer wanted by their current teams and are either on waivers or due to be bought out. Amongst those on waivers in the last 24 hours are the following guys who could be of interest to the Rangers in some capacity.

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Slats: Style of play had Tortorella fired

(Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

(Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

Pat Leonard of the Daily News sat down with Glen Sather yesterday, and the Rangers GM was very candid about the decision to relieve former coach John Tortorella of his duties. Slats said that the “style of play had a lot to do with it” in reference to the dismissal of the coach. Leonard was able to get more details from the GM as well:

“If you look at these playoff games (like the Stanley Cup Finals matchup) you’re gonna see, the style that they play, I mean there’s not a hell of a lot of dump-ins,” Sather said. “I mean, (if) you have to dump the puck in, you have to dump it. But there’s a lot of puck control and hanging onto the puck and moving the puck out, and there’s not stopping behind the net to gain control. There’s a lot of things that are done differently than what we were doing. So you have to look at the style of play. That had a lot to do with (the decision to fire Tortorella), too.”

It’s a very interesting quote, and there are a few things that –if you read between the lines– certainly changed Slats’ opinion of the direction of the team. For the sake of the post, we are focusing on the on-ice product on not on Torts’ personality. From this quote alone, you can see that the organization shifted direction on Torts in a very short amount of time, and it all had to do with on-ice performance.

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5 key questions in the wake of the Vigneault hiring

The Rangers have yet to schedule a formal announcement, but it’s all but official that Alain Vigneault will succeed John Tortorella as head coach.  The Suit will have more on the pros and cons of the hiring tomorrow, but let’s take a look at some key questions in the immediate aftermath of today’s news.

How does this affect Mark Messier’s future with the organization?

GM Glen Sather deserves credit for using his head, not his heart, in choosing Vigneault over Messier as coach.  Many surmised that Sather would be unable to reject Messier given their long history, but in the end Sather made the right decision for the team, perhaps at the expense of his relationship with The Captain.  The Fourth Period reported that Messier might join Vigneault as an assistant, but it’d be a little surprising to see Messier agree to play second fiddle to the man that was chosen over him.  Not only that, but it would be very unfair to Vigneault to have an apparent coach in waiting, beloved by the New York fanbase, looking over his shoulder.  Messier could remain in his current post as special assistant to the president and general manager, but that obviously depends on how stung he feels by Sather’s decision.  It’s possible that Messier could be so angry that he chooses to leave the franchise altogether. Read more »

Rumor: Slats considering stepping down as GM

Earlier this morning, myself and Kevin were discussing this article by Jim Murphy at ESPN Boston where Murphy dropped a bombshell. Current President and General Manager Glen Sather is considering stepping down as GM of the Rangers. Murphy, who is not a noted irresponsible rumormongerer (he is not an Eklund type), noted that Slats would retain his role as President of the club.

Murphy continues, saying that Jim Schoenfeld or Doug Risebrough (former Minnesota Wild GM) could be next in line. However, he does not mention Jeff Gorton, who took the reigns when Slats had surgery for prostate cancer, as a potential replacement.

During his press conference following the firing of John Tortorella, Sather insisted that he would remain in his current role next season, so perhaps this transition will be a slow one.

More news on this will come in the following weeks, but this is something to keep an eye on. Slats is almost 70 years old, and we knew this day was coming.

Musings; a look ahead

Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will he be kept?

Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will he be kept?

Welcome to the musings. It’s not a game day, it’s the offseason and that depresses a lot of us. Let’s see if we can collectively raise some spirits shall we?

The way the Bruins are absolutely controlling the Penguins – probably the most skilled and talent laden team in the league – makes you wonder about the Rangers Bruins series doesn’t it? Maybe Tortorella wasn’t the (main) issue. In terms of execution, the Bruins are the best team in the league.

Here at the site, we’ve already begun to touch on free agency, internal movement and candidates to bring in. Looking at the free agent list, it’s incredibly underwhelming. The Rangers need to move forward and try to win while they have Lundqvist, of course they do. However, they really shouldn’t chase name players and throw money around because they have a sense of urgency. That would be suicide.

Assuming they make it to free agency, here are some players I’d consider under the right circumstances: Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell. There’s a chance none of them get to free agency but all address needs on the Rangers.

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More fallout from the firing of John Tortorella

Mike Sullivan won’t be behind the bench next year either

As the feeling of shock lifts from the Ranger fan community, we’ve begun to examine some possible replacements for coach John Tortorella.  The new man behind the bench will be the story of the offseason, but the departure of Tortorella could also have an impact on many other important decisions the franchise will make.

Henrik Lundqvist will sign a contract extension

I still believe that The King’s comments on Monday were harmless, but many Rangers fans panicked over Lundqvist’s hesitation to commit to New York long term.  To me, Lundqvist was only being smart before negotiating what should be his final NHL contract, one that will put a massive dent in New York’s payroll going forward.  Nevertheless, there have been some clues that Lundqvist was less than thrilled with Tortorella.  With the ornery general out of the way, no amount of money or years should be an obstacle in locking up Hank for the next eight years.  Firing Tortorella was a strong message to Lundqvist and others that New York recognizes its window won’t be open indefinitely and that there’s a sense of urgency every year to bring home the Cup.  Expect Lundqvist to ink a new pact this summer. Read more »

Musings; momentum growing for the Rangers

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

It’s a good day to be a Rangers fan. Two wins on the bounce, two four goal games produced by the Rangers and suddenly a goaltender who was boasting about a lack of challenge has started to look rattled. Let’s get into the musings

I don’t care who you are – the 80’s Oilers aside – no player or team should ever provide motivation for the opposition. Holtby’s comments and Ovechkin’s comments have both being countered by improved play on the ice by the Rangers. Adam Oates cannot be happy with the way the series has begun to swing.

Obvious thought of the day: Derek Stepan is going to be a very rich hockey player sooner rather than later.

Is Stepan the first of the home grown kids – talking ‘tweener contracts – where Sather really doesn’t have the same power as he usually has in regard to controlling costs? With Richards clearly in decline (despite the occasional production recently, Stepan is an absolutely critical Ranger long term given the way he is developing.

Derek Stepan has four game winners in his last nine goals. Please remember this young man is just twenty two.

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Musings; the futures edition

Can Kreider's recent good form translate to the NHL this year?

Can Kreider’s recent good form translate to the NHL this year?

It’s rather a sombre beginning to a Musings post today as the unfortunate news of Glen Sather receiving treatment for prostate cancer reached us all. Whether you’re a Sather fan or not, I’m sure everyone joins me in repeating the wishes from this morning’s post here at the site in wishing a full and quick recovery.

One more thing regarding Sather; following an abysmal start as Rangers general manager he’s done a terrific job over the past several seasons. Wherever you look the Rangers have a bright future. Prospects dominating in Europe, a young farm team full of prospects and a young, growing contender in New York. Eventually, Sather has restocked the franchise and fleeced several of his colleagues along the way. It’s that last aspect why I’m not nervous heading toward the trade deadline.

Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh have truly developed into integral parts of this roster. That isn’t going to be a cheap summer for Sather and co. Further down the line I can see problems for the Rangers; with the cap coming down after this year and Del Zotto, Girardi and Stralman with expiring contracts after the 13/14 season the management may have to part with one or several players for financial reasons.

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Musings: Del Zotto appreciation, Cally, Redden, and more

"Some fans don't like me?Oh no!" *Family gay guy voice*

“Some fans don’t like me? … Oh no!” </sarcasm>

There’ll be no Marc Staal defence’s today (kudos Suit), no long-winded rants, just lots of discussion. I’m feeling concise today so let’s get straight into the Le Musing (ooh, very French…)

Michael Del Zotto: The young and oft maligned blueliner is off to a great start to the year. He’ll never win over all his critics but he’s been the Rangers best blueliner at both ends so far. For a unit that struggled early on, and for a player with much to prove, he’s doing exactly that. Several big plays already this season.

Glen Sather deserves a ton of credit for Del Zotto’s start. Sather challenged Del Zotto to earn a bigger deal. He called him out while at the same time ensuring he publicly acknowledged the young defenseman’s worth to the franchise. He doesn’t speak in public much but Sather hit this one on the head. Sather dealt with the MDZ situation perfectly.

If I were to personally grade Marian Gaborik after 6 games, I’d probably be harsher than most people. I’d give him a B+ where some people would see the totals and assume excellence. I’m one of Gabby’s biggest fans, but he’s at times dominated and at times been found wanting. Of course, the times he’s impressed have outnumbered those he’s struggled in. The only thing missing from Gaborik’s season thus far is that elite level of consistency.

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Rangers’ powerplay crucial to season

We need to see more celebrating from the Rangers PP unit - and soon

We need to see more celebrating from the Rangers PP unit – and soon

The Rangers need to get their powerplay to at least an acceptable standard and soon – otherwise it threatens to derail a hugely promising season. Already in this young but abbreviated season we’ve seen the Rangers powerplay, despite the addition of an elite talent in Rick Nash, fail to come through in crucial occasions in multiple games and we’re only a handful of games in.

Against Philadelphia on Thursday the Rangers had a long 5 on 3 chance that gave them the opportunity to tie the game. Including the final two minutes of the double minor, the Rangers mustered just two shots on goal in four minutes and in the game overall had just three shots on four powerplay chances. That simply isn’t good enough. Against the Penguins the Rangers had a big chance to get back in to the game when back to back minors for the Pens handed a chance to the Rangers but again, the Rangers failed to capitalise. It continues…

In the Bruins game – the season opener – the Rangers went 0-5 on the powerplay and again, had a chance to tie the game early in the third but failed to take advantage of the five on three advantage. As you can see, the Rangers powerplay is literally costing the team points. How much is too much?

John Tortorella has done a wonderful job as Rangers coach and this is by no means demanding any drastic changes. Along with Glen Sather he has overseen the return to respectability of the franchise and indeed has built up what could be a perennial contender. However, the powerplay has been at best ordinary, at worst brutal, for several seasons. At some stage the coaching staff need to answer why this ongoing issue hasn’t been remotely resolved as it’s certainly not for a lack of talent available. Whether Tortorella takes over the duties for righting the PP wrongs, or whether he changes the personnel who run the unit something needs to be done.

We’ve seen clubs such as San Jose directly address special teams’ woes with adding new coaching staff. The Sharks brought in Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson, expanded former Shark Mike Ricci’s role on the penalty kill and have seen immediate improvements on the penalty kill. It could be time for the Rangers to address their ‘situation’ in similar fashion. Why not bring in specialist coaches? Why the reluctance to draw on the obvious offensive skills and knowledge of a guy like Brian Leetch? A Leetch can’t do any worse with this group of players and at the very least would provide fresh impetus and a PR boom.

When a team can put Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Nash and Ryan Callahan on a first powerplay unit that team certainly has enough firepower to have a threatening special teams unit. That isn’t the case here. Something is wrong and someone needs to address it before it ruins the season. It’s already cost this team points.

It is worth noting that Torts has run successful powerplays throughout his entire career, including in the minors prior to coming to the Rangers. Pierre McGuire (hold your laughs) noted this on the radio. Naturally, Torts doesn’t have control of the powerplay this season, Mike Sullivan does. Not sure if you should read into that, but not sure you shouldn’t either.