Business of Hockey

Is Dolan Becoming A Decent Owner For The Rangers?

If I’ve learned anything working in pro sports, it’s that there is a lot of turnover in front offices, probably more so than most other industries. Few teams consistently make money year in and year out and even fewer teams win championships. As a result, people are often shuffled around the organization and eventually out the door.

Although the unease of instability can be daunting, if there is one good takeaway, it’s that you get to know people who have worked for many different owners and thus you seem to have the inside scoop on everybody.

Time and time again you hear the same bullet points from those who have worked for a “good owner.” The points are pretty basic. “He stayed out of our way, he let us do our job, and he gave us the proper resources to succeed.”

If you think about just those basic concepts and apply them to how Jimmy Dolan has run the Rangers the last several years, it appears as if the tide is changing.

Jimmy allowed Glen Sather to bury Redden’s colossal contract in the minors, allowed Chris Drury to be bought out, and hasn’t blinked at re-upping any of our core RFA pieces (e.g. Cally, Dubi, Lundqvist, Staal, etc). These things would not happen in Buffalo in years past, Miami, New Jersey, hell even Toronto. In each instance where we could have a potential problem, Dolan is there with his wallet wide open, and that isn’t a bad thing at all.

Look at Daryl Katz of the Oilers, he has the money to build his franchise a new arena, but he’s refused to do so, and have opted to battle with his local government for public funds (aka taxes) instead of just dipping into his billion savings. MSG on the other hand will be completely renovated without taking a single cent from the taxpayer. No other owner in the Tri-State area can make that claim.

As far as micromanagement goes, by all accounts, Dolan lets Sather do his job. He doesn’t veto Glen’s plans the way Steinbrenner has with Cashman, or the way Wilpon has with every GM in their history, and he certainly doesn’t cheap out when it comes to free agents (something Verbeek is finally learning).

Now to be fair, Dolan has had a media policy that rivals 20th century communism and he’s done the fans no favors with outrageous price increases (though he mistakenly kept prices flat during our post-season drought). He also presided over a humiliating trial, destroyed the Jets Westside bid, and he has refused to sell MSG’s HD feed to Verizon Fios (which is interesting consider the Rangers have subpar TV ratings). Yet, none of the above really impacts the Rangers ability to put a competitive team on the ice.

Sure he’s no Rocky Wirtz or Ted Leonsis, and by no means am I saying he’s a great owner. But is he really all that terrible when dealing with just the Rangers?

Perhaps the answer isn’t as obvious as one might assume…

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  • I would like to think that Dolan is a good owner for the rangers, but I just cannot trust the man to not force through a terrible deal. Thankfully, he has not been to involved with the rangers lately, but the way in which he interfered in the Carmelo Anthony trade for the knocks worries me greatly. I think that these past years he simply has not been too interested in the rangers and has focused mainly on the Knicks. As the rangers begin to play up to their (high) potential in the next 5 years, I am really concerned that he will force through a crippling trade for a one-dimensional star ala Carmelo. Hopefully he proves me wrong, but I quite honestly have absolutely no faith in the mans ability to allow his employees to do their jobs after seeing how he superseded Donnie Walsh.

    • I hear ya Matt, but Sather has had annonymity for the entire time he’s been here. I don’t see that changing after 10+ years.

      From what I gather, he’s more involved with the Knicks because he lives and breathes basketball. The Rangers are just part of the portfolio.

  • In years past Dolan had his finger in the pie too often. Only within the last couple of years has he stayed out of the front office affairs, and let the GM run the show.
    Personally I believe that changes should have been made years ago, and that Sather should never have been permitted to run the Rangers for as long as he has. Lets face it folks, it’s because Gordie, Shonie, and now the new assistent GM Gorten coming to the organization, have we been developing young talent, as opposed to past history of getting re-treads to play for us. I suspect that your giving this clown too much credit for our turn-around!

  • Dolan has never been a afraid to break the bank on a player which is stupendous for us.

    However, as far as ticket prices go…… Dolan sucks.

    • He should have marginally increased prices during their playoff drought. It would have made it a lot easier than jacking prices in one fell swoop.

  • The garden as we know it is currently being ruined. The best part of the garden, THE SEATS!, are getting diced up for wider corridors, more concessions, and luxury boxes with a laser light show that would make Pink Floyd envious.

    It’s back to the smoke (literally) and mirrors Muckler days with blinding lights and “cheer” skate girls.

    Yes, the Rangers may be on the right track with the current roster and recent team building, but the garden is in the process of getting transformed into another cookie cutter arena with all the fixins’ previously mentioned to detract from what’s actually important, the game and what’s on the ice.

    Yes, Dolan & Co. have shelled out for this reno on their own but, as a business, it is all in the purpose of generating more revenue and bottom line profit; higher ticket prices, higher concession prices, higher merchandise prices, etc.

    Jimmy should stick to what he does best; playing drunken guitar out on the tip of long island rather than running daddy’s company into the ground.

    This garden reno is a travesty. Why would anyone replace prime seating space with blinding lights that wrap around the whole arena?

    • I disagree completely. The Garden Renovation is great.

      I want more space and wider corridors. I’m tired of bumping into people and spilling my beer. I want steeper seating so I can actually see the play in the corners as opposed to watching hockey players disappeer from sight when they’re near the boards. More bathrooms and concession stands? Great. I’m tired of having to wait 20 mins to take a piss and buy a beer.

      Higher ticket prices suck, but prices increase anyway, I might as well get a better experience for the money. I’ll take Citi Field over Shea any day of the week and I’ll take a more spacious Garden over a cramped one too.

      So the Dolans are trying to generate more revenue? Shame on them! How dare they try to take a publicly traded company and turn a profit! Hey man, if you think their trying to make MSG more profitable. Buy their stock. It’s not exclusive.

      • Well, they’ve repeatedly tried to take it private so we know their intentions and if you want to spend your time hanging out in the bathroom and corridor rather than watching the game, that’s up to you.

        • You’re right, I shouldn’t get up to go to the bathroom while at a hockey game. Next time, I’ll just pee on the person sitting next to me, maybe it will be you…

          • nope, section 121 does not exist anymore and I have relinquished tickets for a more favorable situation at home

            you should understand I don’t mean to offend – I’m just a stubborn mule who doesn’t like changing a good thing

            ps, the only reason I didn’t give up tickets earlier, is b/c dolan didn’t raise prices during those most pathetic and miserable years of ranger hockey – the worst in franchise history

            going to the garden since the early 80s, now, no more

            to refinish the seats and apply fresh paint is one thing, but to disrupt the flow and integrity of the whole bowl is a completely different story

            I would assume the people at “blue seat” blogs would understand that as much as anyone…

          • I think Dolan trying to change MSG and make it better can not be deemed a bad thing….the bad thing will be when the try fan is priced out of the arena.

            That is the problem with all these renovations and new stadiums.

          • Section 121, I appreciate your perspective and I know you don’t mean to offend. I enjoy arguing with you and I think we bring out some good banter between each other.

            With that said, I do not write from the “Blue Seat” perspective. I was brought on board to share opinions about the other side of hockey, the business side.

            Those who do not agree with my opinions, hopefully, are at least learning something.

            If not, hopefully people enjoy my sense of humor…I mean come on, who else can successfully blend hockey talk and sarcastic jokes about fashion in the same paragraph?

  • It was WRONG for Dolan to stop the Jets from coming to Brooklyn.In my opninion Dolan should run away from home and never come back.I guess spoiled rich kids always get their way.

    • The Jets were never moving to Brooklyn. They could have moved to the Westside, but it was defeated. Dolan’s alignment against the Stadium made sense from a business perspective. It would have cripled MSGs concert business.

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