State of the Rangers

Dolan isn’t wrong – The Rangers need more grit

Just when I thought I was done following the Rangers’ season, they pulled me back in. Like I’m sure many of you experienced, the last several days I have felt a range of emotions with this club. Inspiration. Frustration. Consternation. Revelation? I don’t know. I’m running out of “ations”.

When I first learned of JD’s and Jeff Gorton’s untimely demise, I was shocked. They had been very communicative about their plan and everything seemed to be on track. Then I sat back and remembered, this is James friggan Dolan we are talking about. The guy goes through more executives than he probably does toilet paper, or perhaps seashells.

However, in the midst of the madness, I read Larry Brooks’ read of the situation with Dolan being concerned about the lack of will on the roster and I found myself nodding in agreement to that observation.

The Rangers do lack sandpaper. It’s something that has been missing with this club since the beginning of the AV era. And when I say sandpaper, I’m not talking about goons or having a Donald Brashear on the roster. Those days are over.

No, what I’m talking about is having gritty players who can hit, get in on the forecheck, block shots, occasionally fight (when necessary) and play top 9 minutes. The Rangers lack that in their forward corps and that has to change if we are going to play hockey in June. The lack of grit the Rangers need I thought was more or less due to life stage, but perhaps the previous regime just did not value it as much as Dolan does.

If you look at the clubs that have won Stanley Cups in the past decade, every single one of them had those types of players sprinkled throughout their lines. Tampa Bay had Ondrej Palat, Pat Maroon, Cedric Paquette, & Anthony Cirelli. St Louis had Brayden Schenn, Oskar Sundqvist, Pat Maroon (yea him again), and Ivan Barbashev.

Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings? Same story. Those were heavy teams that could beat you on transition with the fancy plays, but also in the crease, and most importantly, along the boards. Yet for some reason, despite the abundance of players like this hoisting the Cup every summer, all you ever hear from certain segments of this fan base is that skill should triumph over will in every roster spot. It baffles me.

Like where is this coming from? Do some fans not watch the playoffs when the Rangers aren’t in it? Did people not see the LA Kings bottom 6 steam roll us in 2014? Have you never watched Adam Graves play hockey?

I digress.

The point is the pendulum with this team has swung a bit too far in the vanilla/skill direction. At some point there would have needed to be recalibrating anyway. Maybe Gorton & JD were onboard with this train of thought, maybe they weren’t. We’ll never really know.

What matters is, the Rangers are entering the offseason on the brink of the maturity stage. And like I said in my last post, the roster you rebuild with often isn’t the roster that you compete for Cups with.

If the Rangers need to trade one or two of their highly touted defensive prospects or one of their top 9 players to bring some meat and grit to the middle of this roster, I’m all for it.

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  • All fair, and I suspect you wont get much pushback from most on that ascertation.

    To your point, however, those needed ingredients weren’t necessarily a top consideration with where the Rangers are in their rebuild RIGHT NOW.

    I think most of us thought that aspect of the team would be looked at this offseason as, as you point out, they move into their mature phase as a team.

    Maybe I assumed incorrectly and JD and Gorton weren’t on board, thus necessitating their removal, but I do find that hard to believe.

    • Those ingredients should have been a top consideration and thus one of the reasons Gorton did not succeed. Gorton and his scout team, did not feel it necessary to draft grit or guys with snarl. They consistently overlooked those players for kids who could skate.

      Rangers do not have centers in the system because they passed on 4 who were all rated higher than Lias, but we knew better, we always do. Necas, Thomas, Suzuki and Norris where all there to be had. Chytil was a good pick but he is extremely soft, in a long line of drafting soft players.

      • You are dead on correct. Its like drafting a franchise QB and having a terrible OL. The QB will be beaten to shreds and will be out of the league in 2-3 years

    • also to your point, when you say right now…if you want to evaluate talent in the NHL level, then you should give them the necessary tools to succeed. Brett Ritchie could have been signed for the league minimum, instead we sign Colin Blackwell, a nice player, but on a team starving for grit…wouldn’t it have made more sense to sign a Ritchie type.

      Tinordi was waived by Nashville, we don’t need to claim him, yet a team like Boston does, and you guys come on here and say he is a waste, yet he isn’t a waste for a team like the Bruins, who are always near the top. Then when Bread gets smacked order you want the league to step in…it doesn’t work that way and thus the reason Dolan, who spent 81 millions dollars of his money on Bread was pissed to see that happen. And it is not just one singular play that created the havoc.

  • Well said, Suit. As much as people are instinctively reacting against what happened because of their dislike of Dolan (which he has done much to earn, though moreso with the Knicks), there is much that makes sense in what has transpired. The missing grit you discuss, for instance. But there’s more than that, there is the problem that we heard not a peep from JD or Gorton all year while Quinn continued to prove inept at managing our young personnel, and his failure to make any adjustments or have us ready to compete vs Carolina last year, or a team like the Isles this year. It has often felt more like Quinn is in awe of the Isles and Bruins, without any idea how to coach OUR roster to beat them. And while our frustration mounted, we heard nothing from JD or Gorton, who may very well have been supportive of the coach. And in that regard, what happened does make some sense, provided, of course, that our awestruck coach also is let go after tomorrow’s finale, which i fully expect.

    • “It has often felt more like Quinn is in awe of the Isles and Bruins, without any idea how to coach OUR roster to beat them.”

      I love this. This is one of the better takes that I’ve read regarding Quinn’s shortcomings outside of the lazy narratives. This feels true and if he’s portraying these teams as God-like to the media amd his own team while lacking any real answers for his team, that’s a problem.

      • Honestly the lack of support from JD, Gorton, or Drury for Quinn is speaking volumes this year. I wouldn’t expect him to be here much longer.

        • In yesterday’s press conference, Drury was fairly noncommittal about Quinn’s future. So, I assume he’s out, too.

      • Well said my friend… Heck, the Sabres just beat the Islanders but yet we can’t score a goal against them in 4 games !!! Come on folks… that’s coaching !!!!

  • Let’s trade Buchnevich, Kakko, Lafreniére, and Kravtsov for Milan Lucic. And then Chytil, Lundkvist, and two firsts for Eichel.

    • Typical knee-jerk answer; when you don’t agree with the premise of the article….distort what the guy is trying to say. Kinda pathetic, really. Sometimes, what you think is clever in your mind….should stay there. Or you just risk embarrassing yourself….oops too late.

    • I think he may be bought out if the Kraken don’t take him. If that’s the case signing him to a cheap 1 or 2 year deal would be a good idea–unless another team is willing to pay him. Then they need to look elsewhere. Getzlaf, Ritchie (In Calgary) and a few others are out there who might be up for a cheap short contract to play in NYC and help right the ship in a bottom six capacity. We’ll see. But they need to have more grit–even if they are not able to get a Reeves type.

  • As usual Suit, a well tailored opinion!

    I have to believe that Gorton and JD would have filled in the team with some role players who’d bring some more sandpaper to the club, and some protection for their skilled players. I’ve repeated over the last couple of days my criticism of a sudden firing with three games left in the season–it seems petty to me without a real purpose other than to satisfy Dolan’s fit of pique at not getting playoff revenue. JD is a revered Ranger and Gorton was worked hard and long for the club. So it seemed rather bush league to me. I am sure that there must be more to the story, but I am not sure that we will ever get to know the whole of it. I thought the team looked pretty out of sorts last night after the drama of the past few days. I don’t think Dolan’s moves had any positive effect. At least Chris Drury seems to have a lot of respect in hockey. let’s hope he does well.

    Well the league is going to allow headhunters like Tom Wilson. That is clear. So what do the Rangers need? Certainly not another Cody McLeod, a punching bag who can’t play. I’d say that they:

    1) need to school their big young players in asserting themselves, taking the body and finishing their checks and using their size to dominate along the boards and around the net. We’ve seen a much improved Kakko doing that. They should ALL be doing that. That is how they can take their game to the next level and be a force in the playoffs.

    2) need some burly 4th liner who hits and who can punch when necessary. Sure, we’d like our own Tom Wilson sans the headhunting, but skilled wingers who can also fight are not a plentiful commodity. So, we’d like a player or two who will drop the gloves. Smitty, who is at least a competent defenseman, is one of them. Keep him around and get another guy who likes to mix it up who is several inches taller than Tony DeAngelo, and hopefully can actually play regular shifts without being a detriment to the club.

    • Peter you are a man of distinction and exquisite tastes. You’ll find no argument from me here. The timing of all this wasn’t well orchestrated at all.

    • Yes and yes.

      I had nothing against the signing of players like Rooney, PDG, Blackwell, etc., they’re “ok” … but they weren’t necessarily the right TYPE of players for what this team needed. We need a couple of guys to run shotgun for all our skilled players, guys that could go in and out of the lineup as necessary and who know their role.

      Secondly, we need someone to specialize in teaching these kids how to handle themselves — at least they could be taught rudimentary skills in how to protect themselves. Of course I don’t expect any of these players to go one on one with a Tom Wilson, but they should be able to survive … and not be intimidated or afraid of standing up for themselves, especially against the non-Tom Wilsons of the world. I consider that a failure of management — along with not bringing in a faceoff specialist to work with ALL the players, not just the Centers.

  • Do you think Davidson and Gorton weren’t aware of that? Their most recent draft was oriented that way. How many people trashed the Schneider pick cause it wasn’t for a center?

    The real issue the pace of the rebuild. I believe a slow and steady planful approach to build a sustainable power is the right way to go. It seems Dolan got impatient. A mistake IMO.

    • Don’t forget 2020 2nd round pick Will Cuylle (I believe the pick was acquired from LA from the Lias Anderson trade) whose favorite hockey player growing up was Tom Wilson! And grooming / converting Mason Geertsen to be a 4th line winger in Hartford instead of playing in his natural defenseman position- which would be a bigger liability as a 6th/7th d-man in the NHL. JD and Gorton were already in the process of transitioning the team to have more grit. And were planning to use one or two of the skill guys to bring in Eichel or another immediate upgrade this offseason. Yes, in hindsight, the Lemieux trade was a mistake- leaving no one else in the lineup besides Smith to help protect the younger and skill players. But very unfair for JD and Gorton to be dismissed like that. Dolan was too impatient- or something political was also going on.

      • Rumors floating about that Lias Andersson may take his skills to Moscow next season. CSKA has traded for his KHL rights.

      • Couldn’t agree more with what you said! The salary cap situation did in fact play into some decisions also. Lemieux wanted a trade because as a 4th line LW, he was blocked with Rangers which stalled out his potential to 3rd line and limited his salary. Still, need to question our scouting along with everything else. I guess not waiting on trading Lemieux until season end may have sealed the fate of Gorton. Sadly, JD got tossed into the same fire.

  • My brother and I have been saying this for years, we have drafted too many European players and not enough Canadian kids who for some reason seem to be more gritter type players. I’ve never been a Dolan person because he’s to weird of an owner, but when you’re right, you’re right. It’s time to get these types of players on this team. I only wish Dolan would have just told J.D. and Gorton this is what I want so get it done this off season. Instead he fired them! Maybe he did say it to them and they didn’t do it, only they know. Let’s now back Drury and see what happens.

  • A recipe for any great NHL team is talent, grit and perseverance. The NYR only had talent. We will never know the players Gorton would have acquired, but we do know the types of players Drury will obtain – players (and coaches) with some talent, more grit and perseverance.

    Too many times this year, the club was unorganized and seemed ill-prepared. If that doesn’t say coaching change, nothing does. Many times, other teams played shutdown D on our top lines. Where was all the talent on the bottom 6? Could have a more edgy player in the top 6 cleared some space for Panarin and Zibby? Dolan sure thinks so.

    Lastly, all of DQ’s missteps were under Gorton. Why didn’t Gorton better handle the situation or acquire the type of players DQ felt he needed. That is on Gorton.

  • Suit, I totally agree with this post. It 💯 % describes what I’ve gone through the last 2 days. Nice job!

  • I have to agree that this team gets separated from the puck too often especially when playing playoff type teams. They can’t sustain offensive zone control and cede defensive zone possession to tougher opponents. Unfortunately there’s going to be some angst and displeasure among us prospect huggers coming down the pike. That is what Dolan/Sather seemingly are professing.

    I really think Barron gets a permanent shot in the top 9. There will be other “grittier” players there too at the expense of prospects. My biggest fear is Kravtsov will have no place in the top 9 and he is definitely not a 4th liner.

    This team is predictable, passive and not a playoff team. Drury is going to overpay for semi-skilled, bigger players and force the ending of this rebuild at Dolan’s command. I hope Drury can control the Dolan and Sather instant gratification impulses that will only hurt this team going forward.

  • The NHL has very little interested in player safety. If the other team has a player running amuck injuring your teams’ players, he has to be taken care of, old time hockey style. They Oilers had Semenko riding shotgun. The Rangers need a nuclear option.

  • I agree with Dolan that we needed toughness!

    I don’t agree how he went about it.. from the get go we had none from the beginning, (AV sucks era).. JD/JG were trying to improve it,look at some of their picks (Schneider,Cuylle etc).
    Rome wasn’t build in a day!

    So with that in mind Dolan was a prick. I also think think he had Drury bide his time,that’s the reason he didn’t take any GM jobs.

    He did not give JD time to get it his way.the only thing I can fault JD/JG on were some of there FA signings to help in that regard or not tradingfor it.

    DQ does not get a pass on this either,running the only semblance of toughness out of town even though Pepe was a bonehead sometimes.

    Final thought,Drury hopefully is his own man and does the right thing and doesn’t defer to Slats, Bri gs in Messier as coach.only thing I want Mess doing is teaching how to win face offs.

    If they fire DQ I wouldn’t mind Knoblock as next coach seemed to have a good grasp of things.

  • My take on all of this is I was surprisingly disappointed in JD. He helped build St Louis and CLB I thought he would have signed or traded for at least 1 big tough 4th liner/ deterant type player.This team had many 19/20 yr old players and a couple (2) so called Superstars 93,10 and you don’t have someone on the roster to protect what happened the last few games. Martin elbow to Zibanejads head body slam to Panarin I’m sorry you deserve to be fired plus countless drafting of defenseman when you need Centers it was time to turn your focus on that position but they kept drafting defense smfh. I’m glad they got fired but Quinn also must go or I’ll question Drury, friendship should not play a role in this choice Quinn is a horrible NHL coach. His deployment of the young forwards was stupid 25 games ago should have changed what he ultimately did a few weeks ago Blackwell on second all year really WTF!!! These players are not paid to deter but Trouba, Kreider and Lemieux not being in the lineup this would not have happened either but the Rangers still need big tough 4th liners and if they have to over pay so be it that’s JD and Gortons fault for not doing it earlier.

  • The Rangers had Dylan McIlrath, and they sent him away. They had Brendan Lemieux and they sent him away. Now they have Mason Geertsen and they won’t bring him up. There is no one on the team that can send a message that if you mistreat any of our star players we will come after you. That has to change.

    • McIlrath was a 6D that they could’ve hidden away, but it was a team contending for a cup.

      Nobody in the league was shaking in their boots over Pepe, and wasn’t skilled enough to stay on the 3rd line.

      Geertson is a sub replacement value player whom even in the good old days would get called up 5 times a year to fight the Flyers latest cementhead.

    • I understand the sentiment, but I’d rather guys that can play hockey and bring some grit than guys who are gonna play under 10 minutes a night.

    • Yeah, Gorton is still searching a 5’10 defenseman with 100 points ceiling, pass first attitude, pretty face and the nicest boy in the neighborhood

      • Those types of players have value, but you only really want one of them.

        Fox is our 1 & unless Lundkvist clearly is better at Worlds, you’re looking to move him at the draft. Same goes for Jones, who hasn’t been bad, just awfully green.

    • Omg….Are we still going on about McIlrath?

      He was given more chances by the Rangers and AV then any other NHL team or coach. Florida traded for him and within a few weeks, Gallant publicly questioned whether he was an NHL player. Then in a blink of an eye he goes to Detroit, arguably the worst team in the league, he can’t crack the lineup there and he’s relegated essentially to a career in the AHL.

      Repeat after me…..he is NOT an NHL player. It was a huge miscalculation to draft him and if Sather had chosen let’s say Tarasenko, the Rangers likely have a Cup or two. At this point he likely has no shot to ever be an NHL player. And he would NOT have sent any “messages” that would have stopped anything that happened. Remember what happened to Stepan in Boston in 2015 when Beleskey crushed him? McIlrath was dressed that day as I recall. It prevented nothing.

      His presence earlier this week would not have stopped what happened with Wilson.

      • It actually would’ve stopped it, but it would’ve made the team that much weaker occasional shift after occasional shift.

        If McIlrath had run Wilson every time he went deep, Rangers would goad Wilson into a brawl and I’ll do a McIlrath for Wilson in the box for 5 minutes 8 days a week.

        We had the last change, just nobody to match up.

  • The Rangers need to get tougher/ grittier skilled players. Adam Graves type, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of the young guns we already have on the the team Laffy, kaako, kravs. We have decisions to make some of our veteran fowards .Zibenejad or Strome? Did you sign long-term, the other one you trade.Buch or Krieds? Same thing. Couple years ago I’d say krieds, but he disappears too much. Buch Has developed nicely into 200 foot Player , younger . So me personally I keep him. Either of those two guys you trade plus prospects whoever made the NHL yet should get you that type of player in a trade. Also a guy like Mason Geertsen is always a short drive from hartford away. I’d have no problem calling him up and playing him in a game where you know The other team Has a guy who’s going to take liberties against your players all night. Let him do what he gets paid pays for, next day send him back down

  • So as this conversation evolves, It seems like the Wilson affair and the timing of the dual dismissals are inextricably linked.

  • I have to draft for skill, can trade for grit.

    To get size *and* grit *and* skill I have to draft high or trade a lot of skill.

  • I know this. Drury loves to win and hates being surrounded by guys that are satisfied just to be in the Show. Exit interviews will be critical not to just identify any coaching issues, but all if our current players see the game the same way he does.

    • I agree with you here. I think that a rebuild is not fought along a single front. You need to work on all aspects of the team at the same time. This team assumed it wasn’t making the playoffs and for the most part attempted to develop the skills of the young players. Team culture was totally neglected. What management promised and what management delivered was progress on a single front.

      If the team were more focused on winning and being a team, they might still have lost. But they would have been unhappy losing. Perhaps things would have turned out differntly with Lemieux and/or DeAngelo. With Namestnikov last year for that matter. Perhaps not. But lack of team cohesiveness makes it more likely that players will want to bail or will disrespect the team structure.

      • To say that team culture was ignored is just beyond asinine. If this was a roster of 23 players & 23 cabs, why is Panarin jumping on Wilson? Why were there 6 fights the next game if they’re not in for each other?

        Is there an Adam Graves that will walk through Hell wearing gasoline britches to take out anybody who looks cross eyed at Moose? No. But they can be found. They took a run at Dawson Leedahl and Keegan Iverson & others over the years and they whiffed.

        • Ray’s response was asinine, yours is just incoherent.

          Either work on the grammar or lay off the sauce.

    • JTF – My post was written before the interview. The will vs skill thing came from Larry Brook’s initial article we’re he was speculating based on insidery info. Other beats went with that as well.

      • I read it thoroughly and this quote specifically stood out.

        “It is believed that the hierarchy’s collection of skill players at the expense of will players did not sit well with Dolan.”

        If you had a different interpretation, all good. This was mine.

  • We drafted grit in 2020 but we need two more years to see result.
    Gorton screwed 2017, 2018 and 2019 draft picks for euro softies so he payed for this. And what the hell he was thinking sending away Lemieux with that hard schedule to come with Rangers chasing playoff spot.

    • He was rightly thinking that Lemieux had asked him to be traded from the Rangers. Gorton was also likely thinking that Lemieux was replaceable.

  • One of the biggest problems with this team, since the AV era has been a lack of discipline. AV was a very loosey goosey coach. Quinn would probably be a better head of player personnel than a head coach.

    When you compare us to say The Islanders there is a stark contrast. We probably have more talent, but they have far more disciple. They show up to play every night.Even when they are not good on a given night they are usually not terrible. Barry Trotz will bench anyone who doesn’t play their role. He holds his team accountable and they clearly respect him.

    The Rangers on the other hand show up about half the time. You have games like 9-0 vs Philly then you have the last 5 games. I realize we have a lot of injuries and I get that the team was deflated last night after all the drama with The Caps, but they had 8 or 9 shots after 2 periods. They’re not playing for the coach. They did seem to play for Knoblauch. I realize we are a lot younger than the Islanders but youth doesn’t and shouldn’t excuse lack of compete level. That is all about attitude, no matter where you are in your career.

    I think Quinn will be let go after tomorrow’s game. Maybe a little later but not much. And I also think some roster changes are coming as well. Some that may upset people. It is telling they haven’t named a Captain out of this bunch.

  • Dolans’ actions are 7 years late. AV skated 3 guys with broken bones in the finals. Poor planning on the FO, Slats et al, led to this. Either there was no planning for injuries or the team simply didn’t have anyone who could skate or AV just couldn’t take his eyes off the Cup to fully understand the implications.Forget AV, which I’m sure the good citizens of brotherly love would like to do right now. How could the savant known as Slats couldn’t see this, or his chief helper JG couldn’t see this? It starts here and ends in Boston tomorrow. Who really wants to be cannon fodder? Who wants to put pads and skates on with guys like that behind the bench?Huh? Wanna know why the team isn’t prepared? Look at who is behind the bench. Then realize who put him there. Then understand that the guy who put the coach there knows that the money wants it this way, otherwise it wouldn’t be. UUUGGGH! The Devils are ahead of the Rangers in this version of the “rebuild”. I haven’t called it a rebuild, I called it a CYA…top to bottom (executives, FO phonies with an explanation). Bless the players and I hope Drury can remain true to the ice.

    • I am not unhappy he is involved. Just wish it was 7 years sooner. Not counting his fishnagels, but some of those deals made for HIS team by others were incredibly bad for the bottom line and brand. Assuming we all want winners, burning contract years off players is a waste. A players productive time is one rag dolling or sucker punch to the neck away. This is on JG and DQ for not wanting to get to the goal post haste. Patience is great, if its not your dollars. Its also on me for supporting them the past 50 years as both a ticket subscriber and cable viewer. I will not denigrate any players, these young men busted their asses off to get here and they deserve better, no? It is always the same and will be until consequences are paid for. Coaches are hired to be fired, so they say. Thank goodness Pocklington is not the owner.

  • Can they trade for Bennett’s RFA rights? Also, speaking of Florida, if they are going to make a break the bank trade (I am not for this), I would much rather they go after Barkov than Eichel.

  • I couldn’t agree more. I have never understood the trend around here to avoid anything resembling toughness added to the roster. There is a weird correlation in this fanbase that toughness means a “goon,” and it certainly doesn’t. Your example of Adam Graves here is perfect. He was definitely not a goon. But he played the game very hard… finishing checks, fighting when necessary, net-front presence, in on the forecheck, etc. He had tons of sandpaper, and also scored 50+ goals.

    Gorton literally made this team softer this season by trading Lemieux and banishing DeAngelo. And basically no one in our top-9 plays a hard game.

    It needs to be addressed. I think Dolan may have gone a bit overboard in the way he did it. But he is correct here. And by the sound of it, this has been an ongoing disagreement between the owner and the GM for some time. The Caps (and Islanders) just really exploited and exposed it in a very real way and at probably the most critical point in this season. If this was a point that Dolan has been trying to get across for some time, I can understand his frustration. When it came time to put together their best effort to get into the Playoffs, they were outclassed and embarrassed. They got beat up and shutout with very little response.

    • Dolan may have gone a bit overboard, but he is the boss…He grew sick and tired of our passive team, and watched them get pummeled by the bigger teams….Should he have retained JD? JD was mysteriously silent this year and that must have bothered Dolan…I don’t want the team dismantled, but we need to tweak the team and add some snarly, gritty sandpaper, and punishing players on the 4th line.

    • I mostly agree, with the exception of ADA. We have a ton of young talent coming up the pipelines and between Lindgren, Trouba, & Smith there’s plenty of meat & skill on the blueline. His issues aside, he was expendable.

  • Bring in Barclay Goodrow for 1.65

    Blake Coleman for 2.75

    Jamie Oleksiak for 3.5 and our playable toughness and grit problems are solved.

    • Hey pal, IMO, this team is not too far off…….Need a 4th line, a rugged and grizzled vet on D until the other young D men are ready.

      A new voice behind the bench, but retain Martin.

      Need to improve on face-offs, the abysmal line changes, and a few other minor adjustments…I calculated that we were not ready 18% of games played This cannot continue….

      • Hey Pal! We need some grit for sure and a high end center Like Eichel. We have most oft he other pieces in place to contend over the next 3-5 seasons if we make some of these additions.

        • I want Eichel here so bad I can taste it. There is no way this guy cannot be considered borderline generational or franchise altering. There were a couple of GM’s back in 2015 who were split on him and McDavid. In the last 15 years he’s the #1OA at least 10 times.

          Let’s get him out of his Buffalo misery and let him show how great he really is. Center ice men like this only come around once in a great while. Zib is excellent but he is no Eichel.

          • He is not franchise altering – we have seen that. Over his career, he is tied for 32nd in scoring. This is not borderline generational. He averages 2 hits for every three games, less than half what Zibanejad does.

            Eichel is no Zibanejad.

    • The views aren’t mutually exclusive.
      -Yes the team need more grit/sandpaper/toughness
      -Yes Dolan was an a-___e for the way he handled the dismissal of JD and JG

      • Well, the season was petering out with a bit of a whimper and the toughness issue has been glaring for some time, let’s be honest. Gorton had been in his role for what, six years or so. So, he’s had his opportunities. The team as a whole came up short and certain individuals came up short, especially at key moments. As I’ve said before, it wasn’t so much the results themselves but the manner of the defeats (the three games against the Islanders, for example). The must-win Capitals game was likely the final straw. As the story goes, Dolan wanted to fire JG but JD refused to do so. Nice loyalty from JD but Dolan perhaps had little option after that. We will likely never know what really went on. All in all, I suspect Dolan looks across to Long Island and wishes he had their coach/GM combo. I know I do.

        • Regardless of how you feel JD and JG performed in their respective duties. There’s a classy way to dismiss someone. I’d be happy to debate their performances any time and there’s certainly a case to be made from both perspectives. That’s a different issue. I agree the team desperately needs grit/sandpaper/toughness. I enjoy North American style hockey, not European style hockey. My point is the way they were canned.

          However, even if Dolan believed they where horrendous at their jobs, they both are well respected executives within the Hockey community. They should have been treated with more respect and dismissed after the season ended.

          As far as I’m concerned Dolan acted exactly like a spoiled rich kid.

          • You make a fair point. However, I don’t think the timing should be the main bone of contention rather the manner. And, for the manner, we can only go on rumors. I think doing it in the way he presumably did it and when he did it makes much more of a statement, both within the organization as well as outside of. As has been stated before, JG was the one who was going to be ousted but JD’s opposition to the firing perhaps left the Dolan with little option but to clean house. We’ll know soon enough if it’s been felt that Quinn was helped or hindered by the front office.

          • Fan,

            I did read the article. And although I agree that having Drury and any of the coaches that will be retained, conduct the exit interviews, nothing would have precluded Dolan from telling JD and JG that they were being fired and he wanted Drury and whoever to conduct those interviews. The firings did not have to be made public at the time and manner it was.
            The exit interviews are conducted in the MSG offices, not in Boston, so there was ample time to fire them after the last game.
            As far as I’m concerned it’s just a lame excuse.
            Look, it’s Dolan’s team so he can hire and fire at will. But having been in a position in various times in my life where I had to fire individuals, I just find it best to do it in a manner that shows some class. Class that reflects on the Organization and as well, does not embarrass the individuals being let go.
            Firing them, again, not for any egregious reason other than Dolan expected more progress and a perhaps a different vision, could have and in my opinion should have been done in a classier and respectful manner.
            Guys and Gals, it’s just my opinion, and I certainly respect yours and all that have no problem with the way Dolan handled himself.

  • Get used to the idea that Kravs or Kappo may be packaged up in a trade. Chytil too. There are lots of teams with too much grit and not enough skill

    • Kakko and Laffy are going nowhere. As Chytil,I would drive him to JFK myself if it meant a high end center

  • Best comment Ive seen was we have been like a football team with #1 pick QB and no offensive line. No luxury of time there, the line mist be there when the prize takes the field. Same way on other side of spectrum: when teams acquired JMontana or PManning or TBrady, they made damned sure they could protect them or it would be a failed investment and experiment. Was big fan of JD and ok with JG but shame on them for truly allowing players’ lives to be endangered for several years now.

  • Dolan isn’t wrong because he hasn’t said anything!! You’re going on Brooks article, so headline should be, “Brooks isn’t wrong”

  • Factual information without commentary:

    Among centers, Kevin Roomney was sixth in number of hits and Mika 34th. There were something like 119 centers with 45+ games.

    Fifteen Ranger forwards played 5+ games. Ten averaged >1 hit per game, five fewer than 0.5 per game. The five non-hitters were Panarin, Strome, and three kids. The fourth kid, Lafreniere, came in at 0.8.

  • Quinn’s refusal to name a captain for his entire tenure has been pretty disappointing. It’s left this team without a figurehead and leader, which shows in some of these tougher moments. Not picking a captain sends a message to this team that none of them are exceptional enough to be called a leader. I find that a little disheartening.

    There’s plenty of players on this team that could convincingly wear the C.

    Was Quinn waiting for someone to show up on the scoresheet and set an example with their play? Then why not give it to Mika or Panarin?

    If tenure and experience are what matter, then it obviously should’ve gone to Kreider (who’s been my choice for years) from Quinn’s first day.

    Jeez, man, even the way Strome and Brendan Smith stepped up and showed some heart and passion for their teammates made me think they could pull off being captain.

    I guess Quinn wants to give it to Fox, and just needs him to garner more experience.

    Honestly, at this point, I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s only two other teams in the league without a captain. Columbus just traded there captain at the deadline, and the other team is the Ottawa Senators…

  • Agreed, Need graves or Ryan oreilly type of grit and leadership. No one on this team fits that mold. I believe Kreider COULD have been that with his size/strength but just isn’t.

    Trouba, Lindgren and smitty make half of our d kinda tough. Just wish k’andre had any bit of bite to his game whatsoever. Kid just gets pushed around all day and has a meh look on his face. Hope he gets tough or mean this summer but I don’t necessarily believe that this can be taught

  • A rebuild takes time. JD was successful in both St Louis and Columbus, he would of done the same here. Sorry but firing JD was typical stupid Dolan. We did draft grittier players this past draft and most likely would of made some changes to make us tougher this off season. We’re mistakes made, yes of course but the rebuild was going ahead of schedule. Now with Sather seemingly having Dolan’s ear I fear we will go back to what he did for years, trading skilled youth for guys on the back end of their careers.

  • Yes, the Rangers do need more grit, but what makes anyone think that wasn’t in JD and Gorton’s plans? While Dolan has hundreds of millions of cents, he has no hockey sense. Changing front office personnel now doesn’t make the team better, it only increases confusion and uncertainty. Nothing will happen until the draft, he had time to make any front office changes after the season ended. But no, he had to be the center and show how much he knew and exercise his ego. How has that worked out with the Knicks?

    • I agree completely Bob.
      When the season started the Rangers had Trouba, Lindgren, Smith, D’Angelo and Lemieux. That’s 5 guys to handle the grit/sandpaper/toughness issues. No one could have foreseen at the end of the season Smith would be the last man standing. JD and JG showed they wanted more grit/sandpaper/toughness with the last draft. So I am not buying that they were clueless. During the rebuild, JD and JG drafted skill first, that was their focus, again knowing they had the above five mentioned grit/sandpaper/toughness covered for the immediate future while waiting for the grit/sandpaper/toughness to develop with those they drafted.

  • Gorton brought in Chara and Lucic for Boston which helped them for the cup. When he brought in Tanner Glass, Cody McLeod, and other tough guys, he was that on.

  • I have basically been saying this exact thing for a month now. And now everyone is on board? Jesus you guys are a fickle bunch.

    None of you understand what sandpaper and toughness and grit mean. You guys are ecstatic to have Mika as your 1C. Someone adding in his comment Mika is 34th in the league for centers with 45 games or more with hits. When have you ever seen mika land a big hit ever? Come on, really? When have you ever seen any of our top players outside of the Bread seriously fight for a puck in the corner? I agree with whoever has noticed that change in Kappo…he really has stepped up his game this year in the department. But that is really it.

    So people are basically willing to trade away the one center we drafted that has the frame to be that sort of player with a similar skill set as the one you all worship? What??? You are not going anywhere with Mika and Strome. And Chytil takes his lead from them. We need a Ryan O’Reilly, Jumbo, a Pavelski, a Drury, just a guy who can rise to the occasion when needed and be bigger than he actually is. And these guys don’t just fall out the sky. They need to be drafted and groomed. The grooming needs to be done on ice at game time while the show is on going. Not in the locker room on a video. That is how it is done right. I fear those players would never want to come to a circus that now has become the NYR. And while I appreciate Drury and his career, having a guy like Messier on the bench may not be a bad thing for this particular reason. I agree there are a 1000 reasons not to have faith. But you guys just trusted a guy who hasn’t ever won a cup in his entire career whether as a player or a GM.

    I don’t want Messier as the head coach in any shape form or fashion either. But he was a great leader and I would assume that would only transfer to his coaching/management talents. So put him as a assistant to either Drury or Quinn way down on the ladder, but have him present every night and day.(If you really despise him in that role swap in Graves?) And while he would initially probably make a ton of errors, over the long haul, he would be just as successful as Sakic.

    Sakic didn’t pay his dues so that thought process goes right out the window. Do your homework. If you call doing 2 years as Vice President of Hockey operations paying your dues …then please I need a job.

    I don’t think players like Messier will ever make a good coach. I mean Gretzky sucked as a coach. But in the front office, him, leetch, richter, and graves make sense. And while the argument can be made that hockey has passed them by…. I am sure they would be a better talent scout then say the guys we have now.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t have to be Messier. I am just looking for that leadership quality. It can be anyone who has won and took a major role in that accomplishment. Yzerman is a amazing talent scout….far superior to those that are now terminated. You know what he did in his career? Talk shanahan into coming out of Toronto, make him a offer he can’t refuse. I don’t really care who it is. Just these got damn retreads that got lucky once on one draft shouldn’t be managing the most expensive rebuild in the history of the league. They are so far removed from a winning mentality and what it takes to win. It has been what 31 years since he last saw what a winning cup team looked like. That is a lot longer than those people I named above. Well maybe not a lot longer but you get my point.

    If anyone Sather and all his lackies should be gone. And that was what I was hoping for. Drury to me is another lacky of Sather. I sincerely never thought JD was one of them. And that is why I am sad he got canned. He never won a cup on any franchise either. So matter fact see JD. Enjoy columbus. I am seriously curious what Sather has on Dolan. Aren’t any of you? It must be like a dead hooker in the comfort inn or something to that extent. The guy is absolutely bullet proof.

  • Rangers and Knick fans finally had hope that we are on the track to success. Then we get a reality slap in the face to remind us we have the worst owner in sports. A petulant child that is small minded and petty. Maybe I should say that he should sell the team so I can get kicked out of MSG. Needing grit is not a reason to fire the GM and President. They acquired enough assets that we can fill in our missing pieces. Drury said he wants to bring a cup here. JD and Gorton were trying to build a dynasty or as best as you can in modern sports. They made many excellent decisions. I haven’t lost all hope, but the bright light of the future is now a bit dimmed. Maybe we have enough assets that even Dolan can’t mess it up. Let’s hope so.

  • Nailed it! I have been posting for years about more grit and balance for the Rangers as the answer, and many times some of the passive responses on this board would down play it and make excuses. As much as JD and Gordon did a decent job getting some talent, some of the real needs were not fulfilled (centerman and toughness as a start) and a soft one dimensional type team was produced. Drury is a great hockey man and will do a good overhaul.

  • Dolan was completely wrong I dont believe for a second he is telling the truth. The way he is spinning it is that JD and Gorts were oblivious. I’ve watched hockey for 35 yrs and I know JD is old school and I had full confidence we would have addressed the issue of grit. All the reason for the firing was was a convenient excuse hes NOT telling the truth. Where the hell was Dolan when yeah , we got steamrolled by the Kings in 2014 ?? Oh , but NOW all of a sudden he has a great awakening lol , nope not buying it for a second.

  • I believe this was the next phase to bring in gritt once you see what you have. When you get the draft slots the Rangers have the last few years you draft player who can put the puck in the net or keep it out and on top of that they may develop gritt. JD knows what it takes to win especially when he played. This was a knee jerk reaction by Mr. Dolan and hopefully does not set the Rangers back. When he micromanaged the knicktook them a long time to recover.

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