Everyone's favorite owner James Dolan recently gave an exclusive interview to the NY Post's Mike Vaccaro. While it mostly involved talking about Dolan the band mate, the status of Isaiah Thomas and the Knicks, the mercurial man did touch upon his other team, the New York Rangers, for a brief moment.
MV: Let’s talk about the Rangers a little bit. Is there a line of succession in place when Sather retires? Will he choose his replacement?
JD: Ultimately it’s got to be my call but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Glen and still feel very lucky to have him. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and I don’t know if there’s anyone else in the NHL that’s better than him, but he’s got to be close to the top. His understanding of the game, his understanding of what makes a great player, and also he’s pulled off some trades I looked at him and said, “How did you do that?” As long as he’d like to stay I’d like to have him.
MV: A few years ago you took the mic at a postgame press conference and proclaimed the Rangers were on the right track for the Cup. Do you still feel that way?
JD: Yeah, I do. This is going to be an interesting year because we have a new coach and a new system. I’m heartened by what I’ve seen, it looks like the team is picking up on the coach’s strategy looks like they’re starting to jell, [Rick] Nash is coming back [Tuesday], we’ll see how that impacts the team. I like what I see. So much of hockey is playoffs, just like basketball, we’ve made the playoffs a bunch of times now but we haven’t … the closest we came was conference finals.
MV: It seemed as if John Tortorella was on the brink of perfect New York stardom — no matter what, you had an opinion on him, good or bad. Are you sorry that didn’t work out?
JD: I miss John Tortorella. I’d visit Torts before a game and we would trade barbs for 10 minutes, he’d tell me about his [lousy] cable TV service and I’d be sitting there saying, “You can’t clear the puck out of your zone, what the hell’s wrong with you?” and he’d strike back and then play the game and I miss that. I’m developing a relationship with Alain [Vigneault] and he’s also a good guy, but Torts and I had a special relationship. It was fun for me. He banned me from the locker room for a while, all in fun. I miss that.
– I would suggest reading the whole interview. It is great insight into a man who appears in front of the media less than Glen Sather, if that's even possible.
– I was fully expecting Jim Dolan to tell Vaccaro that he 'expects' a Stanley Cup from the Rangers this season. Maybe he'll guarantee the Rangers will win their next home game.
– That Torts nugget by Dolan was perfection. John Tortorella would even get snippy and fire back at the Owner. The man caters to no one. I miss him as well, James.
– Solid shot taken by Pat Leonard this morning:
Will wait to hear what Dolan thinks about last year's trades that led to a second round exit one year after a trip to the East Finals
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 22, 2013
…apparently, not sniffing a Stanley Cup in 13 years means job security in Dolan's world. Sure, Sather has pulled off some magic act type trades recently, but he also turned an Eastern Conference Finalist into the Columbus Blue Jackets.
…two years ago, I did a 180 on Sather. I felt he finally understood how to build the Rangers into a winning organization. They were drafting the right personnel, signing character players and the team was winning. But what he's done to the Rangers since that Eastern Conference Finals appearance, has set them back in my opinion. Before hearing the above quote from Dolan, I really thought this was a make or break year for Sather. It was his decision to flip the team and fire the coach, so he absolutely needs to be held accountable if the team flames out short of a Stanley Cup again this season.
…as much as I criticize Dolan on the blog, we Rangers fans can't ask for a better owner. The guy is willing to spend whatever money it takes to build a winner. Not many owners are in a position to do that. Unfortunately, he is loyal to a fault. You saw it with Isaiah Thomas and now with Sather. You would hope Dolan would make decisions based on results, but instead he does it based on filling seats in his newly transformed arena.
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