After years of being kept at bay, James Dolan has finally made his return to try and destroy what the Rangers have been building. After the bizarre and wild last 48 hours it somehow got even stranger on Wednesday afternoon when social media dropped the bombshell that the Rangers fired team President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton.
Welcome back, Jimmy! I truly hate seeing your return on the Rangers side of business.
I guess with the Knicks clinching a playoff berth and Dolan realizing he can’t tank what they’re doing on the NBA side of things at MSG that he would return to trying to meddle with the Blueshirts. With the Knicks playing well and clubs still not back to being totally open around NYC so Dolan and his band can’t make audiences ears bleed, he felt the need to inflict pain and suffering on someone and he set his sights on Rangers fans everywhere.
I was never overly thrilled with Glen Sather and his tenure as Rangers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager but one thing that did change under Sather’s watch was that Dolan went away. He just signed the checks and let Sather run the show on the hockey side of things and while it never delivered a Cup it brought stability to the organization. With the firing of Davidson and Gorton it screams that Dolan wants to try and have his fingerprints back within the organization which can only spell doom for the Rangers.
The firing of Davidson and Gorton comes a day after the team sent out a strongly worded statement regarded the NHL’s DoPS lack of action on Tom Wilson for his actions towards Artemi Panarin and calling for George Parros’ job. First thing I thought of was that both men were fired due to the statement which wouldn’t have been too shocking because, Dolan, as we’ve seen over the last year hasn’t been real big on public statements regarding hot button topics. So when his team releases one calling for a league official to lose their job you could imagine that he would have some strong feelings regarding that. To find out that neither Davidson or Gorton were onboard with the statement and it came from Dolan made the statement even more shocking.
It’s believed that both men were dismissed because Dolan felt the team had too much skill and not enough toughness or grit on the roster and that’s not coming from me but the most plugged in man to Rangers business Larry Brooks. Brooks also said that the Rangers recent losses to the Islanders and Capitals reinforced that belief into the mind of Dolan. Brooks also went on to mention that the Rangers “underachieved” in the eyes of their owner and that’s also why this move was made today.
But if that is the case then why didn’t Dolan go ahead himself and just fired the head coach? Generally before a move like this is made the coach is the first one to go and the GM will usually get one more kick at the can. Let’s not forget that Gorton took over for Sather after the 14-15 season with Alain Vigneault as the teams head coach. So the hiring of Quinn was Gorton’s first and only coaches hire in New York. Pretty strange if you ask me.
This is just total spit balling here but maybe Dolan told his front office that he wanted Quinn out and Davidson and Gorton went to bat for their head coach and it cost them both their jobs.
Whatever the reason I know plenty of Rangers fans annoyed with this move because this organization made great strides two years into their rebuild and were ahead of time in many people’s minds. Dolan’s decision to fire two of the pioneering minds certainly is odd especially because Davidson was one of the driving forces behind the teams ability to land Artemi Panarin in free agency. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to see Dolan circle back to his reliance on the 94 Rangers and bring Mark Messier back to the organization for a front office or coaching role. That would be the cherry on top of the sundae of disappointment. After hearing Messier today on the Michael Kay Show, it seems he is ready to pounce with even leaving some unfortunate jabs at the former regime for the build of the team. Talk about bad timing and poor taste regardless of how revered he is in not only the organization but the city and hockey in general. Let’s just hope if Messier does come into the fold in any role that it is not reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky’s tenure off the ice or his second run on Broadway.Embed from Getty Images