On the day before the game everyone’s been talking about, both GM Jeff Gorton and Team President John Davidson were fired by MSG CEO James Dolan. It’s a move that’s sent shockwaves through the hockey world.
While both hockey insiders Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman speculated that the timing of the firing might have to do with the PR statement the team released yesterday in response to George Parros not suspending Tom Wilson, it sounds like it’s unrelated. In a quick blog Friedman put up, his sources hinted that Dolan had been growing impatient with the rebuild. They have missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year. The Letter went out in February 2018.
Wow! Holy bleeping bleep! If it is indeed the case that the owner who has stayed away from the decision making of the hockey team felt they should be a playoff team, he might have a point. It was right there for the Rangers last week. Beat the rival Islanders twice and they could’ve been a point back. Instead, they were humiliated. Being outscored 7-0 on the heels of a 6-1 Isles’ blowout a week prior couldn’t have sat well. Those three games cost them any shot at making the postseason.
Here’s the bigger question. With Chris Drury tabbed to take over in dual roles as Team President and General Manager, what’s next? There is still a game to play in a couple of hours. The one many were covering. Will the Rangers answer the bell? They’re without Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren for the remainder of the season. Chris Kreider remains out. As everyone knows, Wilson injured star Artemi Panarin to finish his year. If Mason Geertsen isn’t playing, who’s going to go after Wilson? Brendan Smith? There isn’t much toughness on a current roster that’s young.
Here’s the other thing. If Dolan can suddenly dismiss Gorton and the well respected Davidson, who both did a good job rebuilding the roster, what does that mean for coach David Quinn? Is he gone once the last game is played versus Boston? While he has overseen a young roster and done an admirable job, the top players haven’t always seen eye to eye with him stylistically. He has been overly critical for weeks over the East/West style that hasn’t worked against the Islanders. His in game decisions have left some question marks. So too was keeping Julien Gauthier out of the lineup for 14 straight. Will Quinn survive? Is a different voice needed to get this team to the next level?
I’ve always maintained that for as good a guy as Quinn is, eventually it would be a no nonsense coach who guides the team back to the postseason. Maybe Dolan is thinking the same thing. Scary. Nobody trusts him. Not after how bad the Rangers once were. That’s history. Perhaps he sees the great job Tom Thibodeau has done with the Knicks and believes a more experienced coach could get similar results with the Rangers. The talent is there. It’s the other intangibles that aren’t.
If Quinn isn’t retained after the season ends in Boston, who would Drury hire? Two names come to mind. John Tortorella and Gerard Gallant. They are tougher on players and there are consequences when even veterans make mistakes. As much as I like Tortorella, I don’t think he’s the right fit. They’ve been there and done that. On the other hand, I believe Gallant is a very good coach who got raw deals in Florida and Vegas. Of course, this is all speculation. We don’t really know what will happen.
It is very shocking that this happened. On the day of the Rangers’ final home game centered around Caps’ thuggish power forward Tom Wilson, both Gorton and Davidson are sent packing in embarrassing fashion. 😳 If they weren’t already being discussed enough, now the Rangers are front and center.
Dolan has turned up the heat. Who knows what’s in store. Things just got a lot more interesting.