In the book “Behind The Moves,” Jason Farris spoke with NHL General Managers past and present about how they conduct business and to tell stories about their lives in hockey.
Neil Smith said this about how MSG management wanted to run the Rangers during the offseason in 1997:
“When we lost Messier [to Vancouver as a free agent], [my boss] Dave [Checketts] comes in and says to me, ‘We should do an offer sheet on Joe Sakic.’… He said, ‘I’m on the board of governors and the Nuggets and Avalanche are broke and [their parent company CEO] Charlie [Lyons] says they are out of money. We’ll front-load [the offer] and they can’t match because they can’t come up with the cash.’… [When the Avs did match our offer, I met with] ownership – ITT was the dominant managing partner then – and one guy said to me, ‘We should sign Paul Kariya [from Anaheim] now and shove it [to Ducks owner] Disney and [CEO] Michael Eisner.’ I said, ‘I’m not doing that. I am not going to have any part of this. You are fucking going to ruin the league. I’ve got to live in this [league].’… It’s [about] how you get up in the morning; it’s how you feel about yourself – do you feel good about yourself?”