Yesterday was the 10th Anniversary of the Rangers hiring Glen Sather as President and GM. To honor the occaision I combed through the NY Times archives for stories and Sather and his road to be Rangers GM.
Today, as we continue to “honor” and look back at Slats, its the NY Post and Larry Brook’s turn to tell the story of Sather coming to the Rangers.
….Why, because its interesting to see how different media, only blocks apart in NYC, approach and write about a story like this. Plus its the off-season and its Brooks so he should have more stories and nuggets through his old articles than the Times did. Brooks offers more perspective and analysis than the straightforward approach of the Times.
March 29th, 2000: Neil Smith and John Muckler are fired. Brooks mentions Sather as a candidate to replace Smith along with, Lou Lamoriello, who was in the last year of his contract, former coach Colin Campbell and Scotty Bowman, whom Brooks says, “has always been interested in working on Broadway.” Brooks also writes about the possibility of hiring Campbell to be GM and re-hiring Mike Keenan to coach.
…I can tell I will have a good time going back and reading these articles. Hope you enjoy it all too, AFTER THE JUMP
March 30th, Brooks says that Lamoriello is the top choice for the Rangers, but if he is going to stop working for George Steinbrenner, about to buy the Devils, why would he work for James Dolan. He also rules out Wayne Gretzky who says, “maybe down the line.” Brooks doesn’t think Sather is a real option and instead will stay in Edmonton. John Davidson would need to take a pay cut, and loves broadcasting.Brooks thinks that Anders Hedberg should get a good look as GM
April 2nd, Brooks writes about Sather’s long standing distaste for the New York lifestyle. He doesn’t believe Sather will come and believe that Dolan already knows if Lamoriello will.
April 30th, Sather is the front runner and not only does that make Dave Checketts happy, but also commissioner Gary Bettman. However, Sather still doesn’t seem interested according to Brooks and that if he doesn’t come, the Rangers will shift towards Detroit GM Kenny Holland.
…In hindsight, this is a no brainer. Go after Holland and let Sather be. But at the time, Sather still had a decent reputation and the Garden, which has nearly always had basketball people in charge, went with Sather and his five cups. Maybe if they bring Holland in, Brendan Shanahan comes earlier and becomes a great Ranger.
In the same article Brooks says that the Isles should hire Mike Keenan.
May 8th, Brooks cites an impeccable source saying that Washington GM George McPhee wants the Rangers vacant GM job. McPhee had a contract extension in front of him from Washington but had yet to sign it.
May 12th, Brooks says that the Rangers are searching for not only a general manager but a “strong” president to work between the team and Checketts. He mentions Scotty Bowman and Cliff Fletcher as candidates for the President role and then a younger mind like Holland or McPhee for GM.
May 16th, Brooks throws his support behind a Montreal Canadiens re-union of Bob Gainey as GM and Larry Robinson as coach.
…I wanted Larry Robinson badly to coach the Rangers. He just seemed like a coach who couldn’t lose.
May 18th, Sather is reportedly excited at the idea of rebuilding the Rangers and has met with the team.
May 19th, Edmonton is considering filing tampering charges against the Rangers.
May 21st, Brooks says that Bettman and Wayne Gretzky recommended Sather to James Dolan. Rumors of Sather and Phoenix are just that, rumors. Sathers deal is rumored to be for three years, at which point Brooks expects him to leave and meet up with Wayne Gretzky on the west coast somewhere. Kevin Lowe is mentioned as a coach but GM in waiting that Sather will bring along and let take the reins when he moves on.
May 25th, Sather has no bones about taking Lowe with him wherever he goes, but says he won’t leverage one offer with another from another team.
May 27th, Sather claims that he hasn’t signed anything and Brooks says that he rejected the Rangers first offer. There appears to be a difference of $5 million in terms of total salary offered to Sather.
June 1st, Sather is to be announced as General Manager with a supposed three year deal worth $12 million. Lou Lamoriello told James Dolan days after Neil Smith was fired that he wouldn’t be interested. Kevin Lowe is still conflicted as to where he wants to be next season.
June 2nd, Sather has a tough task in New York. This article has an awesome list of some classic Sather trades from his Edmonton days.
June 2nd, Jay Greenberg questions the hiring and says that Sather has a tough hand to play. He also calls Pavel Brendl overhyped.
June 4th, Joe Sakic may hit the trade market and the Rangers, only three years removed from offering him the team, could be interested.
…Do it Glen. Do It Glen. Its Joe Sakic. This team is going nowhere, you need someone to build around.
From the same article there is this, which is classic:
If Hartley does not survive, assistant Bryan Trottier is the logical successor to the throne.
But don’t be at all surprised to find Trottier coaching Wayne Gretzky’s Coyotes, instead.
If only he weren’t an Islander, the Rangers could sure do worse that Trottier; much, much worse.
…O Larry, if only you could see the future.
June 6th, then Oilers GM Sather nearly traded center Jason Arnott to the Rangers for Alexei Kovalev in 1998.
June 8th, Sather says that the team won’t buy out Theo Fleury or Valeri Kamensky
June 9th, Kevin Lowe is set to decide his future. His wife prefers Edmonton. John Paddock and Keith Aucoin are potential coaches for the Rangers.
June 13th, Sather left Kamensky and John Maclean un-protected for the waiver draft.
June 14th, Sather doesn’t rule out coaching the Rangers himself during his tenure. Lowe has decided to stay with Edmonton. He has spoken to John Paddock, has not to Jacques Lemaire and hasn’t asked for permission to speak with Trottier.
June 21st, Walt Kyle is reported to be a top choice for the Rangers position. Ron Low interviewed but was not expected to get the job.
June 28th, the Rangers are very interested in Lindros and if he is cleared will make a run.
…Seems to indicate how the next off-season will go.
July 1st, Mathieu Schneider wants to return to the Rangers.
July 1st, Messier’s return is called a lock.
July 5th, Sather has spoken to Mike Keenan, Ron Low, Wayne Cashmman and some guy named Tom Renney. He is planning to talk about with Keenan.
July 6th, Sather continues to say that he has not offered the job to anyone yet speculation is that Ron Low is the choice. Sather did say he would continue to speak with Keenan and has interest in free agents Claude Lemieux and Vladimir Malakhov.
July 7th, Brooks speculates that Keenan could be the choice for head coach based on Sather saying the Rangers job is different and the coach needs relationships with the players.
July 8th, Messier’s eventual and expected signing could possibly bring Claude Lemieux into the fold as well.
July 9th, Brooks writes and speaks to Keenan about his exit in 1994 and says that if he becomes coach of the Rangers again, he should be embraced. Also, the Rangers moved their game start time to 7PM.
…I remember that and still think its one of the best decisions they have made. Its a great thing.
July 10th, Messier is going to sign a two year deal worth $8 million.
July 11th, Brooks writes that signing Malakhov to the contract that he did, Sather is just continuing in the Neil Smith pattern.
July 12th, Sather admits that he will hire Ron Low to be coach. John Paddock, once looked at as the front runner, was told by Sather he wanted to hire someone that he had a relationship with.
July 16th, further reports on Sakic being traded and the Rangers interest in him.
July 26th, Rod Gilbert says that the Rangers are back on the right track.
…Well that was the NY Post look at Slats road to the Rangers and then his first month. Certainly a lot more names and speculation, but that is what makes this fun in hindsight. Imagine the team hiring Cliff Fletcher as President, Colin Campbell as GM and Keenan back as coach, along with a crazy trade for Sakic. This is why the Internet is great, you can go back, look at all this stuff and dream. New York Daily News, get on your game and create an easy to use archive like the Post and Times.