Blog Entry

Shaking up is hard to do

Posted on: February 23, 2009 3:10 pm

When he was running the small market and often financially challenged Edmonton Oilers, Glen Sather used to say if he had the New York Rangers money to spend, he'd win a Stanley Cup every year.

Sather got his chance when the Rangers hired him in 2000, but he hasn't delivered and he hasn't been held accountable either, as his firing of coach Tom Renney today so clearly indicates. Renney has been on the hot seat for weeks, which is what happens to coaches when their teams start to implode and there is an argument to be made that his message was no longer getting through. But make no mistake about it, Renney was sacrificed by Sather because it was easier than taking the general manager taking the blame. Or fixing the mess he created.

The Rangers became a playoff team under Sather after the lockout when they found themselves in the same boat as everyone else in terms of spending money. Sather tended to spend to the max in his first four seasons and got absolutely nowhere, but working under a salary cap and with Jaromir Jagr to build around, New York suddenly turned competitive. Then Sather tore things apart last summer and handed Renney a team that doesn't have the kind of chemistry necessary to be a winner.

Judging by the Rangers play over the last month, you have to wonder if they even have enough talent. They can't score goals, their defenders can't get the puck out of their own end, and superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist often looks like he's distracted by the many commitments he has being in New York. And there's no glue.

Sather let the veteran leaders Jagr and Brendan Shanahan know he wasn't really interested in them last summer and made only a token effort to keep spark plug Sean Avery around, turning his team over to a new leadership group headed Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Neither player lived up to the expensive free agent contracts they got last season, and both are again disappointments. So is Markus Naslund, who was supposed to replace some of the offense of Jagr, and most of all defenseman Wade Redden, who might be the league's biggest bust this season but still has five years and more than $30 million on the deal Sather gave him in July.

The moves Sather has made in the last two seasons have been abject failures, but worse, they have tied the Rangers up in contracts that no one wants to take off their hands.  That makes it almost impossible for the GM to fix things before next Wednesday's trade deadline, so he fired the coach. He couldn't blame himself after all.




Category: NHL

Since: Jan 23, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2009 11:17 am

Shaking up is hard to do

Sather's got his own problems, but Renney -- not Sather -- made Renney the scapegoat.  You can't play defense for 60 minutes and win the game.  His system was designed to reduce goals against and failed to take scoring goals into account.  How else can he explain having the best PK and the worst PP?  Was he hoping the Easter Bunny was going to leave him some goals before the playoffs start?  The proof is in the losing: down a goal or two late in each of the last several games, Renney would cut 'em loose, but it was always too little, too late.  He also failed to realize that when you've got bad defensemen it's best to tey to keep the puck out of your end as much as possible.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2009 9:19 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 7:37 am

Shaking up is hard to do

I couldn't agree more! Renney did a hell of job molding this team into a new identity. One we Ranger fans expected to win and win a cup. Sather is done, Torts may fire up the team for a period. But this team is not built for the long haul, they are the same player, same size some just faster.

Thank god for the King, if not for him the team would be somewhere in the 10-16 hole!


Good luck to Renney, hopefully he turns up w/a better GM.

Since: Oct 10, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 7:17 am

Sather hasn't been succesful

  Last years Rangers had been the best looking team NY has had in a while. They handled the New Jersey Devils in the first round.Unfortunately the more talented Penguins then handled them. The Rangers are currently spending 62 million dollars on salary. They are flat up against the cap at 55 million and so can't make a move.  They had seemed to develop some young players including Girardi,Mark Staal,Dawes,Betts and Brandon Dubinsky. They had drafted Cherapanov who looked like he was going to be their scorer of the future. They have paid too much for good players. After signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez for 7 million a piece they no longer had money for Jagr or Shanahan or anyone. They're paying Lundquist 6.85 million. They're paying Wade Redden ,the most over-rated defenceman in the league 6.5 million. Rosival is making 5 million a year. That only makes sense if you compare it to Reddens salary.The Rangers can't make a move, They need to dump one or two of these over-priced contracts or Gomez and Drury need to become Ovechkin and Zetterburg. The only contract they could possibly move is Lundquist's and that's the only one that they get a modicum of value for. Next year the Rangers already have 41 million dollars assigned against the cap.That's for 10 players. They need to pick up another 12-13 players for 14 million dollars. Now if the cap goes down in 2010-11 the rangers are screwed. They have 34 million in salary against the cap for 2010-11 for 7 players.If the cap is down to 45 million they now need to sign 17-18 players for their ten million. I would say Sather doesn't have a horrible draft record. Dubinsky,Dawes ,Staal, Callahan ,Cherapanov, Cliche, Prucha, Blackburn, Tyutin ,Zidlicky, Lundquist, Dominic Moore are all draft picks by the Rangers since 2000.This is a period of time when their best pick was tenth. They did squander their high picks in 98 and 99 but generally their talent evaluation has been good for a team that drafts in the second half of the league. The free agents Sather picks up aren't again ,horrible. His talent evaluation is fine. Gomez and Drury were the best forwards available when they were signed. Redden it can be and was argued was the best defenceman available when he was signed.I don't believe it but there you are. So he evaluates talent well enough but unfortunately he doesn't care ,or seem to keep track of what he pays for it. Sather needs a CPA to follow him around with a calculator and explain the consequences every time he signs a good second line center for 7 million dollars a year. The rangers are now stuck with a mediocre line-up with long term contracts. Unless they're ready to start buying players out they can't even look at another high priced free agent until 2012-13 when they'll still have Gomez at 7.4 million,Redden  at 6.5 million and Lundquist at 6.875 million. Until that time they'll have to fill out their line-up with young players. Hopefully ,for the rangers sake ,some of them will develop into superstars. Every team in the league could use a Chris Drury. No one can afford to pay him 7 million a year.

    Sather isn't a horrible GM ,he's an average one but he's a terrible accountant and the rangers are hamstrung for years now because of it.

Since: Oct 1, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 2:16 am

Shaking up is hard to do

Relax Ranger fans....he's still a better GM then say...Garth Snow. If I spent 15 years struggling to make the oilers competitive on a fixed income, and then went on to gm the team with highest payroll, It would be hard not to just spend for the sake of spending. Sather is shrewd, but thats never what the rangers needed. There was a time you had jagr, lindros and bure all in blueshirts at the same time...Thats spending money. Drury and Gomez were the best free agents available two summers ...and he overpaid them both. Being Gm of a team like the rangers is more of a figure head title anyways...its always been just sign the highest priced, best unrestricted free-agents when they come available. Its not a science. Funny how it works for Detroit but not New York. Sather does need to go...but its hard to imagine the next gm not doing pretty much the same thing...spend spend spend. Who's unrestricted this summer? Rangers will get atleast one of them. They need to start developing their own players.

Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2009 5:49 pm

Shaking up is hard to do

Well by the looks of it the new coach is going to be John Tortorella.  That pretty much squashes any shot of Avery coming back, there is no way a hard-nosed no nonsense coach like Tortorella is going to put up with Avery's antics.  Renney was a player's coach, but at some point he lost the respect and the attention of the team.  Tortorella might be just what the Ranger's need to try and turn things around this year.  He won't tolerate the lack of effort that the Rangers have been showing night in and night out.  While it's obvious that there are some serious issues with this team, the talent is there, the 10-2 start wasn't an accident.  They need to get back to basics and start playing good defense and getting to the front of the night. This season is not a complete loss yet, and this shake up may be just what they needed. 

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2009 5:18 pm

Shaking up is hard to do

They should at least have waited until their saviour, Avery, is back in town. With the record they have with him in uniform then maybe Renney's job would be secure.

Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2009 4:42 pm

Shaking up is hard to do

You couldn't be more correct. This is Sathers mess! Couple of points. Think about all the UFA moves and non moves he's made since being hired. You can't come up with many great moves he's made in buying new UFA's. Take away trades. Think about can't think of many.  Not only has he spend poorly he's foregone signing sure fire guys. Nothing more in your face then post lockout when he sign Marek Malik and Aaron Ward for the same combined money that he could have gotten Zdeno Chara for. Think of all the lousy moves. Redden, Holik, Ward, Malik, Kasperitis, Vorros, Rissmiller, Gomez, Drury, Naslund. The list can go on and on. Michael Nylander might be the only great move. He waqs cheap and a great fit for Jagr. Bottom line is that Sather completely made Renny the scape goat but the Dolans need to wake up and realize that the game has passed Slats by. Renny wasn't withouy blame though. He distributed ice time to people who deserved less not more. He was the head coach of the worst coached PP in the league over the last several years. He paired his best wingers (Jagr and Zherdev) with checking centers like Dubinsky. He insisted on playing the style that he wanted to play when it was obvious that his GM wanted something different with the players he gave him. Tom Renny is a class act. Good coach and will land another job. I hope he goes somewhere where his GM and he are on the same page with the style they'll play and in turn staff the team appropriately. PS..........FIRE SATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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