More fine work by people who are not me


I suggested yesterday that the “Jim Dolan piece in Sports Illustrated”: might be of interest to Rangers fans. Having now chewed over every word, I say it’s a must-read if you’re looking for a better understanding of the Garden and the people who run it.

Much of it speaks to Dolan’s complex personality as a recovering addict — petulant and self-absorbed one moment, uncommonly generous the next. But it also offers a window into an overall paranoid Garden culture.

Some of that culture we as reporters are exposed to on a regular basis, most notably with P.R. staffers often standing nearby when we talk to players and coaches (although it should be noted that no one’s ever stopped me from asking a question or said word one about anything I’ve written). But the vast majority of Dolan’s “reign of fear,” as the story describes, seems to exist beyond closed doors.

What’s telling as well is that while none of the Rangers’ current brain trust — Glen Sather, Don Maloney or Tom Renney — are even mentioned in the story, Mark Messier is quoted at length heaping praise on Dolan as the ideal owner.


And that brings me to today’s next topic, the Captain himself appearing in New Jersey and “reiterating to John Dellapina”: his desire to be the Rangers’ next GM.

“Could I jump straight into that job? Yes. Would I be opposed to doing anything or apprenticing or anything like that? No. But I guess in a way, as you go through your career, you really are apprenticing with the coaches that have coached you and the people you’ve worked with,” Messier said. “So really, in absorbing from the discussions I’ve had with Glen (Sather) over the years and the advice people have given me, in a way it has been a 25-year apprenticeship.”

Of course, the one difference between the league Messier knew and the one he’d be stepping into now is that the salary cap makes everything that much more complicated. Gone are the days when a GM could identify talent and just plug players into certain holes, and that’s why you’re seeing a much quieter trade market this season than in seasons past.

That’s not to say it’s a position beyond Messier’s skill set. But it is to say there’s a lot more that goes into running an NHL team than people think.


And speaking of the NHL trade market, “here’s my story”: from today elaborating on what I touched on yesterday, that the next eight games before the trade deadline might dictate whether the team becomes buyers or sellers.

More from practice later….

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  1. I Miss Steve Rucchin on

    Oh, Sam, stop plugging your articles! Jesus! We already read the blog!

    Anyway… Mess as GM? No thanks. I love him as much as anyone, but I don’t think he should just get up one day and want to do it, and POOF!, he’s GM. What about Maloney?

  2. I’ve always been a huge supporter of Messier and will always be grateful for what he did for us in 1994. But I just don’t see him as a GM. Maybe as a coach though.

  3. Doodie Machetto on

    I don’t even see him as that. He is an old-timer who would give preference to his old-time friends. He would be terrible at developing youth. The only thing he would excel at is motivating players. In that sense, I like his jersey hanging from the rafters just fine.

  4. great story Sam…

    but the frustration i have with Renney at this point is ridiculous!…eh….

    besides that….as far as Mess is concerned, i don’t think you guys are giving him enough credit…as Dellapina so RIGHTLY pointed out!….this guy knows his hockey, and while it seems everyone and their brother thinks he’d trade away the farm, i think the exact opposite….he knows talent, and he knows the mold it takes to win….he knows the fortitude it takes….praising Orty, helping along any rook that’s come his way…that’s a leader and winner…he CAN make us a winner…and he’ll draft, buy and trade for those players without dealing the whole farm IMO…


    i do also have to agree with you NJ Mark…i’d love to see him behind the bench more…especially with the way Renney’s attitude has gone down the tubes this year…IMO, this guy has pulled a 180 from what he was last year…from being Mr. “hold you accountable for your costly mistakes” to….Mr. “it’s ok, try and do better next time”…Mess would not take half of what Renney takes…


  5. Exactly my point. He’d be a no nonsense type of coach and hold all players accountable. I’m not saying he wouldn’t make a good GM, just saying him going into that role is more of an unchartered territory and more of a risk for the organization. I’d rather see him closer to the action.

    I’d have no problem with Maloney as our next GM. He would at least hold onto our prospects and ensure that they are developed properly. Of course, we’re wasting our time discussing this. Sather isn’t going anywhere for the next couple of years, maybe more.

  6. bleeker …what rebuild? The kids that aren’t being promoted or the ones that left ? All sather fans should line up & start their keep sather petition, all 3 of you.

  7. NJ Mark,

    you’re right….Slats isn’t going anywhere…with the relationship him and Dolan have, it’s his for as long as he wants it…

    but i made this point in a message board and i’ll make it here….

    go to and check out the draft history in the first round…go to and checkout our specific draft history and compare what he’s done in each round to what Smith did…IMO, Slats has done well, and if we can truly believe what he said yesterday in the Brooks story, then he’ll do even better…and i say, good for him!….i was NOT one of the people screaming for his head and joining in on the “fire Sather” chants….i want to see what the next few years bring and see if we REALLY give these young guys a shot…if we do, at least he can say he tried that way…and that’s really all i wanna see…i’m willing going to admit i’m one who’s screaming for Callahan and Dawes now, but i think we’re just readying ourselves for those guys next year once the UFAs leave their roster spots, and the dust settles…i think they should have been up from the beginning of this season….

    and also, some of you might think i’m nuts for saying the following, but so be it…i could HONESTLY CARE LESS if we re-sign Shanahan in the offseason…there are positives and negatives to it…and i could care either way, but the glaring negative IMO, would be preventing the likes of Dawes or Cally, or anyone else who’s ready from TRULY getting their shot with the CORRECT amount of ice to develop…


  8. Messier’s lobbying for the GM job. There might be some bad blood there because of Sather’s ill treatment of his buddy Leetch. Whoever wins this battle, we, as fans, still lose.

    Messier hates kids, loves vets. He was instrumental in getting Zubov among others run out of town. Davidson and Snow are two recently appointed GM’s that have no previous experience so it’s possible to do a good job with no experience but Messier is carrying baggage.

    First his proclaimed love for Dolan…STEERIKE ONE!!

    As mentioned already, he loves vets over kids….STEERIKE TWO!!

    Would be an excuse for Dolan to give Messier a shot at least as long as he did Sather (if the change occurs) which means another seven plus years of this crap!…..STEERIKE THREE, YER OUT!!

    Twiddely de twiddely dum.

    Mark my words, a real mess!!

    Like twin, Hedberg would be my first choice, but I’m sure there are other assistant GM’s out there who are relatively anonymous who would be better choices than Mess.

  9. As bad as Sather has been, we can’t call for his head just yet. Only fair to see what guys like Staal, Dubinsky, Callahan, Dawes, etc. become. IF the club ever moves them up to the big club. Staal and Dubinsky get free passes because Staal has barely any AHL/NHL experience since he’s so young, and this was Dubinsky’s first year in Hartford. But I have no idea why Immonen, Dawes, and Callahan were never given real shots.

    What worries me is that Sather has a bad track record of #1 picks back from his days with Edmonton. And he messed up royally in 2003. He took Jessiman (looking like a bust) and passed up on both Zajac and Getzlaf. And 2004 was no better when he drafted another goalie (Montoya) and passed on Radulov. Hopefully, Montoya will continue to develop and become great trade bait or an elite goalie for us.

  10. Sam,

    I found your reference to MSG P.R. staffers monitoring conversations between players/coaches and the press to be be fascinating. What is this? The U.S.S.R? Iraq under Saddam? In my cynical mind, such monitors are not there to “stop you from asking a question” or “say anything about what you have written.” They are there to remind players to “think” about what they say to you and your colleagues. When you interview a player or coach by phone, does MSG require that a P.R. staffer participate?

  11. i’m in TOTAL agreement about the 3 you mention…Immmo played 5 or 6 games with regular ice on a line with Cally and Shanny and had 4pts….ummmmmmmm?!?!….

    Dawes got 3 mins and wasn’t good enough to stay up…oh, that’s right, i forgot that J. Ward and Hall were!…

    Cally…1 game…bye bye….GRRR!!!

    that’s where my frustration with Slats, Renney and co. lies as well…but is that on Slats or Renney because his boys weren’t seeing ice time?!….if i had to point a finger, i’d say Tom Terrific, but maybe that’s because of my anti-tom terrific attitude right now :P..he was missing J Ward, Hossa and Hall in the lineup…well, now he can miss J Ward even more!!!


  12. Doodie Machetto on

    J.D. is not the GM in St. Louis, he’s president. Larry Pleau is the GM.

    But other than that, I agree with you on Messier. He should take a Rod Gilbert/Adam Graves role within the organization.

  13. Well Mess story has done a good job in deflecting the attenion from Renny’s resolve speech. … Is MESSIER GM yet?

  14. please no on Maloney as GM – I liked him where he was when he was GM of the fishsticks (that was the perfect role for him)

    I’d rather have a young hungry asst gm become our next gm (which leaves out Messier as well). Of course none of it matters if Dolan stays on as owner.

  15. On the issue of Messier ‘favoring vets over kids’…we need to take a full picture of The Captain’s playing career. Yes, we had him for 10 seasons, but that means others had him for 15. People are specifically forgetting his time in Edmonton and how those winners came to be.

    In 19 days, his number goes up to the rafters in Edmonton. Every story coming out of Alberta in the next few weeks will be, as always, the Oilers dynasty. How was that dynasty built? Exactly the way we all fantasize about building one of our own; draft picks, kids, rookies, all coming together, meshing, molding, creating something incredible. Mess, Gretz, Lowe, Kurri, Fuhr, Coffey…these guys were all babies when they started. Even Sather was a young gun with a modest playing career and barely a coaching track record.

    Look, Mess always waxes nostalgic about ’94, who doesn’t, but he won 5 cups over there, and only one with us, and there’s specific reasons for that. No one has really ever asked him (publicly, at least) why his last four years here went as badly as they did. But it’s very obvious the reasons why; we all know what they are, and so does he. And hell even in ’94, we may have traded away guys like Amonte and Weight, but the Leetch/Graves/Richter/Kovalev nucleus were all mid-20s, young, and hungry.

    And another thing. It may be sacrilege in both NY and British Columbia to bring up his time with Vancouver, but in the context of this debate, it warrants mentioning. Yeah, it went awry while he was there, but guys like Markus Naslund are on record as saying their success in the early 2000s wouldn’t have happened if not for Messier’s influence while he was there.

    Bottom line: it’s tempting to view Messier’s second stint with the Rangers in a vacuum since it’s so fresh in our minds and this season feels like those seasons did. But in this context, falling into that trap means you’re taking too limited a snapshot of Mess’ career and what he learned from it.

  16. Adam Z. Nice post! Very well written.

    I like the idea of Messier and Graves in tandem roles. somehow working together but not sure what titles each should have. They both are very influential leaders and both are very intelligent guys.

    To say Messier would trade youth in favor of vets may be a stretch also. Sure, that was how it was done when he played his career but he is smart enough to have learned and see that the CAP era prevents that strategy in today’s NHL.

  17. Adam Z: excellent post!

    Even though I do have my reservations about Mess as GM, the guy has won 6 Stanley Cups. So I like to think he has an inkling on how to build a winner. He can’t possibly be any worse than what we have/had.

  18. This was a piece from Jim Kelley of about 4 years ago-

    “How’s that again?
    Interesting wording from James Dolan Jr. about the future of New York coach and general manger Glen Sather. Dolan said the job was Sather’s “for as long as he wants it.” That gets Dolan off the hook for his vote of confidence remarks at the end of the season. Should he decide to make a change, he can simply state — and get Sather to agree — that stepping down was Sather’s decision. That keeps the door open for the likely hiring of a new coach (Mike Keenan?), but it also does the same should MSG opt to hire a new general manger as well.”



  19. It’s possible Mess could be a good GM. If you want an example, look at how well Lowe has done the job in Edmonton. Jeez, maybe we hired the wrong Edmonton GM.

  20. Doodie Machetto on

    tsalad: Then Garth Snow isn’t the GM in Long Island. Wang runs that show.

    haha. wang.

    Any truth to Brook’s rumor that the Kings originally offered Avery, Conroy, and Norstrom for Staal? If there is, then that’s pretty encouraging, becuase the way I see it, those three players are like the recipe to the Rangers not only making the playoffs, but maybe even pulling off an upset or two. To turn it down shows that they really aren’t going to sell the farm to make the playoffs.

  21. Doodie Machetto on

    “In 19 days, his number goes up to the rafters in Edmonton. Every story coming out of Alberta in the next few weeks will be, as always, the Oilers dynasty. How was that dynasty built? Exactly the way we all fantasize about building one of our own; draft picks, kids, rookies, all coming together, meshing, molding, creating something incredible. Mess, Gretz, Lowe, Kurri, Fuhr, Coffey…these guys were all babies when they started. Even Sather was a young gun with a modest playing career and barely a coaching track record. ”

    Edmonton couldn’t afford NOT to play their kids. Furthermore, 9/10s of their kids were blue-chip prospects. We have only 1 (Staal), 2(Montoya), or 3(Sanguinetti), depending on who you talk to.

  22. doodie:

    Ever think that Sather planted that rumor with Brooks so that it could look like he’s a hero for turning it down?

  23. Doodie Machetto on

    Hey, like I said, I’m looking for truth. I didn’t accept it as truth. I was just explaining the ramifications if it was.

    Although, I think Sather planting it with Brooks is probably not too likely for two reasons:

    1) Brooks said Sather had no comment about it. Even if Sather told him about it, that would be a comment about the rumor.

    2) Brooks is well known for making up rumors, without anyone else’s help.

  24. I don’t believe that Brooks’ article in which the 3 for Staal deal was mentioned. Brooks is known for making up stuff just to put an article in the paper (aren’t we do for another Keith Tkachuk to the Rangers article soon?).

    And if that deal was offered, no way do I take it. Only way I part with Staal is if one of his brothers is on the other end of the trade, or another young superstar. And that’s not going to happen.

  25. Kudos to Larry Brooks for calling out the Messier family’s aggressive move on the GM job. Messier can claim 25 years of playing is enough, but I’d like to see him put in some years learning the modern GM job before he takes over the Blueshirts.

    And that doesn’t mean I want Sather to stay, though I am resigned to it seeing as how Jimmy D. loves him.

  26. Doodie Machetto on

    I wonder how Maloney feels about all of this.

    Also, the way Messier is metaphorically laying siege to this job, it seems he’s not being friendly to Glen, especially with the way Sather has been rebuffing it. I wonder if something happened to piss Messier off, or if there was a rift between the two.

  27. “Edmonton couldn’t afford NOT to play their kids. Furthermore, 9/10s of their kids were blue-chip prospects. We have only 1 (Staal), 2(Montoya), or 3(Sanguinetti), depending on who you talk to.”

    As to your first sentence, Doodie, that’s a distinction without a difference. Bottom line is, they played ’em, and they won with a core group of young guns. Plus, with Edmonton making the jump from the WHA to the NHL, there had to have been plenty of temptation to at least try to secure big names to establish a presence in a better, more talented league. Instead, they built the team through kids and picks.

    As to your second sentence, I’m confused. Obviously Gretzky…but Messier a blue-chip prospect? The man had one goal in 52 career WHA games. Sure he was big and strong and could skate, but he was also a maniac off the ice and known more as a grinder/fighter than a scorer on it(plus only 12 goals in his first NHL season- 75 games). Kurri was a scorer, yes, but he had played only in Europe. Glenn Anderson had good numbers, but was one year out of college when he was signed. No one could have predicted that these guys would ALL go on to hall-of-fame careers.

  28. “Messier can claim 25 years of playing is enough, but I’d like to see him put in some years learning the modern GM job before he takes over the Blueshirts.”

    So 25 years of playing, 13 of which were as a captain, ISN’T enough?

    What’s funny about this is, the knock on Messier was that he always always TOO involved in things like trades, signings, hiring/firing of coaches, call-ups/send-downs, etc. Now he needs to be an apprentice? To Don Maloney? Do you think he’d get the unpaid internship to start?

  29. Brooks was right about Messier’s sense of entitlement I mean at 40 years old he demanded and was allowed to play 20 minutes a night to pass Gordie Howe in points, and it killed the team.

  30. Blueshirts: that’s an awfully exciting revelation about Messier you just discovered. I’m sure you have the evidence to back up that demand- can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

  31. “If Mess becomes GM, say goodbye to the “re-buildâ€?.”

    we already said goodbye long time ago.

  32. AZ : First of all..Immo played 6 games…had 4 points in his first 2…than disappeared…not all his fault…but part of it was. Now Dawes, He was sent down more becasue he isn’t a 3rd/4th line player at all…even Prucha brings that type of game if he needs to…Dawes didn’t at all. and finally Callahan, he wasn’t even scheduled to play, they wanted a look at him since they couldn’t get a proper look in camp because he was recovering form surgery…and I don’t remember to many people upset he was sent back down…in fact some were saying he should be down and someone else up…NOW however, the Rangers should move one or two players for picks if possible…and get Immo and Callahan in the lineup…at least give them a try with new line mates…but that’s not as easy as it seems I don’t think…at least this year…noone wants to seem to make to many trades…hopefully at the deadline or nearer to it there will be some more movement.

  33. DumpJagrDope: I want to know how you can sayt that and keep a straight face. Rebuild dose not mean rookies on the roster…rebuilds start in the system THAN work into the NHL lineup…or would you just skip the system all together?? I mean…don’t use New Jersey as an example because they use there AHL team to develop players…so do the Sabers…so there are two great teams who left their kids in the AHL until ready. Yes yes I know Callahan is probably ready for any line in the NHL, so now the trick is to make room, Dawes is ready for top 6, so that’s a real challenge to make room for him….Immo maybe should be up, but what if it IS his attitude and he doesn’t put 100% in all the time including practice…we don’t know that…but I would give him another shot. HOWEVER seeing as how this team is still a young team I cant see how the re-build is over…unless like I said, you want to skip the AHL…hell why not skip juniors…next years draft picks should be signed as soon as possible…forget developing them…they can learn on the job…why not it’s a rebuild….they need to be on the Rangers roster to prove it. Its people like you that PROVE what the Rangers people say, that the Rangers fans wont stand for a re-build.

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