Back from my sojourn to the Island, where the roads are turning treacherous, and where two hours worth of sports radio reminded me why I’m glad I don’t cover baseball.
Some quick thoughts:
Of course, this is all standard fare for Gretzky when he’s on the road since he remains hockey’s resident icon. As the Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio said, “He’s mobbed everywhere except Phoenix.”
Naturally, one conversation piece was why Maloney left in the first place since many assumed he was the heir apparent to Glen Sather. Maloney thought that as well, saying he figured he would have a good chance to be the team’s GM whenever Sather stepped down (“whether it was three years, five years, 10 years,” Maloney said). And while the theory goes that Maloney started looking once it became clear Sather wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Maloney said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“It just seemed like time,” he said. “I thought in my own mind midway through last year, I sort of said, ‘I’m going to start looking the next time a job opens up just to go through the process.’….(Glen) was great for me. Working with Glen, a lot of his philosophies, I know a lot of people might think one thing from the other, but he’s one of those guys that the more you’re around him, the more you like him and appreciate him and respect his intelligence and philosophies about the game — even though there are some other quirks about it, too.”
Maloney actually said working with Sather was instrumental in helping him get the Coyotes job, and that’s because many will tell you that Maloney was a driving force behind the Rangers post-lockout resurgence. Much of that has to do with Maloney’s work behind the Great Purge of 2004, and also in accumulating the young talent that we’re seeing on the ice today — from Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, to Henrik Lundqvist and Petr Prucha.
Another one of those players is Al Montoya, and it seems ever since Maloney set foot in Phoenix, people have expected him to go after the former No. 1 draft pick. Granted, Maloney wasn’t about to tell me who he was targeting and who he wasn’t. But what he did say was the Rangers might not be as quick to shop Montoya around as we’ve all come to believe.
The reasons, as Maloney said, are many: one, you never know if Henrik Lundqvist gets hurt and Montoya is needed right away; two, Montoya is still young and the Rangers might want to see more of his development before deciding where he fits in; and three, backup Stephen Valiquette is in the last year of his contract, and the Rangers might well need Montoya around.
That last part makes the most sense, and it lends credence to the theory that the Rangers might first want to see how their goaltending prospects pan out — this year’s second round draft pick, Antoine LaFleur, for instance — before making a decision about Montoya.
Anyway, something to chew on while waiting out the storm.
OK, that’s all for now. More in a bit…