The Rangers have fired President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton. Updates are below.
5:30PM: The Rangers have finally confirmed that JD and Gorton are “leaving the organization” and that Drury has been promoted to President and GM.
5PM: Larry Brooks writes that Davidson was asked to fire Jeff Gorton and refused. (NY Post)
4:48PM: Darren Dreger said on TSN 1050 “Dolan was letting management know as early as this past weekend that he wasn’t happy with the season, that in his estimation the Rangers underachieved.”
4:02PM: Mark Messier was on The Michael Kay Show and was asked about re-joining the Rangers and said “I’ve made it very clear that I’m standing by and ready to help out in any way, for many years. Other than that I really don’t know what else to say.”
- 5:18PM: In a follow up, Messier told Michael Kay that he doesn’t want to coach.
4:01PM: Elliotte Friedman said on The NHL Network, “The news was starting to seep out an hour before it got out and I was kind of scared to tweet it because it’s one of those things that is so unbelievable and you are sitting there and you know it’s 99%, but until you get that final note, ‘you are like, I could be wrong because this sounds so crazy.’ (Read the rest below)
3:12PM: Chris Drury will reportedly replace both Davidson and Gorton and be the President and GM of the Rangers.
Chris Drury will remain with the Rangers in a “prominent role.” (Brooks)
Reports from Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman indicate that the firing is “coincidental” as it pertains to yesterday’s statement on Tom Wilson and that James Dolan believed that the Rangers underachieved this season.
Friedman says that yesterday’s statement about Tom Wilson was “driven” by James Dolan and that Davidson and Gorton didn’t have anything to do with it.
Larry Brooks wrote in the NY Post that.
- Dolan believes it’s time for the Rangers to “take the next step” while Davidson and Gorton continued to preach patience and a “longer-view.”
- The “collection of skill players at the expense of will players did not sit well with Dolan.”
- The two losses to the Islanders highlighted the Rangers deficiencies in “grit and leadership” and may have prompted the decision to fire Davidson and Gorton.
- Chris Drury is a leading candidate to be GM and Mark Messier is expected to be “at the top of the wish list” to be the next President.
Frank Seravalli tweeted that Davidson and Gorton were trying to distance themselves from the statement last night.
4:01PM: Elliotte Friedman said on The NHL Network, “The news was starting to seep out an hour before it got out and I was kind of scared to tweet it because it’s one of those things that is so unbelievable and you are sitting there and you know it’s 99%, but until you get that final note, ‘you are like, I could be wrong because this sounds so crazy.’ I know a lot of us are wondering if this is tied into the events of Tom Wilson and the statement the Rangers made last night, but I don’t believe the statement has anything to do with this, I don’t believe John Davidson and Jeff Gorton had anything to do with the statement, it purely came from the owner James Dolan, but I do think that while he was upset about what happened in that game, he felt that his team wasn’t far enough. It seems crazy to me because they did their rebuild two years ago and they are a much improved team and heading in the right direction. I think he felt he wasn’t happy with where the team was, I think he was a little embarrassed by how the team was pushed around and those kinds of things contributed to him making the change last night and this morning.”
Friedman continued, “Generally, James Dolan’s history is to really micromanage the Knicks and leave the Rangers alone, but if you follow his stewardship of the New York Knicks, you know what his ownership can be like. That is exactly what happened here. I think it’s a bit hasty and reactionary. The Rangers declared rock bottom two-years ago and I know they aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, but I think they are really improved and heading in the right direction, but not soon enough for the owner.”
4:29PM: Messier was asked on The Michael Kay show if he could be an NHL coach with any experience and said, “1,000%. Hockey is what I do, it’s what I’ve known my whole life. You are either a hockey person or not, there is no one person that is perfect for any job whether you are coach or manager, you need people in support around you to help you in areas you are deficient in…..When it comes to hockey, hockey is in my DNA, it’s what I know, it’s what I do best and I’d have no problem doing any one of these positions at the NHL level.”
2:48PM: Adam Rotter: This is shocking and the first time that James Dolan has stepped in with the Rangers like he has many times over the years with the Knicks. This move puts everything the Rangers have been building and built towards since the 2018 Letter in jeopardy and makes the Rangers an extreme wild card in every way, shape and form moving forward.
This reminds me of what the Flyers did with Ron Hextall a couple of years ago. Hextall was preaching patience as he was building the Flyers and was then fired when the people above him wanted things to speed up.
It’s just shocking and, to me, the wrong thing thing. The Rangers had an outstanding infrastructure with JD at the top and Gorton as GM, but now things are completely in flux. There is no doubt that this team is flawed and parts of it needed to be changed, but they weren’t supposed to contend this year. They need more grit, they need more straight-ahead players to complement the skill they have, but they are still building things.
What does this mean for David Quinn? That is tough to say. Chris Drury was a huge part of the Rangers convincing Quinn to leave BU and the two have a relationship going back to, at least, when Drury was a player at BU in the mid-90s. It’s also hard to know if Drury has the true authority to hire/fire a coach or if that decision lies with Dolan. The thing that is hard to comprehend is that when a team underachieves, if that is what Dolan believes, you fire the coach, not the managers. Maybe Dolan believes Quinn is the right guy and will be better with the north/south players he often says they don’t have or have enough of. Maybe not, but why fire JD and Gorton and not Quinn if you want to make changes?
On the whole, it’s just surprising and really makes what was a pretty clear future, very cloudy.