Chris Drury Jeff Gorton John Davidson Fired

Chris Drury will be President and GM of the Rangers

5:32PM: The Rangers have confirmed that Drury has been promoted to President and GM and that Glen Sather will assist during the transition.

4:48 PM: Darren Dreger said on TSN 1050 that Drury will be President and GM on a permanent basis.

4:13PM: Elliotte Friedman said on the NHL Network, “Chris Drury will be the President and GM of the Rangers. I’m not 100% sure on the President title and what the exact wording is, but he will be the GM of the Rangers. He’s had numerous opportunities to go elsewhere, Minnesota wanted to talk to him, Buffalo, NJ and he always said no and I think that in the long-term he wanted to eventually be the GM and the Rangers and he will be. I’m sure they will add some staff around him at some point in time, but he’s going to be the President and GM of the team.”

2020-21 Rangers Jeff Gorton John Davidson Fired John Davidson

The Rangers have FIRED John Davidson and Jeff Gorton (Updating)

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.
2020 Rangers Offseason Henrik Lundqvist John Davidson Marc Staal

What John Davidson said on MSG about Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal

Rangers President John Davidson was on MSG and said:

  • On the Henrik Lundqvist decision, “Both players, when you think about Marc Staal and Henrik, we were sitting and talking about it as, combined, almost 30-years of service for the Rangers and both of them playing with a great deal of compassion, competitiveness, won a Presidents Trophy, have gotten to a Stanley Cup Final. These are the type of things you really have to weigh when you make these decisions, these are the hardest to make. You have to sit here and look at it and say, “we’ve gotta do what we have to do, the cap is different, it’s going to be flat for three-years, there are young people going through this build and everything adds up. All in all, it’s about what they did for the Rangers. They will always be Rangers, great Rangers. With Hank, when you are called the “King,” you are called that for a reason. We have good relationships with both players, we will continue that way and anything they need, we are there for them and we just have to keep moving, going north.”
  • On having a personal relationship with Hank, “the first time I ever saw Henrik Lundqvist play, it was at the training center, in training center, his first day. The media have a certain area at ice level, 30 feet from where Henrik is in goal, and I said to myself ‘this guy is good, this guy is really good.’ You could see it in the first five minutes and then he went onto an incredible career with the Rangers. When it’s goalie-goalie you talk a little about things here and there and when it gets down to these types of decisions, I really like that Hank asked me to go have a discussion with him, and we did. It was very honest with both people involved about thoughts and ideas and future and the one thing I really respected about what Hank said was ‘wherever this goes, I just want to make sure, whatever my decision is, that I don’t have any regrets. That is a great way of looking at things. With us, we have to make these hard decisions, it’s part of the business. I’ve thought about athletes in New York, Tom Seaver went on and left, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, a lot of great athletes in this City, some of them went on and played, Eli Manning didn’t play for another organization, some did. The player had to make that determination in his own heart and feelings and I know Henrik is going to really weigh things as he moves forward.”
  • Did you seek out any advice on what to do, “When you go through these decisions you try and weigh every single option that is available to us. You work with Hank, Hank works with his family, Hank has his agency that he works with and he believes in their help. Everyone gets together and makes this decision. We have Chris Drury here, Jeff Gorton here, the coaching staff, the owner, Jim Dolan, he has immense respect for Hank. All these things have to weigh and a lot of times you get a ledger sheet and go through pros and cons and just try to weigh them and make these tough decisions and hopefully they are right ones. All I know is, this organization and Hank, the marriage is still going. It’s an incredible marriage and when you think Rangers, you think NYC and what Hank has been able to do in NYC and the NY area, helping people, making life better for a lot of different people. That is something that will continue. The hockey part of it is changed right now but I think the big picture is what you try to look at. I have immense, really immense respect for what Hank has been able to do. He’s been skating here at the training center and taking shots with a lot of our young and older players who want to work on their conditioning and do things. Hank can come up any time he wants to the training center and work out, take shots. It’s still a good marriage.”
  • On what stands out about Marc Staal, “Whenever you talk about Marc Staal, the word that comes up with a lot of different people is ‘warrior.” He was a warrior, a lot of fans, I don’t think realize, when you play the way he did all those years, you play banged up and hurt and nicked up and bruised and some injuries that are tough. He toughed his way through all of those. He also, over this last year I got to know him a little better and what he meant to the franchise. There is leadership value there too and that is something he will always have as part of his resume, wherever he plays hockey or whatever he’s doing. He’s a good man, plays the right way, cares about people and he has that ability to be a voice.”
2020 Draft Henrik Lundqvist John Davidson

What John Davidson said on Tuesday about #1, the Carolina series and Henrik Lundqvist

7:30PM: On MSG, John Davidson said:

  • Is Lafreniere a lock or will you listen to offers, “We just got it yesterday and as Jeff Gorton said, we’ve done a multitude of zooms with kids eligible for the draft, he’s an exceptional hockey player, for a young man he has exceptional leadership value. There is a package there that is pretty complete but it’s our job to look through the whole thing, to keep this in-house and I woke up at 4 this morning thinking about how great it’s going to be to walk out on the stage an announce the number one pick, then….there’s no stage. We will figure this whole thing out, I’m not going to tip the hand now but I can tell you this much, this young man is a future star.”
  • What is your perspective on all of it, “I think it’s going to be great for hockey. New York is an important franchise in the NHL and if we continue doing this right and not get ahead of ourselves, we will be fine down the road. I know how important this is, not only on the ice but it gives everyone a chance to feel good about going to work to sell tickets, the fans to know that they will be able to see a future star grow right before their eyes, this is a young person and the fans will be able to say ‘I remember when he first started and was 19-years old and look at him now.’ This, for me, touches all the boxes you need for a franchise going forward. On top of that, with us, it really helps us with the build process we are in the middle of but we also know that this is still going to take some time to get into place. There is going to be players on this team that are going to be a huge part down the road that aren’t here yet. That is what we go through and for the fans, at least in my mind, to see these young guys come in and grow, it is astonishing, this is a very valuable thing for us, it’s an exciting thing for us. I didn’t know quite how to react to it because it’s a big deal, today we are walking around with smiles on our faces but we also know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
  • What do you want to hear from Lafreniere when you talk to him, “I think that if he becomes number one we are still going to go through all of our processes to understand. We’ve all seen him play a lot, I’ve never seen him live, but I’ve seen him on tape, what he did at the World Juniors and how he took that over. It’s all good, just want to understand the young man and get to know him. I heard last night that he does love the fact that he’s going to be going to NY. Number 11 is on his jersey and number 11 used to play here in NY, his name is Mark Messier, and I think there is an affinity from Alexis to Mark Messier, watching him play when he was growing up. That is a pretty good leader to try to learn from when you are growing up, to see how Mark carried himself as a Ranger and how he willed his way into being a star with the Rangers. There are a lot of good things in place. Again, we aren’t going to say we are drafting Alexis, we are going to do work on it. This young man is a star player.”
  • On character and how Columbus advanced to the playoffs, “A lot of that has to do with experience, the key players on that team, even though a couple of young ones popped again like Texier and Foudy, but Werenski and Jones and Boone Jenner and Foligno, they’ve been through it a little bit now, they beat Tampa last year and lost to Boston in a tough series. The year before they lost to Washington in six games, when the Blue Jackets hit six goal posts in that game, it was weird but that experience factor means something. Now for us, we didn’t play real well at all in Toronto but we had a lot of players that went through something, so Howden played well, Kakko played well, some of the young players got their eyes open to how hard it is to play in a playoff-type atmosphere. There was some experience that were good for us. I know that in our training camp prior to going to Toronto, K’Andre Miller was outstanding, I mean outstanding and that for me was really something special. Yea, there was negatives, we lost three, had four guys not available, two minutes into game one, to be at their best. DeAngelo had a hamstring, Shesterkin was out with a groin, Jesper Fast get nailed early and put out of the tournament and Lemieux, who played very well in game three, wasn’t available. There was things there and with reality involved, we didn’t have enough players play well, but we did get something out of it and that is the way I like to balance it. When we go north you have to get something good out of these situations. It wasn’t good when we went 0-3 and first team out, but when you really define what went on and the positives of some of the players and experience level, it did have some benefits.”
  • Where is your focus with Henrik Lundqvist, “we are talking, for sure. Hank has gone home, we will be in touch with Hank and his camp in the not too distant future. I have a lot of respect for Hank, I had a real good chat with him once we landed back from Toronto. He’s a pro, a real healthy discussion. We will see where it goes as we move along. Our process right now is going through exit meetings with Quinny and Gorts, in fact, they are in another room talking as we speak, and that is how you start your business with end of season stuff. We will go through every aspect of it, be prepared for the draft, it’s only #1 but we have another pick and there is more work down the road with everybody. It’s a situation here where it’s business as usual, unusual that we get number one but usual with everything that is ahead of us in times that aren’t very normal. The number one pick really stimulates you, it opens up options for a number of different things. We have to analyze all this stuff, deal with a cap that isn’t going to change from a year ago. These are interesting times, they aren’t normal. I think the Rangers are in a real good spot as we continue to build to a championship we are trying to win.”

4:41PM: John Davidson was a guest on The Michael Kay Show today and said (ESPN 98.7):

  •  What was your reaction to #1, “I was sitting in my media room in my home and went to my good luck chair, when the balls were in the air I couldn’t watch. I covered my eyes, looked away, didn’t know until my wife started screaming that the Rangers got the pick. I was able to look and for one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I just know how to react other than that something like this is a very special moment in our history and we got lucky and now we have to take advantage and make the best of it.”
  • On the guy who dropped the Ranger ping pong ball, “We both said good omen. When you get into a situation like this, there is nothing normal about anything going on, it’s just crazy, so you expect the unexpected. I was looking up in the sky asking for a couple of favors from my parents who are up there This is stuff you hope happens to you, get lucky, doesn’t happen very often in life, and bang, there we are. When I was in St. Louis the lowest pick we had was 4 and it was Alex Pietrangelo and he has become a great player. In Columbus it was 3 and it was Pierre-Luc Dubois who is having a real good run right now and he’s starting to really pop and bloom. You just know the type of impact these players can have. A special time for Ranger fans and hockey in NY.”
  • Are you definitely making the pick or would you trade it, “I would think, when you look at something like this, you make the pick but you can’t sit here today and say this is what we are doing and who we are taking and that is that. You can’t do that, you never know what happens down the road. There is no real rush. We will have a zoom call coming up with Lafraniere. We’ve zoomed all the top players that are going to be in the draft but we didn’t do him because it was unrealistic that we were going to get him. Now there is realistic thinking to it, we will go through the whole process. I know he was a Ranger fan. When he was younger, he wears 11 for a reason. That is Mark Messier. He’s a young man that has terrific leadership skills, plays the game the right way. It could be him, it could not. It’s up in the air bu things are looking pretty good.”
  • Who does he compare to, “that is a real good question. It’s hard to answer, I know that in talking to our scouts and reading the reports, I’ve never seen him live. I’ve seen him play on tape, plenty. I’ve seen him play in the World Juniors where, for an 18-year old, he was out of this world in a very difficult tournament for a player that young. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s fast enough, skills, passing skills, great hockey sense. A shot that is exceptional, he drags players into the game, he’s one of those guys. When the game gets going and game gets tougher he brings his teammates right into the game. Those are the players you like to see. I’ve been getting a lot of texts from people in the league, from different organizations. Guys out west who are chief scouts saying how good he is going to be, if it’s him and glad that if we take him he’s going to be in the east and not the west. Considering that we went 0-3 in our play up in Toronto, this has been some week, from down to up and unexpected in some ways but gratifying.”
  • Would you have rather made the playoffs and lost or the way it happened, “the way it happened is the way it happened. We knew going in that the unknown was there, what to expect, can you find the mojo that you had when we had the pause hit us and then when you try to analyze…. I’m one of those guys, year we disappointed and 0-3, but what good happened. Howden and Kakko were terrific, people may not understand but we had K’Andre Miller, the big young defenseman from Wisconsin come to our training camp, he wasn’t eligible to play in Toronto but he made us walk out of there with a smile. A big man who can really skate. The first day of the camp he was really nervous, almost that if you were taking a pass you needed a lacrosse stick to catch the puck in the air. After that first day he settled right in and he was terrific, we got that out of it. Even though the big picture was not good, when you go 0-3 and are the first team out, but whatever happens happens, here we are a few days later and boom. Just a gigantic surprise, a special shoutout to Officer McDonald, his family, for letting us use his police shield. that was awesome. It sat on my desk most of the day yesterday and Jeff Gorton took it into the room when the process was happening and for that to happen it was special.
  • On the loss to Carolina, “the injury to Shesterkin and Hank played pretty good, but the injury to Shesterkin, he had a groin injury and couldn’t play in the first two. Fast gets nailed early and he’s out of the tournament within a couple of minutes. Lemieux was suspended, lesson learned, when he played in game three he played very well. DeAngelo had a hamstring injury and couldn’t play near what he was able to play. You start adding this up, it tells you a) we didn’t have the depth that a really good team would have, but we are building that, it’s part of what we are going through. You know that as you try to get better and climb up that mountain, depth means a lot when you get into games like this. That told us something. Also, we’ve had some zoom calls with players and one thing they’ve talked a lot about, they felt better in game three than the first two game. We have to figure out why, what was it that could have been done differently to make them feel better starting in Game 1. One thing is experience. When the puck was dropped, Carolina was hungry and ready to go. Remember, they had 14 players on that team that had been in the final four, last year. They were experienced more than we were, we had a number of players it was there first playoff-like experience. I get that out of it too,  when we get into it next year and we get into a playoff run or into the playoffs, if it happens, we will have a lot more experience of what to expect as a team. The only way to get that is to go through it. Hopefully we can build on too.”
  • Does the rebuild accelerate now, “you always try to make moves that will help you win long term. You don’t want to make moves that will make you better for this one season and then you’ve given up something to do that and then it disappears. We as management totally understand that this number one pick is a big boon, it’s unbelievable for us but we are still in this process and only a couple of years into it. I know that you take step forwards and then you step into a pot hole, it’s just what happens, and then you need to get out of the pot hole and keep going, keep driving north. I used to say in Columbus that you build one brick at a time but we got an unbelievable brick yesterday, as we try to build this franchise. But I know, with myself in charge, our decisions will be made on trying to win a championship and it’s a long-term decision as opposed to ‘let’s just be competitive and see what happens. It takes a certain amount of patience and time. When we win, when we get to it, there are players on our team who aren’t even here yet, maybe they’ve been drafted but we have to go through that getting these players ready to go. That is what it is and that is what it’s going to be. Some people might get impatient, but I am not. Good things are ahead of us.”
  • On Henrik Lundqvist’s future, “I had a good chat with him when we got off the plane out of Toronto. It was a discussion we had, we will continue the dialogue. He’s gone home, back to Sweden. His representative Donnie Meehan is a good man. We will talk and see where we go. We made it clear that we aren’t carrying three goalies next year. We gotta figure out what we are going to do, figure it out with all of our goalies, keep the communication open. Just started getting into the process now so this will take some time and we will be respectful of everyone.”
  • How much does heart play into it or is it just business, “Whenever you make decisions you can make decisions the right way. The one thing, we have two very young goalies and one goalie that is a future Hall of Famer. You have to have reality, honesty, compassion, do things the right way and we will get to it and get to it the right way. Regarding all of our guys, we have as management…..I had to retire at 27 because my body decided it was time. Father time or injuries or whatever it is catch up to people along the way. Is Hank’s time now, is it not, we have to get to that point and discuss it and figure it out the right way and do things that are appropriate and right for the players involved and also the franchise itself. It’s a balancing act but we will make sure that whatever happens we will do it the right way.”
  • Have decisions been made or is it still a fluid situation, “it’s still a discussion. Ongoing, we will have discussion down the road, probably sooner than later, and discuss all options. Hank is a player, he’s been a healthy player his whole career, which is a good thing. We will discuss and see what his thoughts are and try to make some decisions as it becomes very clear for us.”
John Davidson

What John Davidson said on ESPN Radio

Rangers President John Davidson was a guest on ESPN NY’s Bart and Hahn radio show and said:

  • On how the players will handle things in the bubble, “I couldn’t tell you how proud I am of the way our group has reacted just in case we were going to play, now we know we are going to play, how we’ve continued to go through the testing process, proven negative, everyone taking it very seriously. This is a good group, you try to monitor the group itself and who are the leaders, players who may be troublemakers or guys not in shape. We’ve got an A+ group here, I’m very proud of these guys. I think once we get there it will be a new world inside the bubble but the guys are very serious about this, a chance to play and get into the playoffs, we are excited as a group and very professional.
  • On the goaltending, “I like our group, all three have had a good camp. Coaches will have to make a serious decision regarding who will start game one. Shesterkin has had the net lately more so than the other two, communication is right on the top, everyone understands where we are, short series best-of-five, that thing can change so fast, you have to be ready. All three have worked their tails off and had exceptional camps and ready to go. If Shesterkin does play it will be a new experience for him. I look at Kakko and the way he came back from Finland, he looks like he aged 1-2 years, more mature looking, quicker stride, much more confidence than what he had before the pause started. We look for things like that. Once we get playing, the value of playing in something like this for young players can’t be duplicated anywhere. I’m thankful we have this opportunity to play Carolina, if we win we go into the playoffs. The experience factor, you can’t pay for it, it’s invaluable, that is a real good sign for us.
  • On Kakko and Shesterkin still being rookies but being more comfortable after the pause, “I think that if this was a regular season and we finished up and the players have their four months, it’s astonishing, when you see young players and what they can do with their bodies in the four months before the next season. A lot of times they look like different people. It’s a different situation but same amount of time and looking at them, they look different, it’s not a new experience for them. Not eye-opening that they are in this camp. Once the real games start we will see where it goes. This is going to be interesting, I don’t know if we will see 2-2 games that go to OT, 9-1 games. It’s so new and never been done but fascinating and exciting. Our group is really excited about this, a lot of energy from our head coach, Quinny has done a great job, these coaches have worked for weeks.”
  • On Panarin and NY, “he’s tough as nails mentally. He’s the nicest guy, has a smile all day long, will do anything you ask him to do. When it comes to mental toughness…he’s tough and competitive. If there was one guy out there, in our world of hockey, who can handle New York, and what it brings, it was him. He’s as tough as they come. Nothing bugs him, he says what is on his mind if he wants to and plays the game the right way every single night, teammates love the guy and fans, when you watch him play, there is a sparkle to him, a grin on his face. He looks like a guy that was almost born to play hockey for the New York Rangers.”
  • On Mika Zibanejad not being nominated for awards, “he will be in the future, he’s a very caring individual who has really worked with his craft, has a great relationship with the coaching staff, especially Quinny. He’s not a one dimensional player by any means, he’s good defensively because of how he works. He’s extremely fast for a big man. he’s got passing skills that are elite, a scoring touch that is super elite and when you start adding all this stuff up, along with how much he has worked to get himself to be a specimen physically, it’s helped everything translate into what could be greatness. He’s really found a home in New York. He’s a player, very much like Panarin, these two guys can score and make their temamates around them a whole lot better, make the PP gel. We are in a good spot when you have two A+ forwards on your squad at one time. That doens’t happen” very often and they are just getting into their prime.”
  • On David Quinn and Jeff Gorton and leadership and culture, “If you don’t have culture, I don’t think you have anything, I just don’t think it works. The players should run their own room, when I was in Columbus and we brought in John Tortorella, that was one thing he really worked with the players on. We were very young, had to find the right people and leadership and eventually the room became the players room. I’d through Chris Drury into the mix regarding the management end of things, with Jeff Gorton. They work really well together. Chris is a former player and a great player who has won all sorts of championships, he knows how to go about business and a large part of the development of the organization. There is really good chemistry, which I had to assess when I got here, and I really like it, I really like it. Every aspect of the group, coaches, management, training staff or the players and this is a tight group, it’s really good. It will change as you move along, players come and go and retire but if you have the culture cemented then you hand it off and keep going. That is what we are striving to do. I don’t think, I can sit here right now and say we are a championship team, we are working towards it and we’ve got to prove things but we really have some good pieces in place with this group to move forward.”
  • On the Rangers chances, “we are confident, really confident. A lot of times, coaches and players think about today and that is natural, management think about a bigger picture because that is their job. I know that before the pause we were playing very well, especially on the road, really good on the road. With that feeling of knowing that we are a good hockey club, can we become a great club, we will see but I know we have a lot more confidence today going into this thing than we had at the start of last season where there were a lot of unknowns. There wasn’t an Adam Fox or Ryan Lindgren on the blue line, we didn’t know how they were going to play or make the team. We didn’t know about Shesterkin, we knew Lundqvist and Georgiev and then you have players like Panarin pop in and he taeks off, Zibanejad was having the best year of his career. Jesper Fast is so valuable because of his ability to make everything work defensively, Ryan Strome we didn’t know if he would click with Panarin, but the coaching staff went through with it and boy, oh, boy it worked well. Kreider works will with ZIbanejad. Those were all question marks coming into the season and we’ve answered a lot of those, that makes us feel we are a pretty good hockey club. I think we are in a good spot. Carolina is good, they are fast, shoot from everywhere, experience being in the playoffs lately. It’s going to be a good experience for us.”
John Davidson

How John Davidson is going to run the Rangers

John Davidson noted last week that he isn’t coming to the Rangers with a “hand grenade” and looking to blow things up.

Davidson said that Jim Dolan gave him permission to “do what I want to do” but noted that he thinks the culture is “going in the right direction” under Jeff Gorton and David Quinn.

He said that he hopes his relationship with Jeff Gorton is like being “married at the hip” and that he wants everybody working together on the same page. (The Athletic)

JD said that he wants each person to do their job and that he will try to help in all areas of the organization.

He added, “I think I can help in a lot of different ways because of what I have gone through, even as a player and broadcaster and knowing and having connections over the world in our game. I can call people and give that info to our GM, etc. I don’t want to sit in a rocking chair, I want to be hands on and work.”

With Jeff Gorton, JD told The Athletic  “I’m not going to sit here and say he’s going to have every call on every thing, but what happens is the general manager, that’s his job. If he wants my advice or if I can steer him, I’ll be happy to help. Happy to help. But he’s got his seat on the bus and he’s got to do his job.”

JD said that he has a relationship with Gorton from seeing him at tournaments and hockey events and said “he was always there and I also know that he made some pretty prominent moves with Boston before he got to the Rangers, I respect what he has done.”

In his time with Columbus:

  • Davidson was hired in October of 2012 and inherited Scott Howson as GM. Howson was then fired by JD in February 2013 and replaced by Jarmo Kekalainen. Kekalainen has remained GM of Columbus since.
  • Davidson inherited Todd Richards as head coach and Richards remained as head coach until October 2015 when he was fired and replaced by John Tortorella. Tortorella has remained coach since.

On Sirius XM, JD said on Thursday, “it’s my job to deal with what is going to happen here. The intentions are to build a franchise with a strong foundation and it takes proper time. I can’t sit here and say it’s going to take 1-2-3 years. Free agent world, as we all know, is not too far down the road but we have to make sure that signings make sense. No sense in signing a guy to a 7-year contract if it doesn’t fit to what you need down the road. If it fits then you do it the right way. There will be ups and downs but it’s going to be fun. Young people, if they are quality players, will get better right before our eyes and when the day comes you are going to wake up and say that you have a good hockey team. When you build a house it takes time to build a house, it’s just what it is but when it’s done it’s sure nice to move into it.”