This was supposed to be written Sunday, after the Rangers dreadful showing against the Flyers. I decided to hold off on that, when I wasn’t sure whether I was more bothered by the fact that the NBC commentators noticed how bad the Rangers were after watching just one game, or whether it was because everything they said was justified. I also wanted to wait a night and see whether the commentators on Versus would be able to pick up on anything. Turns out not only does nobody watch Hockey on Versus, but the Versus commentators showed that they themselves don’t really watch any hockey other then what’s on Versus.
I just watched the Rangers show off their dreadfulness, again. Many people in New York are now calling for Tom Renney’s head, citing that his team is playing unmotivated undisciplined hockey. The problem here is, Renney isn’t to blame. Yes right now he is not doing his job well, but this year he was put into a situation where it’s almost impossible for him to succeed. The problem falls onto the shoulders of perhaps one of the least competent people in all of New York, James Dolan. You may remember when Dolan took over control of his fathers entities which include Cablevision, the Knicks, and the Rangers. Now Cablevision is by far the worst TV distributor in the New York area, and is terribly run, he was a hands on owner with the Knicks and ran them down the drain, he ran a great talent evaluator in Dave Checketts out of Madison Square Garden and as bad as he is as a hands on owner of the Knicks he’s been awful as a hands off owner of the Rangers.
The Rangers biggest problem right now seems to be that Dolan has no idea what is going on with his team. If he did he would realize that its general manager Glen Sather that needs to go and not Tom Renney. Unfortunately for the Rangers Dolan probably has no idea about this and Renney is likely to be the one to go. Now I don’t agree with everything that Renney has done, in fact he’s butchered a few situations, namely Petr Prucha who never plays anymore, when he really should. But coaching aside Renney is in a position where he can’t win, and it’s his general manager that put him there.
Glen Sather has a history of terrible free-agent signings. Just look at the teams put together from when he first came to the Rangers until the year after the lockout. In fact you can argue that Sather shouldn’t even get credit for the post lockout years because for the first year the “new” NHL couldn’t stop Jaromir Jagr. All the trades he made in the rebuilding process before the lockout to get the Rangers their post lockout team, only Michael Rozsival, Blair Betts Henrik Lundqvist, and Petr Prucha, who rarely plays, are left on the team. Renney’s problem is that Sather has again crippled him with crazy contracts. Bringing in defenseman Wade Redden and re-signing Michael Rozsival is absolutely going to cripple the Rangers. The worst of these signings though is when Sather drove away Jagr, and then threw $8 million a year at Markus Naslund, who really looks like he doesn’t know how to play hockey. Renney has players on the team who will go all out for him, the only problem is those are the guys making no money, and there the ones he could bench if they don’t play well. However his hands are tied with guys like Naslund and Redden, two players making crazy amounts of money and absolutely killing the team.
Sather’s moves are not only hurting the Rangers this season but are locking them into a cap problem for the next few years as well. Meaning these guys are tied down to the team which will make it very hard for the Rangers to improve, let alone make any changes. Yes right now Tom Renney is not doing a good coaching job, but part of motivation also falls onto the players on the team. The Rangers have been crippled by a bad GM; they need a new one who will have the very tough task of trying to re-make this team despite the absurd unmovable contracts. The biggest problem, I highly doubt James Dolan knows that there’s a problem and that he needs to fire Sather, if he doesn’t, Sather will feel the pressure and unfairly fire Renney.