Tuesday, May 21, 2019

N.Y. Rangers: John Davidson Back Where He Belongs



New York Rangers: A Marriage Made in Blue Shirt Heaven

I like many fans found myself in a better place when after nearly two full decades of putting up with Glen Sather's crap he finally stepped down as general manager of the Rangers.  I was similarly pleased with the appointment of Jeff Gorton as his successor.  Even better was when both he and Sather together announced the club would be initiating a rebuild.

I've always believed Jeff Gorton to be his own man.  His resume previous to his employment with the Rangers stands on its own.  He partly helped build the Bruins into the team we know today.  As a member of Boston's front office for most of the 1990's and midway through the 2000's he gained practical experience in team building as assistant general manager.  As we've seen throughout these playoffs, Boston is still in the midst of an extended and very successful run.  I care not why Boston let him go, but felt all along the Rangers were fortunate to secure him when they did.  However, for as long as Sather remained every one's superior I remained forever leery of his existence influence over and above Jeff Gorton and his assumed autonomy moving forward.

Due to recent developments, I'm happy to announce that I no longer harbor suspicions regarding Glen Sather's role with the Rangers - not with John Davidson in the house.  J.D. is not coming back to the Garden if it means having Glen Sather looking over his shoulder, or worse, meddling.  Davidson  possesses a far stronger backbone than that.  He was his own man at St. Louis, and his own man at Columbus, and will continue being his own man as the Rangers lead man in charge.

Davidson also arrives at a rather opportune time.  Gorton has assembled a small army of prospects whom still require extensive evaluation.  He's also inheriting significant salary cap maneuverability, and is extremely well positioned heading into the June entry draft.

I'm copacetic with all of it.

All these decades later, watching a young goalie named John Davidson celebrating with his Rangers team mates after helping defeat the Islanders in the 1979 conference finals still feels like yesterday to me.  As an impressionable 11-year old at the time the memory of that game and that night remain  vivid as ever.  As a broadcaster, his game calls and analysis were brilliant, while his "Oh, Baby!" became the catchphrase for the next generation of fans.  Then he left to run hockey clubs.  Throughout his time as an executive with the St. Louis Blues then with the Columbus Blue Jackets I longed for him to be the Rangers chief executive.

Now we got him.

I couldn't be happier.

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