Will Sather Help The Future?

By Evan Andriopoulos
With the horrific season known as 1999-2000 over the Rangers ship had to be righted, not in order to sail in New York for OpSail 2000 but to save the club from prolonging the embarrassment that they had now become.

Glen Sather the builder of champions in Edmonton has landed in Manhattan and it could not have come at a better time. Sather the designer of the Oilers` dynasty in the 80`s that featured his drafting and nurturing of Wayne, Mark, Kevin, Charlie, Jarri, Paul, Glen and Grant among others (no last names needed)… has an even more daunting task. That being to rebuild the Ranger ship in as short as time as possible with the ever opinionated media on his back, the ownership that wishes to run the club “hands on” and the pressure from Gary Bettman and the NHL to build a new winner in New York…and not New Jersey or the Island. The Rangers have become the flagship team on the American Side of the National Hockey League.

For the Rangers kids, Sather`s entrenchment could not have come at a better time. Neil Smith restocked a few shelves with prospects… Mike York, Kim Johnsson, Radek Dvorak and Jan Hlavac at the NHL level… Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark at the development level and a couple Euro Prospects in Johan Holmqvist and again Rudolf Vercik, in addition with the Baby Rangers in Hartford (AHL) with Tomas Kloucek and Johan Witehall and then there is Manny Malhotra… perhaps Sather is his savior.

With the new optimism in New York with Sather`s arrival there is an immediate impact quick fix on the possible board of the Rangers… sign Mike Van Ryn a top NHL prospect that is available to all takers. However there is a more immediate problem in New York. A coach? Who? when? from where? Candidates are many…. but all eyes are turning toward ex-Rangers Kevin Lowe or Craig MacTavish… perhaps John Paddock… but this will happen around draft day. If not… Sather can more than handle the table duties at the 2000 draft… in fact unless a trade is made for a first rounder or player…anyone can handle this years Rangers draft with only a second rounder and a draft that is strong only in the top 10…

The new Rangers General Manager, a true hockey man, ex Ranger and Hall of Famer lists Emile Francis, the former builder of Rangers and Blues Contenders as well as our now departed Hartford Whalers, as one of his inspirations. But the Rangers are not a franchise run by hockey people. While the Hartford Wolf Pack were battling in game 5 in Hartford just down the road in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Dolans were entertaining the new GM for dinner. Everyone knows Sather would have loved to have been right at it in Hartford watching the baby Rangers prepare for a championship, but the Dolans think money is enough to win. Everyone else including the boys at the AHL level that they already made 61 million mistakes last season. The best move is Sather in Hartford with Donnie Maloney watching the kids battle, deciding who are ready for the next level.