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James Dolan, Your Hockey Team Needs You!

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The Rangers and their fans, suffering under the delusion that they were executing a reasonably successful rebuild effort, have been correctly disabused of that notion by their wise owner. Now, Mr. Dolan, it is time for you to grab hold of the reins and steer this franchise to the promised land.

The Madison Square Garden Company Announcement Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Mr. Dolan:

I write you as a fan of the great sport of hockey and a follower of the NHL, the worlds foremost professional hockey league. My message is simple: it is high time for you to wrest control of your hockey team away from your foolish underlings.

For too long, the NHL’s prestigious Original Six franchise located in the heart of the largest, most famous city in the United States has languished without guidance from their wise, benevolent owner. One of the NHL’s oldest franchises and proud owners of a nonzero number of championships over the past eighty years, the team that takes the ice at Madison Square Garden is known far and wide: The New York Rangers! The Broadway Blueshirts! Inventors of diagonal letters on hockey jerseys and intermittent captors of the hearts and minds of New Yorkers for an occasional few weeks in the spring! This is a franchise that demands the highest standards and those standards cannot be achieved without you.

The Rangers need the type of stewardship that helped the New York Knicks become the model organization that they have been over the past two decades. For too long, the Knicks have gotten all of the attention of their owner, a man who bootstrapped himself up from humble beginnings of being the son of a cable company magnate to now control multiple sports teams spun off from the holdings of that cable company. Under your watchful eye, the Knicks have had towering success, making the playoffs more times (4) than they have finished last in the NBA’s Eastern Conference (3) in the past 19 seasons, and even winning a playoff round once. Few men in history can boast the savvy and wits of James Dolan, and it is time that you spread the wealth to your long-neglected hockey franchise, which has had a shameful run of general competence over the past ten to fifteen years. The Rangers need you to shred their foolish rebuilding plans like you shred on your guitar during one of JD & the Straight Shot’s iconic sets.

Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan (left) plays guitar
You know how to sing the blues, James, but with your leadership the Rangers will be doing no such thing.
Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The Rangers, led by now-thankfully-former GM Jeff Gorton, recognized that they were likely at the end of their window in 2018 and aggressively tore down their roster to stockpile assets. Gorton’s Rangers, with the help of some lottery luck, amassed a deep group of picks and prospects to build around and supplemented with free agents to try to build back into a competitive team. After three long years of steady improvement, though, they clearly failed and, as evidenced by the deeply reported and thoroughly unbiased work here at All About the Jersey, they are a franchise that sucks and is terrible at rebuilding. Now is the time for you to step in and end these silly notions of having a “talented” roster and find some guys who know how to win knife fights in alleys or whatever.

You took a powerful first step this week by showing your bumbling GM and team president John Davidson the door, but I urge you not to stop there. A renaissance man like you cannot be happy to just install Chris Drury with a lackey like Glen Sather looking over his shoulder. You must micromanage and you must demand that people who say the kinds of things you are interested in hearing get promoted to the top. After all, you are the smartest man in the room, so if somebody is saying something you want to hear, that is likely the correct position.

Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI - BGC Office – Inside
Canucks legend, crying aficionado, and aspiring sycophant Mark Messier must be a major part of this organization.
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

You also took a great stride by having your social media team put out a hastily-written and slightly-unhinged statement calling for the firing of league employees that got your team fined $250K. Small price to pay to make the clear statement: “James is back in town, and he’s paying attention to his hockey team, baby.” Now it’s time for you to capitalize on that message: trade a pillow-soft player like Mika Zibanejad for noted tall person Tyler Myers; give matching 6-year, $40M deals to gritsters Nick Foligno and Erik Gudbranson; call Calgary and see what it will take to secure the services of Milan Lucic. This team, which failed to perform a ritual execution of Tom Wilson after he injured Artemi Panarin, cannot hope to compete if they do not have a team filled with large guys who take a lot of penalties.

As any smart team-builder like yourself knows, it’s not enough to have a roster full of good players. You also need some bad players who can punch Tom Wilson once a year when he gets out of line. You must execute the plan James. Remember, if everyone in the hockey world is saying “What the hell is James Dolan thinking?” that just means they are jealous they did not think of your idea first. It’s time to put your stamp on your hockey team. Keep cleaning house in your staff and bring in certified Dolan Guys. Maybe see what Isiah Thomas is up to and what he thinks about hockey team-building strategy. Make players ritually burn an effigy of Charles Oakley before each game. Go nuts, is what I’m saying. There is nowhere to go but up for the Rangers franchise and you are the man to take them to the top.

Sincerely,

Someone with the Rangers’ best interests in mind