Rangers President and General Manager, Glen Sather, held a media conference call on Wednesday, July 5, 2000. Among the topics covered were the club's interest in the free agent market, the head coaching vacancy, and his thoughts on the current Rangers players.
Below is the official transcript from the call:
Q: Can we project realistically that it would be no sooner than 3 days after your return to New York that a coach would be in place? A: I think that would be a good time schedule. But there still isn't anything done so I'm not sure whether it will be done. I am hoping that it will be done. I am not even sure who's going to be done.
Q: Are you still talking to people or are you in the negotiation state? A: I am still talking to people. Yes, I have not offered this job to anyone yet. I am still going through the process but I am getting it narrowed down. And I am sure that you guys appreciate that this is not an easy job for somebody to fulfill and it is necessary to try and make all the right decisions about this. And not only is it just a head coach, it is assistant coaches as well.
Q: While Stephane Quintal and Mike Keenan's past history may not be great, what would player reactions be if they returned? Would you consider any input from players? A: First of all, I think that people deserve a second chance and I have been in the forgive and forget mode with a lot of players over the years. A lot of things are said in a dressing room that are very emotional; things happen and people react to them. They don't always react to them the right way but if you sit back and let a little time go by, sometimes it doesn't seem quite as bad. Now I am not condoning anything that has happened with the Rangers in the past. I know that there were some problems there with past coaching situations when Mike was there and John was there. Those things have to be left behind us. I think Mike Keenan deserves the opportunity to talk about the opportunity that's in New York. He's won a Stanley Cup, he's been there before, he's been a good coach. I know he's had some problems with other teams but I still think, out of respect for Mike, I deserve the opportunity for him to speak to me about the job. I am not saying that I am giving him the job but I am giving him the opportunity to speak to me about it.
Now, as far as Quintal is concerned, I have talked to his agents about it, the incident several times. I certainly don't condone it. I know that some things happened that should not have happened. But on the other hand, you just can't give a player away like this. He's a good player and he has been a good player. I am not sure whether he is going to stay in the New York organization or be traded. I think the best thing to do is to take a little bit of time, examine it and speak to the people that are involved. I haven't had a chance to talk to Quintal about it but I would like to hear what he has to say. I am not going to make a rash judgement about anybody at this point.
Q: Are you curious to get the opinions of the players themselves who would have to deal with him as a player in the lockeroom? A: I don't think that the players really have an opinion about this situation. I think this is a management decision and the last thing I am going to do is have the team start running the team. I think that this is part of the business, respect has to be earned, there's no question about that. But I still think that a player like Quintal, I have to give him the opportunity to listen to him, but I am not going to just turn him loose. I'd like to see what my options are before I get there. In other words, if I have the opportunity to trade him, if it's going to help the team, I would do that.
Q: Is there any update on the Malakhov situation? Is there a time frame? A: No, I have been speaking to Paul Theofanous but there is…I can't tell you that the deal is done. I have been speaking to him for the last two/three days, like a lot of teams have been doing. I'd like to have it done before this weekend. One way or the other, we either do it or we won't do it.
Q: Have you spoken to Don Maloney about Malakhov since he was the one who traded him from the Islanders? A: Absolutely, I have talked to him about him. He went from the Island to Montreal to New Jersey. I watched him throughout the playoffs and think he played very well. In the beginning when he went to Montreal, he played like he was the Norris Trophy winner. That team had some problems and they moved him. The Islanders were having some problems and they moved him. But I don't think it was necessarily about him. This guy has a lot of ability and I think he would be a good player.
Q: Would you look at this as knocking the Devils down to benefit the Rangers since he did play a key part in their winning the Cup? A: No, I think you give me too much credit if you think I am devious like that. I am not going to admit to anything like that, I have too much respect for Lou.
Q: Can you anticipate being very involved in free agency? A: No, I don't, and there are several reasons because so many free agents were signed last year that we don't have the spots for guys. This team has to have a real turn around from last year and the players here have to have the opportunity to show the good side of them. I think if there are going to be any deals in the future, it has to be with the players that are currently under contract. Although, if there are a couple of other people that are in the free agent market that I think can help the team, I am going to be talking to them and I have already talked to quite a few agents about guys already.
Q: Could adding Messier alter the chemistry of the team and get a lot of the guys back on track? A: I think everyone knows the respect that I have for Mark and I think everyone knows and understands the respect that he has throughout the league. He's a terrific leader, he's a good guy, he played very well. We played him a lot last year in Edmonton and he didn't look like a guy that is 39 years old when I saw him, I can tell you that. He played great. He would have a real positive effect on the team and if we can work out a deal, we are certainly trying to do that.
Q: Are you still talking with Mike Barnett about Claude Lemieux and where do you think he could help you guys? A: I haven't said that I was talking with Claude Lemieux. Yes, I met with Mike Barnett yesterday in Banff. We had dinner at a place called the Rimrock Hotel. If you guys ever get up here, that's the place to go. It was a good dinner and we had a good discussion. It's tough to get anything out of Barnett. I had the opportunity to coach Claude on Team Canada in '96, the year that Dennis Hull tipped that over the shoulder goal in and they beat Canada. Claude Lemieux is the guy that likes to shoot the puck to the wrong zone, but he played really well in that series. He's a terrific competitor. I think he's the only guy who won the Stanley Cup on four different teams. He's a good player and a good person. Interest is always calculated on what it costs you. I say at this time, I have strong interest in him.
Q: Since you took the job, how is it shaping up about what you have to do? A: I think that I have seen some things that I want to change and some decisions that are going to be made in the future. But I don't think there's anything that I have seen so far that I didn't really know about before. I don't think it's overwhelming. Probably the toughest part is to keep all of you happy.
Q: Is Teddy Green going to be with you? A: I have talked to Teddy Green. I want a lot of guys. I have talked to a lot of people, but I am not going to tell you who I am going to hire yet.
Q: When talking with coaching candidates, do you talk contract or do you wait until you pick your guy and then talk money? A: It's more or less talking about a guys philosophy and his attitude and what style of play he wants; what kind of players he sees on his team, how he sees the organization, if we are comfortable with each other. It's like any other job interview where you get down to the money last. But I did speak to a couple of people about money.
Q: What characteristics are you looking to add? A: I think we need a little more grit on the team. I think we need some people who can move the puck better. Those are a couple of key ingredients that I would like to have. We need another center-iceman. I'd like to incorporate some of the kids from Hartford that played well last year and some of the kids coming out of Juniors. Those kinds of additions are really tough to determine because you don't know them until you get through training camp and probably get into the season for 10 games. I don't specifically know what happened last year with John. I think that John has always been a good coach but for some reason, the team didn't respond to him the way that he wanted them to and that happens in this coaching business. Hopefully the guy that I hire will be able to mend all the fences for the players, get the right attitude out of them, and get them to play with a little more grit and determination and enthusiasm.
Q: How soon after wedding will this be done? A: I said that there will be a 2 or 3 day lapse before I can possibly get to New York, but sometime after that we will have a guy signed.
Q: Have you talked to Mike Keenan a second time or is that still upcoming? A: That is still coming up.
Q: Are you going to talk to Ted Nolan? A: I have a phone call from Ted Nolan but I have not talked to him yet.
Q: Have you talked to John Tortorella? A: John Tortorella was given permission to talk to Tampa. As far as I know, he is going to go there as an assistant coach. But I have not talked to him.
Q: Is there anything new with Messier? A: No, other than that we are carrying on good dialogue. I talked to his father twice today.
Q: How many of these guys are you going to sign if you have the opportunity? A: I don't know if it's possible to sign them all…depending on the money.
Q: What does Malakhov give you that Schneider doesn't? A: I think he moves the puck better. I haven't heard from Schneider's agent anyway, so I am not even sure if he is interested in coming back to New York. If he doesn't know what I am doing, he must be in the dark ages.