One day after announcing the team will not renew head coach Ron Low's contract, President and General Manager Glen Sather discusses the future of the Rangers as well as what went wrong in 2001-02 during a conference call with the New York media.
What went into the decision not to renew Ron Low's contract? " Well, we haven’t made the playoffs in two years. I don’t think it’s just the coaches’ responsibility in a situation like this. I think we all have to share equally in this. In every situation there’s someone who ends up taking the blame on these kinds of deals and it’s generally the coach that does it. It’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it has to be." ________________________________________
Did you do this, this quickly just so that it wouldn’t be hanging over Ronnie’s (Low) head and to get a quick start on the new search? Following that will you be waiting a while to see who becomes available, after the playoffs? "Well, I didn’t want it hanging over Ronnie’s head any longer than it had to. I wanted it to get done fairly quickly. I wanted to let the rest of the people in the coaching marketplace know that we’re going to be exploring all avenues and talking to a lot of people and looking to see if we can come up with the right person." ________________________________________
Do you have a list of people in mind that you know you want to talk to now? "Yeah, I made a list of a few people that were interested in, but that by know means, means that list is closed, because we are just really starting to get into it now." ________________________________________
Was this a difficult thing to do with Ronnie, he seemed to be understanding of what the situation was, but you guys are friends and I assume are still friends, but was it difficult to do? " I don’t think it’s an easy job to do at any time under any circumstances. It’s difficult to disrupt somebody’s life. We’ve got to all take part of the responsibility. Ronnie’s a classy kind of a guy and he’s not trying to blame anybody and we are not trying to blame anybody for this either. It’s just the way it is." ________________________________________
I know it was to little to late, but seeing that you guys got hot down the stretch did that make your decision at all any harder? "If you look at the season and try and break it down, we really got into some problems immediately before the Olympic break and right after the Olympic break. I think there was a lot of reasons why that happened, but what happened, happened. We really had to do something. We couldn’t go into next year not with a fresh start and fresh idea and that’s what we’re doing?" ________________________________________
Looking back at the season, where did you think it got away from you guys and why? "If you anayize the season, at one point we were first overall. Then, Mark (Messier) got hurt and then Eric (Lindros) and there was a series of a number of injuries and we never seemed to get on track again after that point in time." ________________________________________
Do you have a timetable as far as when you are going to start interviewing people? "No, I think that’s going to take a little while to start into the actual interview process and analyzing who the people are, but we’ll get to it. I don’t have a timetable for it. It could be within the next three months, it’s hard to say." ________________________________________
How important is the match of the style and the system that the coach is known for using in the previous teams and the style that you guys have played? "Depending on who is going to run the team and the personnel that we have here. I think that depends on the style of play that’s going to dictate how we do play. I don’t see any particular style right now being necessary, I am looking more for the personality of the person that’s going to run that team." ________________________________________
Has this job been harder than you thought it would be when you came here two years ago? "I don’t think it’s any more difficult than what I had expected. I knew coming into this that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. There are a lot complicated factors here that make it a little bit tougher than other places. But, running a team in the NHL is not easy anywhere. You got to try and make the best of it. You have to have a plan that you are going to stick to and I have tried to stick to that plan. You try and to get people in here that got some talent, that are able to play, that want to play here, and that are willing to play. And you have to stick with it and you have to keep trying to build with inside the organization. Depth is something that we are starting to get to. We are starting to get to some depth people now that are going to help us, but all of those things take time. But, we’re getting there. I think we have made a lot of progress this year."