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Sather, Renney Discuss Coaching Announcement

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Following the announcement that Tom Renney will remain the Rangers Head Coach, Blueshirt President and General Manager Glen Sather and Renney spoke with the media regarding the decision:

Q: Glen, from the time that the season ended up until I guess now, you had said you didn't feel much pressure about naming a coach until you knew there was going to be a season or not - why the timing now? Did you just want to get Tom in so he could get a staff in order, even with the uncertainty around the season?

Glen Sather: That's certainly part of it but I didn't want to really do anything until we thought that the time was appropriate and now that we've had our mini-camp, we've gone through the draft, and we've had a chance to look at the kids that we drafted, I thought that this would be the best time to make the announcement and get on with life. With the uncertainty of the season, Tom is in a position where he can still work with the kids and do a lot of other duties so it just seemed like a good time to get things done.

Q: Is he going to still retain his other titles?

Glen Sather: Yes.

Q: Did you pretty much have your mind made up before you went into the prospect camp, and if not, how much of it was just watching Tom on-ice with the kids, seeing how assertive he looked out there and how much he looked like the coach of the Rangers on the ice?

Glen Sather: Well I don't think that the three days of the rookie camp had a lot to do with it. I know Tom very well, we've worked together for quite a while and I didn't really have any problem with what he's been doing and three days certainly didn't have a lot of effect on the decision. I told Tom at the end of the season that our plan was going forward and he was well aware of it and we went through it and that's where we are today. I think we made the right decision.

Q: Approximately when did you make up your mind - before the draft, after the draft?

Glen Sather: Well I don't think there is a moment that something just happens and it just strikes you and says this is the right guy. I think it's a process that we tried to go through, being very analytical and Tom was well aware of what I was doing and I had this in the back of my mind the whole time.

Q: How seriously considered was (Hartford Wolf Pack Head Coach) Ryan McGill for the position and is it possible that he'll be named one of Tom's assistants?

Glen Sather: Well Tom was going to talk to him again and that'll be a decision we'll get to a little later on but he was certainly a serious consideration like a lot of people were. But I think that in order to make the right decision, you have to go through the process of talking to a lot of people and looking at the pros and cons and looking to see which is the way that we think is going to be the best for this organization. We've got a lot of young kids, a lot of prospects, and Tom knows all these guys inside and out. I just felt that the way we were going to proceed and the way we have been proceeding for the last three or four months is the way to stick with it and that's why I came to this decision.

Q: When you're conducting the search, and like you said, you let Tom know that this is what you were going to be doing, interviewing a lot of other people - were you kind of comparing them to what Tom brought to the table all along or did you kind of consider it to just be "nope, we don't have a coach and we're looking around" or did you perhaps have it in the back of your mind that he was a good person to compare to some of these people that you brought in.

Glen Sather: Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up. I know Tom well and we both want the right person to coach the New York Rangers and I think he and I both want the same thing. We wanted it to be a methodical process and we both wanted to get the right person here and in the end I decided that Tom was the right guy and didn't need to go any further.

Q: It was certainly apparent to us (the media) at the end of last season that Tom enjoyed being a head coach. Did that factor into your decision, putting aside the results just because of the way the team was just kind of thrown in chaos when he was there?

Glen Sather: Well I think that a lot of things go into it - his enthusiasm for the job, the spirit that he brings into the dressing room, being prepared, being responsible, being upfront as he can be, being able to speak to you guys with candor and openness and honesty. I think the way he respects the players and handles them and how they reacted to Tom and certainly the way he brings his enthusiasm to work - everyday he comes to work hard and he's a great citizen to the New York Ranger and knows the organization inside and out. It just seems like it's a pretty logical way to go.

Q: I was just looking at the different efforts that you made last year in terms of implementing a system, Tom, and I was just wondering, looking at the new makeup of the team, whether you foresee any major changes in the style of the Rangers?

Tom Renney: I think a greater change will come in the name of the personnel of course and like any coach should, you look at who you're going to be working with on the ice and devise a system of play around that. I think all things being equal, we want to be a team that applies pressure in all three zones and has an entertaining game but also a very responsible game at the same time. We want to just be a responsible team that can gain the respect of our opponents first and foremost and ultimately, the rest of the National Hockey League.

Q: You just touched on getting the respect of the fans and getting the respect of the rest of the NHL. What was your sense last season and what's your sense at home and on the road and things that have been said about the Rangers over the years, as to what the impression is of what the Rangers are and what they will be?

Tom Renney: I think the impression of what the Rangers were, have been, are - we've got a team that can really take it to any point on any given night. It's been suggested that we're the type of team that might compromise itself a little bit defensively but also a lot of people recognize out there that we've been bitten by the injury bug and it has had an impact on our performance. At the end of they day, we've had to compromise how we need to play in order to have success. Bottom line is we want to be consistent with whomever is in the lineup, for whatever reason. And we'll play a brand of hockey that people will enjoy around the league.

Q: Glen, what message do you hope to send to the Rangers fans with Tom's hiring today and Tom, what is your message for Blueshirt fans?

Glen Sather: Well we're continuing with the plan we set off in the spring. We're trying to build an enthusiastic youthful organization that's going to stick with this plan and program. Not to say that we're not going to fill some of the holes with free agents right now but we have a long-term plan in place. Tom is certainly a teaching coach who is well-respected in all the coaching world as far as his ability to teach and communicate with the players. We want to build an organization that's going to be here for a long time.

Tom Renney: As a Canadian having been with the Rangers now for four years, I just look back to what happened in this city a couple of years ago and all I saw was incredible integrity and how this community circled the wagon to deal with a difficult situation ... not to make light of the fact that the Rangers are like that. Bottom line is this city takes an awful lot of pride in what they're all about and we want to make sure that the Ranger team is symbolic of that same fiber - that same fabric in the community and we want to be a hardworking, respected team for showing up every single night with our best effort, whatever that might be.

Q: Tom, are you looking for a free agent veteran that might be able to mentor some of the younger players?

Tom Renney: We have some now in the lineup which is terrific. You look at the likes of Bobby Holik for example, and Jaromir Jagr and you look at Darius Kasparaitis and Tom Poti and you've got a group of a couple of guys up front and a couple of guys on the back end that will certainly help with the assimilation of anybody in the lineup, whether they're rookie or a young guy or an older player. This is a unique place to play so having said that, assimilation will be a challenge for anybody. We're all excited about that - we're excited about this new, clean page that we have to work with and our leadership in the room has as much of an opportunity to put their signature on where this team goes in the future as anybody.

Q: Tom, Glen mentioned the word 'fickle' and a lot of this with coaches seems to be the timing of when you get in with a certain place. Do you feel like the timing here with a team rebuilding is much better than it was the previous time for you in Vancouver when it seemed that there was an easy team on the decline? And also, do you think that in the interim, you are any different, any better, any wiser, as a coach?

Tom Renney: I think I went into Vancouver at what I thought was the perfect time for me. I certainly felt ready and able. I suggest to this day that I still feel the same way. At the same time, as that spike is on its way down, there's not a lot you can do to stop that. So certainly you could look at timing as being maybe inappropriate there and I did learn a lot from that experience, to say the least. I believe the timing here in New York is good, given the direction that Glen and the organization want to go with the look of our team and how we want to perform for the long haul.

Q: Have you given thought to the assistant coaching situation and will that be your call or will it be an organizational call? Is it important that it's your call?

Tom Renney: To be honest with you this is coming on the heels of our prospect camp and the draft, which I was paying more attention to, to be honest with you, but now that we've had the call out of the way, we'll start to talk about that. How would I not tap into the experience of Donny (Maloney) and Glen with respect to what they know out there for coaches. I know a lot of people around the world that could fill an assistant coaching role if not more. You have to be happy with what you want here and that's the way we'll work it.

Q: Tom, when you mentioned the veterans, you didn't mention Mark (Messier) and it probably was an oversight - I don't want to put words in your mouth. Does anybody know what Mark is doing right now? Glen or Tom?

Glen Sather: Well I talked to Mark when he was here to visit the dentist a couple weeks ago. We talked briefly but there wasn't any conclusion. He didn't come up with anything that I didn't already know, so it's still status quo.

When did you start feeling confident that this might be the way that Glen was going? We've talked to you on and off since the season ended and you've always said Glen has to go through his process and you wanted Glen to go through his process, but with all the names coming up, when did you start feeling confident maybe that this was something that was going to go your way?

Tom Renney: Only a few days ago, to be honest with you because he has been all along, Glen has allowed me to be a part of the process of identifying and researching candidates and when asked, provide input to the length that I can, with respect to what those people are all about. Up until only a few days ago, I felt very much a part of the process of finding the right person, and it was certainly not a case where I was trying to lobby for myself at all. I was concentrating on other issues, so I really felt that it was important to offer Glen whatever opinion he required of me when asked. And up to that time, which was only a couple of days ago, I was concentrating on other things.

Q: What was the moment like for you when Glen called you and said he was going to name you the head coach?

Tom Renney: It was terrific. I've known Glen a long time and I have been in the past and I have every bit of respect that you could imagine for any Hall of Famer and a man that has done what he has in the game. Having said that, I thought to myself, 'good choice.'

Q: Glen, anywhere during the process of talking to so many different people, were you close at any point to maybe hiring someone else?

Glen Sather: Well I don't really know how to qualify "close." I think that it's a process you have to go through. It takes some time and it takes a lot of thought. A lot of people are involved in it. I don't know whether I can say close is accurate at all - when you come to the decision, you make the decision on what you've done. I think you have to be certain that decision is the right one and the reasons that you got to that point - you try to cover everything, you try to make sure you've covered every thought process that's out there and connect with everyone that's available to talk about these people and I think in this case, the guy was sitting in our backyard. So we made the right choice.

Q: Was there any one guy that you gave a lot of though to - maybe not to say close but you really had to maybe go back and think about it a second and third time?

Glen Sather: I think we did that with everyone. It wouldn't be fair to say that we didn't put the same effort into talking about everyone that we considered this job to be for. But I think in the end, we made the right decision and that's where we are today and I'm very happy with it.

July 6, 2004 - Tom Renney to Remain Rangers Head Coach
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