mercredi 4 juin 2014

Rangers boss Glen Sather breaks his silence and entertains #rangers #nhl #hockey #playoffs

Glen Sather, President and General Manager of the New York Rangers, speaks during Media Day for the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 3, 2014 in Los Angeles.

source :

Once upon a time, a long time ago, the members of the dynasty-to-be Edmonton Oilers used to say that Glen Sather was as much like a father as a coach.

A good cop/bad cop father, sure, but also a kind of cool father, who didn’t act old and had nice suits and could direct them to a friendly (if pricey) tailor. He knew about restaurants. He could give them advice on how to be a pro. Whether they listened or not, that was up to them.

Tuesday, on the eve of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, New York Rangers forward Brad Richards was asked what it was like to have Sather as a general manager.

“To be honest, it’s the most different type of GM I’ve had,” said the 34-year-old veteran.
“He’s kind of like the grandfather of the group. Nothing really fazes him. He’s been through so many things and accomplished so much, so if you need anything, or want to talk about anything — hockey or non-hockey, stories he has — it’s kind of like the grandfather at the top who keeps everybody together and happy and going in the right direction.

“And one thing I’ve learned, is he’s got his players’ back, no matter what. He’s always behind us and that’s great to know from the top.”

Grandfather, eh? Well, Glen Cameron Sather of High River, Alta., is 70 years old now, and the Rangers experience has put a lot of white in that hair.

But some things never change.

“I don’t have a lot of meetings with him,” Richards said, “but the thing about Glen, you can talk about shoes, wine, golf, fishing, hunting — you can talk about a lot of things with Glen.”

Just not hockey. Not if you’re in the media, anyway. Rules are rules. Sather was once more or less a free spirit as an interviewee, apt to come out with something outrageous just for effect — or some arrogant dagger, or some dollop of pure applesauce that everyone in the room knew was nonsense.

But Madison Square Garden put an end to that, and these days he is only occasionally off the leash. Tuesday was one of those days, if you count 15 minutes in front of a microphone, alongside his coach, Alain Vigneault, as freedom.

But as the senior manager of a Stanley Cup finalist, it is the custom to entertain questions, and Sather did so … entertainingly.

For this moment in time, anyway, the Sather Era in New York could be called a triumph. Even the harshest of his critics could relax just the tiniest notch and admit, albeit mockingly, that his 14-Year Plan to rebuild the Blueshirts had worked to near perfection.

The seemingly haphazard construction of the roster, the ill-fitting pieces that somehow fit? Today, it all makes sense.

All those rocky times — the Scott Gomez/Wade Redden/Chris Drury disasters, the millions up in smoke as he went from relative penny-pincher in Edmonton to sudden spendthrift in New York — who would be so churlish as to bring those up on a day like this?

“I don’t think it’s been rocky,” Sather said. “Every year there’s only two teams that fight for the Stanley Cup and there’s one that wins. It takes time to get in this position.”

Quite a lot of time, in some cases.

“Anyone that’s been in the hockey business knows what it can be like, and it’s complicated. I don’t see any great personal satisfaction. I’m satisfied that the team is here. I think the job is partly done. We know that we’re up against great forwards, great defence and great goaltending, so it’s going to be tough.”

Some might say the smartest thing he ever did was not interrupt when his scouts suggested spending the 205th overall pick on a Swedish goalie named Henrik Lundqvist in the 2000 entry draft, a month or so after he left the Oilers to join the Rangers as GM.

The second smartest might have been hiring Alain Vigneault after the Vancouver Canucks, ostensibly in need of a fresh voice in the room, fired him a year ago,

Why did it work for A.V., where in the end it had failed with John Tortorella (and then failed abysmally in Vancouver when the two franchises essentially “traded” coaches last summer)?
“I can’t make a comment why it didn’t work. It did work with Torts for a while,” Sather said. “I’m glad the opportunity was there to make a deal. We’ve had nothing but fun with each other. We continue to do it. It’s been a good relationship. Coaches sometimes run out of time wherever they are.”

“I don’t agree with that,” Vigneault interjected, grinning, “but that’s all right.”

“It’s like you start trying to train your kids,” Sather said. “They get tired of listening to you after a while. I went through it myself for 10 years. But it was easy. I could fire myself.”

Maybe the list of smart things Sather has done has to begin with being on the good side of Madison Square Garden’s unpredictable chairman James Dolan, because it’s frankly difficult to imagine someone the big boss didn’t like lasting as long, with as average a set of results, as Sather has.

“Well, I had another complicated owner that I worked for for a long time, as well,” Sather said, a nod to his old Edmonton boss and friend, Peter Pocklington.

“I enjoy (Dolan). I think he’s an interesting, complex, caring human being that is probably a little bit apprehensive at letting himself be known by the media. Most people like that are. You have your own private life, your own world that you live in.

“I get along with him fine. Somebody wrote that I manage him well. Well, I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly good manager. I like to be friends with the people that I work with. I like to be friends with the coaches, the players.

“At the same time you have to be respectful. I do respect him.”

There was a time when Sather didn’t mind being front and centre, even revelled in it. Now he downplays his role, and perhaps that is as it should be. He is so low-profile, some wonder whether he is more GM emeritus than hands-on boss.

A GM’s job at the Stanley Cup Final?

“It’s really complicated,” said Sather. “Today it took us about three hours to figure out which golf course we were going to play this afternoon, then later on this evening we have the question about dinner, and what are you going to watch on TV tonight. Is Game of Thrones on?”

No, that’s on Wednesday. The Kings look to be on it. The Rangers’ task is to figure out how to knock them off.

Sather hasn’t been this close for 24 years.

“I think it’s fun,” he said. “I hope our team thinks it’s fun. I hope the fans like it. It’s a very intense time of the year for everyone.

“If you can get through that intensity and enjoy it, it’s great.”