Work in Sports
Q&A: SI's Kostya Kennedy
Sather wants another shot to win before it's too late
Posted: Thursday June 01, 2000 05:03 PM
The New York Rangers named Glen Sather, architect of the Edmonton Oilers long-running dynasty, as president and general manager Wednesday. CNNSI.com spoke with Sports Illustrated hockey writer Kostya Kennedy about the impact Sather's move will have on both his new team and the one he leaves behind.
CNNSI.com: Glen Sather has been one of the most sought-after GMs since
Peter Pocklington owned the Edmonton franchise during its championship
run in the '80s. Why is Sather making this move
He was tired of the real challenge of trying to succeed with a low-budget team. And now he realizes he's 56 years old, and though he wants to be in the game awhile longer, he's getting toward the end of his career. He doesn't think a small-market team is viable, so this is a chance for him to win.
CNNSI.com: Sather was the glue that held the Edmonton franchise together
for years. What will happen to the
There's no reason why Edmonton can't still be a strong franchise. There's a great tradition there, they have a great fan base and they have a pretty good arena lease. So they have some money to work with. And you look at what Ottawa is doing on a low budget. If they get the right people in place -- Sather is very good, but he's not the only one who can put together a good team -- I don't think his departure will spell the end of the franchise at all. Sather's scouting record was not good. We mention in this week's magazine he has drafted only two All-Stars in 17 years.
CNNSI.com: Is Sather the right GM for New York and the
The success he had in the past was in an era of pre-free agency and when budgets mattered far less than they matters today. Sather has only been with a small-market team in an era when small market and large market haven't really mattered. Obviously having a big budget doesn't guarantee success at all, especially with what we've seen with the Rangers the past three years. But it makes winning possible. And I think Sather thought ultimately that winning was not possible [in Edmonton]. He's now going to finally have a deep team.
The other thing Sather does really well is negotiate contracts; agents really respect him. That's not really necessary in New York because the Rangers can overspend when they want someone. But Sather's as good as anybody out there. He's got as good as record as anyone the Rangers were going to get as the GM. While he might be better suited to a small-market team because that's where he's operated previously, there's no reason why he can't adjust his style of negotiating, his style of trading and all that goes with it.
CNNSI.com: What does this mean for the Rangers in the long
CNNSI.com: Sather takes over a team with a high payroll, which was $61
million this past year. What should his first moves
Then Sather's got to bring in a coach. It could be Kevin Lowe. Then I think he should definitely get Mottau and Manny Malholtra? some playing time. Even if Malholtra is only a third-line center or he can be a good third-line center, the Rangers have to find out what he can do. Other than that, it's going to depend on what they get back from a Fleury deal, and how the draft goes. Basically the team needs some fine-tuning. Messier will give them some more strength up the middle. Sather will look around after the draft and see what's out there in the free-agent market. I don't think there's a lot out there this year, but he'll have to check it out.
Over the long run the Rangers have to bring in a young goaltender. Mike Richter is very good, but he is somewhat on a down slope. And by the time the team gets to where they want to be in three or four years, they'll need a young goaltender who can take them to the next level.
CNNSI.com: With Sather at the helm, is it time for the Rangers to go in a
different direction, maybe play the younger
So I think it would be good for them to go in another direction. It wouldn't help them too much to get involved in the unrestricted free agent market. Basically it's filled with a whole lot of older players who won't really help.
CNNSI.com: Who will follow Sather to New
Messier is definitely coming. Toronto will make a bid to get him, but the
Rangers would like to have him back. Unless Toronto blows him out of the water
with an absurd amount of money, he's coming back to New