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Reunited

Low, Sather back together with Rangers

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Posted: Thursday July 13, 2000 10:40 AM

  Ron Low led the Oilers to first-round playoff upsets of Dallas and Colorado in 1997 and '98. Brian Bahr/Allsport

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ron Low was hired as coach of the New York Rangers Wednesday, rejoining Glen Sather in New York after resigning as Edmonton's coach under Sather a year ago.

"It's a pretty exciting day for me. There are not too many jobs in the world like the one I'm about to embark on," the 50-year-old Low said.

It was the latest -- and so far biggest -- move in Sather's rebuilding of the Rangers, which is expected to soon include the return of Mark Messier, the hero of the team's 1994 Stanley Cup championship team.

Glen Sather, the Rangers' new general manager, was GM of the Oilers when Low stepped down as coach in a contract dispute. But Low should have fewer monetary concerns with the Rangers, the NHL's top-salaried team.

Other than the signing of defenseman Vladimir Malakhov on Monday, the hiring of a coach is Sather's first major move.

Low, who became Edmonton's coach in April 1995 after six years as an assistant, quit last spring after refusing an offer to return for another season at the same salary he earned in 1998-99.

Low emerged as the leading candidate for the Rangers' coaching vacancy last month after Kevin Lowe, the Edmonton coach, decided to stay with the Oilers as general manager, replacing Sather instead of joining him in New York.

"It was a lengthy process," Sather said. "As I met people and discussed philosophies and styles of the game, I kept coming back to Ron."

This could be the first of two major announcements for the Rangers this week. They are reportedly close to bringing back Messier, a former captain and an unrestricted free agent.

Messier, who led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, left for the Vancouver Canucks after the 1997 season -- the last time New York made the playoffs. He also won four Stanley Cups under Sather and another with former Rangers coach John Muckler in Edmonton.

Sather said he spoke Wednesday morning with Doug Messier, Mark's father and agent, and planned to speak to him again later in the day. "Something could happen as early as tomorrow or the day after," he said.

Low was 139-162-40 with Edmonton, leading the Oilers to first-round playoff upsets of Dallas and Colorado in 1997 and '98.

Walt Kyle, the coach of Hamilton, Edmonton's AHL affiliate, and Ted Green, an assistant under Low and Lowe with the Oilers, are hired as the Rangers' new assistant coaches. Green also is a former Oilers head coach.

In addition, the Rangers named Don Maloney vice president of player development and assistant general manager.

Low takes over for Muckler, who was fired along with general manager Neil Smith on March 28. The dismissals came with only four games left in the regular season, when it became clear the Rangers would again miss the playoffs.

New York, which had the NHL's highest payroll of $61 million, was 29-41-12.

Assistant John Tortorella, who was hired last week as an associate coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, coached New York's final few games.


 
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New Rangers coach Ron Low expects his players to hit the ground running when training camp starts. (187 K)
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