The new president and general manager of the New York Rangers had answered questions patiently for a little more than 16 minutes, and the Zoom conference was about to end.
He had spoken about the “whirlwind” 24 to 48 hours that saw his two bosses, and friends, lose their jobs and about how much he owed to them.
But Chris Drury interrupted the sign-off, saying that he wanted to add one more thing, and there was emotion on his face and in his voice as he did.
“Thank you to Jim Dolan for this opportunity,” Drury said. “You know, I grew up a Rangers fan in Connecticut, and it was a lifelong dream to be able to play for the Rangers and to be back in player development and as an assistant manager. Now to have these roles, it’s a huge honor and a huge thrill, and to all the Rangers fans out there, I obviously take this very, very, very seriously. And my goal is to bring a Stanley Cup to MSG. Period.”
My stance has softened from Wednesday regarding the seismic shakeup at the top of the organization, the firings of team president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton, now that I’ve been told and am convinced that Drury, 44, is not here on an interim basis. He’s the full-time president and GM — “You’ve got it right,” he said Thursday when asked if the role was permanent — which means that, despite any cajoling or interference from Dolan and his adviser Glen Sather, the rebuild isn’t going to go sideways, or worse, backward. I think it’s in good hands, the very capable hands of a bright, deserving rising star.
That all said, I still think it’s bonkers that Dolan came to the conclusion that Davidson and Gorton had to go. A source told The Athletic that Dolan was somewhere on the scale of peeved to incensed that Gorton didn’t abandon the plan to whatever degree and sell some future for some present at the trade deadline to help the Rangers get into the playoffs.
Dolan — as he did during the dark ages of the early 2000s — expected the Rangers to actually make the playoffs. He thought they underachieved. And that’s beyond belief to me.