Rangers Roundup: Interest in Kovalchuk growing and a new coaching candidate

ITAR-TASS/ Ruslan Shamukov

Here’s the latest on the Rangers from around the web

As the Rangers’ offseason continues, here are the latest rumors and rumblings.

Other teams are kicking tires on Kovalchuk

Add the Edmonton Oilers to the teams that have spoken to Ilya Kovalchuk as he plans on making his NHL return. Per Elliotte Friedman, “Sounds like Edmonton checked in on Ilya Kovalchuk. Not a bad idea, actually. But it won’t happen.” The Oilers are looking for more offense, which is funny when you think of a lineup with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Still, it seems plausible unless you are an analyst that covers the Oilers.

One thing we know for sure, Jeff Gorton and the Rangers have spoken to Kovalchuk several times and before he makes a final decision, expect them to speak again.

Add Another Name to the Mix for Coach

Smith and Babcock (Getty)

Friedman also dropped another name into the Rangers coaching search, D.J. Smith. Who is he? He’s an assistant coach in Toronto that won a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 2015. The Generals are partly owned by Rangers great, Adam Graves so there is a distinct connection there.

The Rangers have conducted several interviews so far but no confirmation that Toronto granted permission for Smith to interview. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. In a recent article in March, it states that Mike Babcock wouldn’t hold him back.

“The thing with D.J. is, in my opinion he’s going to be a good NHL head coach. I always look when I’m hiring for serial winners: Wherever they’ve gone, they’ve won,” Babcock says.Luke Fox


  • Stay away from Kovalchuk he’s a cancer to the NHL and to old to rely on — no thank you

  • I would be so disappointed in the rangers if they signed Kovalchuk. It would show me that they haven’t learned after all these years and are still making the same mistakes. We’ve seen them sign the old veterans that were good at one time and are past their prime. Only this time it would be worse because he hasn’t played in the NHL in a while and he’s not the personality you want to teach your young players. I don’t even know why they would think about it. For the rangers fans that have watched and rooted hard for the team and have seen the rangers go down this road over the last many decades, I know a lot of you feel the same. I’m nervous enough about making the right picks in the draft so please don’t make one of these moves again

    • Sammy there are more than a few who share your concern.

    • I agree to a point but the thing I like about Kovalchuk is that it will likely be a boost for Buchnevich and will also likely seal the deal getting our young Russian goalie to come to the U.S. He’s the heir apparent to Lundqvist and he needs to get over here sooner than later.

  • Lundqvist, Namestnikov to Preds for Rinne, Tovanen and a 1st round pick!

  • The only thing they give up is money. You would have to pray that he has a different attitude now. Don’t think they should, however, most Ranger fans are impatient and want marque names.

    • I wouldn’t say most Ranger fans are impatient. In fact a vast majority of the fans embraced the call for a rebuild. What drives Ranger fans bat crazy is less then a few weeks after the organization held a dog and pony show about rebuilding you read the McKenzies, Friedmans and Dregers of the world saying the Rangers will be in on JT and Karlsson.

      I for one would love a rebuild from the basement up to the penthouse and organizationally change the mindset of how business is done. Player development has been atrocious for years. Scouting has been great when it comes to college free agents but when it’s time to draft the Rangers are usually out in left field with their selections. This team has no excuse for its failures throughout the 90+ year history other then themselves. They have a boatload of money to attract the best minds, scouts, executives and coaches in the business to establish a franchise that should be excelling. With the amount of money this team has wasted its criminal to think they have only 4 cups in 90+ years. It’s time to absolutely blow it up. Start be getting the best of the best in here and stop settling for less. Build a scouting network that ends the days of letting guys like Mike Bossy, Larry Robinson, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf or Vladimir Terrasenko slip by. If it takes a slow build up to get the Rangers to the top then so be it. Quick fixes haven’t worked.

      Let the Kovalchuk’s of the world sulk elsewhere. I rather have a bunch of no names who have an innate desire to win at all costs than have ANOTHER over the hill marquee player coming here to play for one last big payday. Only ONE truly marque player came here to win and scratched, clawed, fought, yelled, intimidated, scored, led and willed himself to put this team on a level to be champions. That was Mark Messier, and MSG and the Rangers refused to pay him for slaying the curse. MSG rather paid a soft wanna be leader in Patrick Ewing. The right decisions have always been left on the boardroom table with this franchise.

  • Mike,
    You’re on the money again! The truth is that sports is a business, and therefore is operational ONLY to make money for the owners!
    The bottom line in ALL business is MONEY!! The owners will NOT spend a dollar more than they must to keep the seats filled at the Garden, and how much money the team’s success means to their bottom line. The only question is how little can they spend and NOT alter THEIR take!!!
    As long as us shlumps keep buying tickets and spending on all the overpriced goodies at the concessions, they have NO reason to spend more and leave less for themselves!!!
    You can bet your firstborn that if the seats were left empty, the coffers for the acquisition of better players would be WIDE OPEN!!!
    EVERY decision is based on it!
    They are paying more for one player than the other for only one reason—–he returns more in profits for them to split up than paying for someone else. It doesn’t matter which team he represents. It only matters which player returns more to the owners.
    Most of us leave the Garden, go home, go to sleep, get up early the next morning and break our hump to provide for our families and MAYBE have enough left to go and buy a ticket to the game. We fans live and die with the results of the Ranger games, they couldn’t care less until the losses start affecting the ticket sales, AND THUS THEIR PROFITS. THEN they start caring, and ONLY to the extent that it takes to bring the profits back up.
    Pro sports is BIG, BIG business, and it’s a rough tough world out there. You can bet your life there are NO fans in the boardrooms. They are there for the MONEY, PERIOD!!!

    • nice rant, maybe you should watch more tennis.

      • I don’t know if you’re just joking or trying to bust his chops but James was spot on. If he was wrong we would have seen more then 3 championships in MSG between 2 teams over 120 years. Rangers have always brought in the big name players to fill the seats and sell those tickets. You would think they would realize it’s not working when you only have one cup in 78 years. They don’t care about winning as long as they’re making the big bucks. Like James said if those seats were empty you would see a big change. Screw Kovalchuk. For all you fans that want him I hope he’s not taking your favorite rookies ice time

        • not kidding, NYR fans are way too negative.

        • Thanks for your support! I really wasn’t looking for any praise, I was sharing my 78 years of experience with you younger guys!
          Mr. Kas has the right to his opinion- that’s what this site is all about!
          I am, however, VERY disturbed about how little basic economics has been taught to the young kids! I shouldn’t have to explain what economics is all about, but it appears some have no idea what the forces are that control sports!
          I hope Mr. Kas isn’t sitting around waiting for management to make decisions based on what’s good for the team or the fans. He’ll be waiting till the cows come home! LOL

          • He’s too busy trying to trade Hank + Namestikov for a 1st, Reine and Tulvanen to be waiting for the Rangers to make sound decisions. James, just like you I’ve been disappointed and had my heart ripped out by this franchise’s ineptitude. But just like you James, each year we keep coming back with the hope this year will be special. We have seen some long playoff runs which were memorable but we have been some very dark and bleak years as well. That is what makes us True Blue Ranger fans and a lifetime resident in Rangertown.

          • YAWN!!!!!!
            please, don’t do us younger guys any favors by sharing your biased opinion.
            Oh yeah, I am a CPA, just in case you want to try and “teach” me something else.

          • Ooooooooh a CPA you say. Wow. What does one occupation have to do with being a Ranger fan? Is a construction worker a lesser of a fan than an office worker? Is a cop more of a fan than a fireman? Does someone who owns a house know more about hockey than someone who rents an apartment? Explain why we needed to know what you do for a living?

          • Mike, I was responding to James’ post about basic economics and the fact that he felt he had to “teach” it to us. Therefore, I felt it relevant to post my occupation, so he was relieved of the burden of having to educate me on that topic.
            However, once again not all is lost, for you, for your emotional response only underscores the STEROTYPE of old ranger fans being impatient, illogical, and ignorant.

          • You have no idea how “old” I am nor know anything about me if you thought that was an emotional response. It’s sad to believe that you are so prejudiced against people that are older than you. In your view only “young” Ranger fans can be logical. Guys like James, JP, Blueshirtin TO and CThomas bring tremendous insight in their post. I don’t agree with all that is said, but to say they are ignorant is completely baseless.

            So YAWN all you like, I’ll take the back and forth banter of the guys I’ve listed any day over the childlike snot nose responses you provide.

          • “over the childlike snot nose responses you provide.”
            wow what incredible insight and tremendous insight you provide LMFAO

            Careful old man you might have a heart attack and then the world will lose your knowledge and insight NOT! 🙂

  • Maybe so, But can you refute anything I’ve said? I can’t stick my head in the sand and think that everything is peachy,keeney when i know it’s not!

  • Michael Rothbaum

    Dolan is a moron. Right from the moment he came into contact with the whole MSG organization. there are so many things he’s done that I can’t even put a timeline to it. IDK as much about the Knicks because, well its Basketball, However a few glaring things come to mind mostly with anything to do with Isiah Thomas. The guy, can’t win, makes disastrous player personnel decisions and still manages to stay in Dolan’s and Dave Checketts (more on him later) good graces . Then in 2007 he costs you over $10,000,000 in Sexual Harassment lawsuits. Then 8 years later in 2015 Thomas is named President of the WNBA’s New York Liberty. How that happened blows my mind. All I can think of is that Isiah must know where the bodies are buried

    Another of Dolan’s moronic moves was making Dave Checketts President & CEO of MSG putting him, a basketball guy, In charge of the Rangers. Now I know he was somewhat successful in B-Ball but he NEVER won anything. He didn’t know squat about hockey. His new position had him overseeing Neal Smith who had already won a title. Call me crazy but wouldn’t you be better off promoting the executive WHO ACTUALLY WON A CHAMPIONSHIP as president and CEO of your organization? Say what you want about our rapid decline after the cup (the fact is we bought that cup by giving up rising young studs like Doug Weight and Tony Amonte to name a few) bottom line is Smith GOT THE JOB DONE!!! How frustrating it must have been seeing the guy who was your equal in the company but not as accomplished get promoted to your boss. A boss that has know clue of what you need to be successful. Now I’m not saying that Smith should’ve been given the job, but an outside hire might have been best because you don’t have the more deserving GM answering to the less successful.

    I like many others at the time felt the hiring of Glen Sather was a really good move. (I personally wasn’t happy when Smith was removed) He had experience in drafting & other personnel moves while in a small market. I thought great now we can rebuild through youth (sound familiar) and not just sign big names but create an organization with staying power (like NJ & Redwings) but right away he just signed UFA’s to ludicrous contracts. Number one being Bobby Holik.for $45 Million Now I’m not saying I didn’t want him, but $9 Million for a Third Line Center who at best should be getting $3 to $3.5 Million. So we are no longer competitors but we become a joke.

    There where just to many bad decisions. Yet like Isiah Thomas, Sather is untouchable.They are “YES MEN”

    One last thing about James Dolan. When a proposal to build a new stadium for the NY Jets (and other things like a convention center, hold a Super Bowl, Host the NCAA Final 4…) James Dolan aired false TV commercials that opposed the new venue on his Cablevision Cable stations, While taking money and running commercials paid for by the people who wanted the new venue.
    Now I understand that such a venue was a very real threat to his bottom line. He still would sell out the Garden and probably had the cable rights to the new venue so he’d make money on every sporting event that would be held there.

    I personally thought the West side stadium should have been built. It would create jobs and all the other things promised by owners & politicians. Most of my reason is purely sentimental. NY City (Manhattan to be precise) has always had great accomplishments & wonders, but ask yourself this:
    What was the last great thing built in Manhattan?

    On April 4, 1974 the Twin Towers opened its doors with the two tallest buildings in the world.

    Now that the opportunity to build a modern facility is gone what GREAT accomplishments are on the horizon?
    While The Freedom Tower is a ascetically looking building, it’s just another building.

  • Mike, thank you for the support. As always you are an insightful , knowledgeable gentleman. We do get blasted quite often, the group that you mentioned. Our opinions are diverse but in sync in the the idea that we have witnessed the good and the bad over the past 60 or so years, depending on who is passing along their ear at the time . But hey as our small group is well aware of that is why I end my pontificating with OK. LMHI. As I always say I or we can take all comers. Again Mike, thank you. An aside for TO I’m up in your neck of the woods, leaving Thursday. I really love how as a fan base you all despise the Caps with dogged determination, it’s so refreshing. I said it before however it is worth repeating, OK. LMHI, and you know who I mean

  • Wow…..so much to take in and address that it’s hard, but here goes.

    Basketball is a superstar run sport and unless you have a Lebron, you are just not gonna win. There was a time it was a team sport …many years ago…and the Knicks had Ewing, but not enough support characters. Since then, they have been chasing the star…erstwhile Melo.
    Can’t blame them for trying.

    As for the Rangers, let’s talk about the here and now and not Don Maloney days. Management tried to go with AV and his pussy approach to leave defense and hitting to the wind as long as you clear the zone for the lead pass. Didn’t work. And when the players tired of it, got older and had to face too much zone time in their own end, the system failed.

    That said, did anyone see Miller’s blind pass last night, or McD’s and Girardi lack of defensive play last eve. Let’s face it, the Rangers over-achieved because of Hank and gave us a few good years, but the total team talent and desire was NOT there. It was too many guys figure skating and not enough in your face (thank AV).

    Let’s draft right, get in bigger players with an edge and mold a team with 4 lines and guys that can specialize in certain aspects (penalty kill, etc). It takes all 12 forwards to play hard in their role to win it all. Anyone remember Tikkanen, Larmer, MacTVish, Kocur….these ARE character guys that can win or die trying.

    It has taken the Caps how many tries to even play in the east finals….and they get their with their least talented lineup….but guys that have balls and would rather cut off their arm than let Ovi down. That is the team I am hoping we begin to field.

  • Lou you just blamed AV for not thinking enough about D with his pussy ways yet you mentioned how bad Mac and Girardi were last night and how we over acheived cause we had Hank. You should pick one or the other man. You say thanks AV as if he screwed us over but we had more success and excitement with him then in many years. He’s not perfect of course but the bottom line is we just weren’t good enough. We didn’t have and still don’t have any star players yet had a lot more success then teams that do have them. I would love to see so,e of those character players too but until then it’s not really fair to blame the coach

    • I’ve followed the Rangers for some 60 years and suffice it to say they have always embraced a finessful, pussyfooting style of play. Hockey is a contact hitting sport which the make up of these teams fail to recognize. With the exception of a few years, the Rangers have continuously pursued signing smurfs rather than tough, physically oriented players. This will never change with the likes of the Jim Dolan’s of this world only interested in their profit margins. Unfortunately I like most other Ranger fans have been hypnotized by the Svengalis of the sporting world. In a way we are getting what we deserve.

  • Believe me I get where you’re coming from.. I’ve been watching the Rangers about 50 years now so I definitely know about all the years of little to no toughness and you’re right, other then a few years we’ve been pushed around for the most part. I also think a lot of the reason we don’t win cups is due to front office. Let’s see if there’s gonna be any changes in that now that Gorton is supposedly looking for guys with character and all that. I’m not holding my breath though, especially when I read about getting Kovalchuk. That right there tells me nothing has changed

  • After these past several weeks I still do not , can not comprehend why the name Kovalchuk continues to keep entering the conversation. This guy h w shown over and over, wherever he is , that he is poisonous. Now the guy is old poison. His shelf life is certainly outdated and past due. Pull him off the shelf and into that desperation sale bin. Again if this management team extraordinaire wants a true rebuild then cease and desist with this oral diarrhea of wanting a new Franklin Mint collection of washed up antiques. Joe the only thing worthwhile about Kovie is the Chuck. However what do know , I have never obtained the lofty CPA status , with an emphasis in Hockey. Hey TO what a beautiful morning up here. OK it’s that time, LMHI

  • I don’t get it either Chuck. Let’s hope they change their minds or someone else gets him instead. I really don’t know what to expect anymore. I heard on NHL radio that the Rangers never actually offered Montgomery a job before he went to Dallas and that Dan Quin is the top canadate right now

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