It's not yet known what exactly lead Rangers ownership to make such an earth-shaking move with only a handful of games left in the season, but the timing is interesting, with the firings coming just one day after the team put out a scathing release chastising the NHL's Department of Player Safety while calling for George Parros' job.
TSN's Frank Seravalli reported that "president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton scurried to distance themselves from the team statement that was issued on Tuesday night, telling other executives that they did not know it was in the works until after it was released."
What effect the Tom Wilson incident as a whole had in these decisions is still unclear, but it's a little hard to believe there's not at least some link between the two, especially with the absurdly coincidental timing of it all.
Rangers CEO Jim Dolan pulled the trigger on both dismissals on Wednesday, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post. Shortly after the news broke, it was also reported by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman that assistant GM Chris Drury will be the Rangers' new president and general manager, which the team made official a few hours later.
Brooks had reported that Mark Messier, who also chimed in on the Rangers' whirlwind week, was "at the top of the wish list" to take on one of the roles.
Mark Messier on the way the #NYR are currently built: "In my opinion, if you're going to win, you got to be able to win in the street and the alley. I particularly would not have built the team that didn't have answers in this regard."
That's a statement.
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) May 5, 2021
The Rangers were eliminated from postseason activity for the fourth consecutive season on Monday, but the club has been moving steadily in the right direction over the past couple of campaigns — jumping from 26th in the NHL's standings in 2018-19 to sitting 14th in the league at time of this writing, while building a solid pool of young assets and prospect capital in a relatively short amount of time.
Brooks, citing sources, says that Dolan believes that "it is time to take the next step in this process," while front-office hockey execs like Davidson and Gorton have "continued to preach patience and a longer-view panoramic take of situation."
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