The Rangers welcomed back new president John Davidson on Wednesday with a press conference at the Hulu Theater at MSG. Here are five takeaways from the press conference:
A Dream Come True
It's obvious how much returning to New York means to Davidson, the former Rangers goaltender and broadcaster beloved by the fan base.
"Dreams do come true," Davidson said.
This was the only job he would have left Columbus for. Between the pipes, he helped the Rangers get to the 1979 Stanley Cup Final, and he was on the call as the Rangers captured the Cup in 1994, ending a 54-year title drought.
"I lived here previously for 28 years, raised two daughters here, had a wonderful life. Became, not a born New Yorker, but I think I became a New Yorker. It's always been in my blood," Davidson said.
Davidson was walking the streets of New York Tuesday night with his wife, Diana.
"My wife said, 'Gee, doesn't this just feel like we didn't leave?' And I said, 'Yeah, it feels like we didn't leave. You're exactly right,'" he said.
Patience, With a Twist
Davidson helped rebuild both the Blues and Blue Jackets. He'll do it again with the Blueshirts, but the Rangers don't want this rebuild to go on for too long. So it was interesting that Davidson, when citing the foundation Jeff Gorton and the front office have put in place, said this: "It puts us in a great position to be aggressive as we continue to improve."
But the Rangers won't put their long-term future at risk for short-term gain.
"There's a lot of work to do here. There's no shortcuts," Davidson said. "It's nothing but hard work, and it takes patience and resolve, and I really want to make sure that I used the word patience and I use the word resolve, because we're gonna be in a battle here to get this club to be better. But you have to be patient when you go through a build like this. It's just what it is. I had the great opportunity to do it twice, once in St. Louis and once in Columbus. We have a great staff here. We've got already many young pieces in place."
Praise for Quinn
Davidson likes the culture David Quinn established during his first year as head coach, believing a strong environment is one of the keys to success.
"It's a team that works, a team that plays hard and a team that plays the game the right way, and I credit coach David Quinn and his staff for doing exactly that," Davidson said. "And we're gonna continue to improve in that area. That's very important. I can't tell you how important it is to have the proper culture in an organization to try to win hockey games, and they've certainly done a terrific job in creating that already."
Quinn was brought in from Boston University to help the Rangers develop all the young talent they've assembled, and the next couple of seasons will be crucial in that respect.
Having built up St. Louis and Columbus already, Davidson will be a great resource for Gorton and Co. as they continue to reshape their roster.
"I think it's gonna be a huge benefit," Gorton said of Davidson. "He's gone through it with two organizations. He's done everything in hockey. His experience, his even-keel way about him, it's gonna be a great asset for us as we go through the process, there's no question about that."
Parting Words for Sather
Davidson's hiring officially ends Glen Sather's 19-year run as Rangers president as he transitions to an advisory role. James Dolan thanked Sather for what he's done.
"He is one of the most successful executives in Ranger franchise history," Dolan said of Sather. "For me, he's been pretty much the perfect executive. He leaves me with very little to do when it comes to the New York Rangers. I end up being the guy who signs the check and cheers the team -- and that's just the way I like it, by the way."
Davidson also thanked Sather, whose brain he will be picking.
"He's a friend and former teammate many years ago in St. Louis, and I look forward to leaning on Glen and especially the experience that he's been able to build up during his career, a Hall-of-Fame career in the National Hockey League," Davidson said.