The New York Rangers officially introduced John Davidson to the media this afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The man affectionately known as “J.D.” took over for Glen Sather after being announced as the new team president back on May 17. With the most important task checked off of their list, there was only one thing left to do.
Bring J.D. back home to New York.
Here are Davidson’s opening remarks from today’s press conference:
Dreams do come true. It’s an emotional time for sure, and it’s a great time for myself and my family. I want to thank Jim Dolan for this incredible opportunity to come home and lead the New York Rangers. I really want to thank Glen Sather. He’s a friend, and a former teammate many years ago in St. Louis. I look forward to leaning on Glen and especially the experience that he’s built up during his hall of fame career in the National Hockey League.
It’s no secret that New York has held a very special place in my heart, this is the only organization that I would have left Columbus for. Columbus is a great city, the Blue Jackets are a very proud club and I wish them all the best. They are in very good hands. Also, I’d also like to thank the St. Louis Blues, the city of St. Louis and the Blues organization were very good to us. I’d like to wish them all the best and it looks like it will be a great series with the Blues and the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup Final.
After meeting with Jim last week, it was very clear that we share the same vision. I want to continue what’s been started here, and that’s to build the Rangers to become perennial Stanley Cup contenders. They’re doing it the right way. Jim is a man who wants to win, he wants to do it right, and we’re on the same page. General Manager Jeff Gorton and his staff have worked very hard over the last two years to build the foundation that’s in place. It puts us in a great position to be aggressive as we continue to improve. Being in the same division as the Rangers [in Columbus] over the last six and a half years, what became very noticeable in watching those games is what’s already been established. That’s the identity that New Yorker’s love. It’s a team that works, a team that plays hard and a team that plays the game the right way. I credit coach David Quinn and his staff for doing exactly that and we’re going to continue to improve in that area. I can’t tell you how important it is to have the proper culture in an organization to try and win hockey games. They’ve certainly done a terrific job in creating that already.
There’s a lot of work to do here, there’s no shortcuts. It’s nothing but hard work and it takes patience and resolve. I really want to make sure I use the word patience and the word resolve, because we’re going to 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’ve had the great opportunity to do it twice, once in St. Louis and once in Columbus. We’ve got a great staff here and we’ve got many young pieces in place. We’re going to get them, and they’re going to become stars in the National Hockey League and the Rangers are going to be better for it. Thank you everybody and yes, for me, dreams do come true.
The most important takeaway from Davidson’s remarks is that they remained in tune with the current rebuild. He mentioned building on the current foundation, being patient, and sticking to the plan that was laid out. But at the same time, he also noted that the current foundation gives them a chance to be aggressive. This summer is going to be a crucial point in the rebuild, and the Rangers certainly have enough money to make things interesting on July 1.
Along with introducing John Davidson, the floor was opened up for some questions and answers.
As a person who passed the test in New York as a player and as a broadcaster, is that thrill what drove you to this position?
Davidson: Absolutely. When you come into a situation and you know what the goal is and you have a plan in place, that’s what you live for. When you talk to Jim, that’s what he wants, he wants to stay with the plan. He has all the resources to help us do what we need to do and try to become a Championship hockey club. New York is special, there’s only one New York. When I first got here as a player, it was tough because I didn’t know. Once you figure it out, it gets in your blood and it’s there forever. It’s a special place to win and that’s what we plan on doing.
What does it do for you [Jeff Gorton] and the whole hockey operations department after what John did in St. Louis and Columbus?
Gorton: It’s going to be a huge benefit that [John] has gone through this in two organizations. He’s done everything hockey, his experiences, and the even-keel way about him. It’s going to be a great asset as we go through this process, there’s no question about that.
How do you balance a fast rebuild, while trying to maintain sustained success?
Davidson: Just by doing it right. Listen, this is not a perfect a business. There’s always mistakes to be made, but you do your research and homework, and get together with your group. You try to make as many proper decisions as possible, whether that’s through the draft or via trade. You get younger players here in the offseason to help them train because they’re getting stronger physically. You get them to understand how to play hockey in New York and the National Hockey League. If you do it right, you can do it for a long time and set your foundation. It’s important to stay with your plan. You build a foundation, and you continue to get better. There’s no real secrets, there’s no magic wallet. You can’t reach into a blender and pull out a real good hockey team. You have to build it, work it, and you have to be steel with your resolve to do it the right way.