John Davidson stepped behind a lectern emblazoned with the Rangers emblem on Wednesday and obtained straight to the purpose.
“Desires do come true,” he mentioned at Madison Sq. Backyard, showing to develop into a bit misty-eyed after he was launched because the Rangers’ new president about 40 years to the day after main the group to the Stanley Cup finals as a goaltender.
“It’s no secret that New York has all the time been a … held a really particular place in my coronary heart,” he added, along with his spouse and considered one of their two daughters within the viewers.
Davidson, 66, is changing the retiring Glen Sather, who has been on the helm since June 2000.
Hiring Davidson is a logical transfer for the youthful Rangers, who missed the playoffs for the second straight season as they work by means of a dramatic rebuild that started in February 2018.
Solely 4 gamers stay from their Cup finals run in 2014. The group has been accumulating younger expertise and has two first-round picks, together with the second over all, and two second-round picks in subsequent month’s draft.
“I wish to proceed what’s been began right here,” Davidson mentioned. “That’s to construct the Rangers to develop into perennial Stanley Cup contenders. They’re doing it the correct approach.”
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Davidson brings the pedigree of a hockey life that has included most each layer of N.H.L. expertise, from participant to Corridor of Fame broadcaster to group government. He performed two seasons with St. Louis earlier than spending components of eight seasons with the Rangers, his profession lower brief due to knee accidents.
The magical 1979 playoff run, throughout which the underdog Rangers upset the Islanders in six video games within the semifinals earlier than dropping within the Cup finals in 5 video games to the Canadiens, cemented Davidson’s standing within the group’s historical past.
“We obtained on a roll with a bunch of younger gamers, and that run was vital due to the sensation of what New York gave again to us,” he mentioned. “I used to get up within the morning up in Westchester and there can be presents on the doorstep — from individuals I didn’t even know.”
After his enjoying profession resulted in 1983, Davidson moved to the MSG tv sales space, the place he can be paired with Sam Rosen. Their tenure included the spring of 1994, when the Rangers gained the Stanley Cup after 54 years of frustration. Davidson’s “Oh child” exclamations grew to become as nicely often called Rosen’s “It’s a power-play purpose” chorus.
“He’s the correct man for the group proper now,” Rosen mentioned of Davidson.
Davidson left tv in 2006 to take over as president of the St. Louis Blues for six years earlier than assuming the same role with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the place he was till final week. Columbus, a struggling younger franchise when Davidson obtained there, made the playoffs in 4 of his six seasons.
“That is the one group I might ever have left Columbus for,” Davidson mentioned.
He was fast to claim that there’s loads of work forward in his new function. Primarily, there’s planning for subsequent month’s draft and attending to know his gamers. That can embody a dialog with Henrik Lundqvist, the group’s 37-year-old franchise goaltender, who has two years left on his contract however is coming off the worst season of his 14-year N.H.L. profession.
“He’s a proud, proud man and really profitable at what he does,” Davidson mentioned. “I can hardly wait to speak with him.”
Davidson additionally mentioned he was trying ahead to working with Basic Supervisor Jeff Gorton and Coach David Quinn, the previous coach at Boston College, who had a 32-36-14 file in his rookie season behind the Rangers’ bench.
“There aren’t any fast fixes,” Davidson mentioned. “It’s laborious work, it’s persistence and it’s having the right resolve.”
Requested if he would really feel on the spot stress to generate outcomes underneath the klieg lights of New York, Davidson mentioned, “I’ve no issues with that.”
“If you wish to do it proper and do it nicely, there’s all the time stress,” he added. “Clearly, the earlier you win the higher. That’s the purpose. However it’s a must to do it the correct approach. I’ll assess every thing.”
Apart from, the reminiscences of the finals loss in 1979 are nonetheless contemporary.
“He didn’t end it then,” Davidson’s spouse, Diana, mentioned. “That’s the rationale he wished to come back again and end this. You have been ‘this far’ from the Cup.”