Sather Out as General Manager in New York

USATSI_7937717_154158418_lowresGlen Sather is out as general manager in New York and Jeff Gorton is in. The move was made on Wednesday and Sather will remain as team president.

“We’re going to work together, I don’t plan to work as a one-man team,” Gorton said via BlueshirtsUnited. “I think we’ve had success as a team because of the people here. I’m going to use Glen as much as I can. He’s going to be a part of it. To have somebody like Glen in our corner, and to be able to bounce things off of, and talk to what we are thinking, that’s obviously a benefit to me and everybody else here.”

Gorton has been in the front office for the past eight seasons and served as the assistant general manager for the past four.

Sather hooked up with the Rangers in 2000 after five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers.

“I just felt that it was time to move a little bit, I mean the clock ticks for everyone,” Sather said. “You look at the managers in the NHL, they’re all getting younger, they’re not getting older. So I think the relationships managers have to have with one another makes it a lot easier for Jeff to be involved than to have me involved.”

Sather’s departure as general manager is kind of the end of an era. He was the guy who told Peter Pocklington to do “whatever it takes” to get a player named Wayne Gretzky. He was the coach of the Edmonton Oilers when they joined the NHL and was eventually promoted to president and general manager, where he named Barry Watson as his first head coach – for a while.

In his first draft as GM, Sather selected Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Andy Moog. Then, in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, he picked up Grant Fuhr and Steve Smith and it was off to the races. His Oilers scored a record 417 goals in the 1981-1982 season, with Gretzky scoring 92 for a total of 212 points.

Sather’s Oilers proceeded to go on a historical tear, with the GM serving as head coach for periods of time. It wasn’t all wine and roses for Edmonton under Sather, though, as he had to ship Gretzky out of town because the owner needed the bank. Sather reportedly tried to stop the deal, but eventually gave in and asked for Luc Robitaille in exchange for the Great One. We all know how that worked out.

Eventually, Sather’s Oilers were left to operate without key pieces. Mark Messier, Kurri and Esa Tikanen had left for greener pastures and Pocklington’s cost-cutting led to the decline. Sather was always good at making trades, but a lack of scouting and drafting prowess left the Oilers handcuffed. He left the organization in 2000 and joined the Rangers.

Sather drafted well in New York, picking up the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, and Marc Staal. He even coached 90 games over his tenure, having to step in after the firings of Ron Low and Bryan Trottier.

But things had been rocky with the Rangers and fans often called for Sather to be fired. Things reached a fever pitch in 2010 with a “Fire Sather” rally across from Madison Square Garden.

Sather was a general manager epitomized by big moves and personality. Or, as he said when he made the trade for Eric Lindros in 2001, “It’s better to be a lion for one day than it is to be a mouse for life.”


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