Rangers uncertain direction is hurting them in search for coach

Montgomery (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News)

Having multiple options is usually a very good thing. Unfortunately for the Rangers it cost them Jim Montgomery and may continue to hamper them in their search for a new coach.

Rebuild or Retool

Larry Brooks not so long ago wrote that, Quibbling over whether the Rangers are entering a “complete rebuild” or “aggressive retool” represents a mindless waste of energy.” While that may be true, it matters to certain people, particularly those taking over as head coach.

You see, the Rangers aren’t fully committed either way because they have so many options that they can take. It is likely what caused them to lose out on the coach they wanted, Jim Montgomery.

As we wrote recently, Montgomery’s comments after being hired by Dallas raised red flags on the Rangers situation. Now, as we are learning more about the situation, this particular quote resonates further.

“In our two interviews, he was very confident how to build, how to continue, what he has and where they are going. That was my first question, what are your expectations? He said they want to win, are at the peak of our window for next two-to-five years. It was matter-of-fact, not selling, but what he believes. He’s elite at what he does, no BS, here’s what we are doing and where we are going.”

I’ve learned that Montgomery was genuinely concerned with the uncertainty of the path the Rangers wanted to take. Initially, the objective is to teach and develop younger players like Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. The monkey wrench in the plan is going out on the UFA market and bringing in the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk and possibly, John Tavares. What would that mean? Develop kids, but hey we have to make the playoffs and win the Cup too? What coach coming out of the minors or college wants that task at their feet.

Sure if successful, they will have paved their future in gold but it’s more likely to bust and damage future job offerings.

Where the Search Stands Now

While B.U. coach, David Quinn’s name still lingers out there, you have to wonder if he didn’t have a call with the Rangers, heard what Montgomery heard and opted to stay where he is. On Bob McKenzie’s recent podcast he said, I believe their guy was Jim Montgomery, that that was who they wanted to be their head coach. I don’t know whether a contract was ever offered or not and if Montgomery had a choice between the Rangers and the Dallas Stars, but in any case, Montgomery is the head coach in Dallas, not in NY.”

McKenzie in essence is confirming everything I’ve learned about the situation too. However, the lack of a definitive direction is not helping right now in the search for a coach. If it continues, it will also hurt the chances of luring Sheldon Keefe to NY.

The Rangers are going to have to make their direction more concrete in order to land the next man they want behind the bench. Otherwise, they will be bringing in an out of work veteran coach that may not fit the final plan they decide on.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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