The decision by James Dolan to relieve both John Davidson and Jeff Gorton of their responsibilities is his prerogative. He owns the team, not me or you, and he can do with it as he sees fit. Remember, at the end of the day it’s his name on the checks.
That being said, it’s very hard for me to understand what transpired to cause this 180 turnaround from just two seasons ago. It really doesn’t matter if I agree with the move or not, my role in covering the Rangers is to try and simply understand it.
However, when it comes to JD, there’s a little more to it than just “business” for me.
John Davidson comes home
When the Rangers made it official by naming JD the new President of the team, one team source told me, “You have to pinch yourself.” The excitement of his homecoming reverberated from 2 Penn Plaza to the far reaches of Rangers fandom around the world.
This was the man that coined the most popular phrase in the most important season in franchise history. His iconic delivery of “Oh Baby!” was the definition of the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup season. Not because it was catchy, but because when he said it, we all knew it was coming from his heart.
JD came to New York as a 22 year-old kid from the St. Louis Blues. He replaced an icon in Eddie Giacomin which was no easy task. Then he captured the hearts of the Garden Faithful with an improbable run to the 1979 Stanley Cup that fell short.
The man who wore 00 then became the voice of the team along with Sam Rosen endearing himself to another generation of Rangers fans – in particular, me. I fell in love with the game of hockey and his voice became synonymous with it.
If my passion comes through in how I cover the Rangers here or the game in general at The Daily Goal Horn, I make no apologies for it. As a kid growing up, I consumed everything hockey and bought numerous NHL videos. One of my all-time favorites was Super Dooper Hockey Bloopers that featured JD in a skit I still find hilarious.
Not the end for John Davidson I envisioned
This is not how I saw this all ending for John Davidson when he was hired in May of 2019. I saw not one, but several “OH BABY!” moments with him holding the Stanley Cup over his head in triumph down the Canyon of Heroes.
There are a number of people around the organization that are disappointed too. Like me, they don’t need to agree with the move, but they do need to understand it and move forward. This article isn’t about being upset over the decision. It is about being thankful for what JD did here two seasons. Moves he made will echo for years down the road, very much like they did in St. Louis when they eventually won the Cup.
Since I started this digital magazine (as I like to call it – I hate the term blog) in 2014, our readership has grown into the millions per year. Somehow in my heart I know that John Davidson will at least get wind of this article. I hope he reads it. If he does, I want to thank you for not only these last two seasons but for everything you mean to me and my love of this sport. You have instilled a passion for the Rangers and this game that are irreplaceable. For that I can never repay you, I can only thank you.
This is not the end anyone envisioned for JD in New York as President. With that being said, he is a Ranger and will always be a Ranger. For many like myself, he’s so much more.
Thank you JD.