James Dolan on the Knicks and Rangers rebuild
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Both the New York Rangers and New York Knicks are in a rebuilding phase, and James Dolan wants fans to be clear on one thing. 

Dom Renna

If you are a member of the New York Knicks or New York Rangers, James Dolan has a simple message for you: tanking is never going to be an option.

In an interview with Colin Stephenson of Newsday at Rangers practice in Vegas, Dolan spoke of the play about his two struggling teams.

“Not in my office. I think teams that tank are giving away something really big.” Dolan told Stephenson. “I think they’re giving away that emotional development for the team. So none of my teams are going to tank. I’ll never tell a team to lose.”

You can say what you want about Dolan. How he doesn’t know how to run a franchise and how he ran the Knicks into the ground a few years back, but you have to like what you are hearing from the 63-year-old owner.

A big part of rebuilding is establishing a winning culture and it appears Dolan knows that and is willing to enforce it.

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The Rangers are in the midst of a three-game losing where they have been outscored 18-3 during that span. Madison Square Garden’s other resident, the Knicks, have been just as bad entering play with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams have had their struggles, and both teams have some high moments, but the Rangers are in a different position than the Knicks and Dolan attributes that to one person: Henrik Lundqvist.

“If the Knicks had a [player equivalent to] Henrik, they’d probably be competing for a playoff spot,” Dolan told Stephenson.

Lundqvist has put the Rangers on his back once again in 2018-19 giving them a legitimate chance on any given night. Even with that, his last two games have not been up to the standard the 36-year-old has set for himself. He’s allowed 11 goals in his last two starts getting pulled in both games.

Even with Lundqvist and the Rangers struggling, Dolan does not seem too worried about the direction the team is going. He has no problems with the job newly hired David Quinn has done so far, and thinks the team can learn from these last few games.

“What it is, though, is an opportunity to learn, particularly for the kids. They’ll probably always remember this dip because it was so dramatic.” Dolan told Stephenson. “Hopefully, we won’t see one again, because they learn.”

The Rangers and Knicks are back in action Tuesday night as both teams continue their west coast trip. The Blueshirts are in Vegas as they take on the Golden Knights and the Knicks are in Golden State to take on the Warriors.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.