The surprise move comes with just three games left in the regular season.
In a surprising move, the New York Rangers fired President John Davidson and Jeff Gorton on Wednesday afternoon.
NYR have fired John Davidson and Jeff Gorton
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 5, 2021
The Rangers have been in the news since Monday’s game against the Washington Capitals. During the game, Capitals forward Tom Wilson was involved in multiple serious altercations with more than one Rangers player.
The most serious of Wilson’s actions came against Rangers’ star player Artemiy Panarin. Wilson seriously hurt Panarin, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Had Panarin landed on the ice in a different position when Wilson dragged him down, he could have cracked his skull.
Wilson, who has a track record committing such acts, was fined $5,000 for his hit on Panarin. This infuriated many, including the Rangers, who released quite the statement on Tuesday in response to Wilson’s punishment.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 4, 2021
Not 24 hours later, Davidson and Gorton were fired. Chris Drury will take over within the organization.
The speculation was that they were fired in response to the statement, but it’s been reported that ownership had been mulling over this for some time and felt that the team underachieved this season.
The entire situation is puzzling. If the Rangers were keen on firing Davidson and Gorton, why not wait until the end of the season? After all, there are just three games remaining.
Secondly, it’s strange that the owners wouldn’t be satisfied with the direction the team is headed in. “The letter”, which announced (in not so many words) that the team would begin rebuilding after almost a decade of success and deep playoff runs, was released three years ago.
The Rangers now have one of the best young teams in the league and are already a fringe playoff team. Had they been in any other division, they would be playing playoff hockey this season.
Panarin, the team’s best player, is one of the best in the league. After getting off to a slow start, Mika Zibanejad has looked like himself over the past few months.
Ryan Strome has proven that last season wasn’t a fluke. Pavel Buchnevich is having his best season yet and could become a staple in this lineup. Kaapo Kakko has turned things around and was an elite two-way forward this season.
Guys like Filip Chytil and Ryan Lindgren took a significant step forward. Alexis Lafrenière has begun to put up points. Adam Fox is one of the best defenseman in the league and should be a Norris Trophy candidate. Igor Shesterkin emerged as the goalie of the future.
The Rangers are in fantastic shape and should like what they’ve seen from this young and incredibly talented group. We might never find out what the real reason was behind the firings, but what more could ownership have realistically wanted from this team?
This season continues to get stranger for the Rangers. All eyes will be on James Dolan and company to see who they bring in to take over for Davidson and Gorton next season.