BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton and New York Rangers Director, European Scouting Nickolai Bobrov looks on during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Leen Amin

Jeff Gorton talks about his time with the Rangers and the eventful 2021 season.

Ex-New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton joined Cam Janssen and Andy Strickland on the Cam and Strick podcast to talk about his time on Broadway and the team’s eventful 2021 season.

Ex-Rangers head coach John Tortorella came up in conversation and Gorton talked about how much he loves the veteran coach. He said he loves him because he’s so honest and straightforward.

He said that no one ever sees it, but Tortorella has a huge heart and would do anything for his players and the people he works for.

He refers to Tortorella’s antics and tough behavior with the media a schtick to draw attention away from the players and that it’s part of his “evil genius”.

A headline of the 2021 Rangers was superstar Artemiy Panarin taking a leave of absence after being accused of assaulting a woman in 2011. Cam and Strick asked Gorton about the situation and what it was like.

Gorton said that the Rangers gave him space to work through it with his family and that the Rangers had security and staff members with connections making phone calls to make sure everyone is fine and that he’s comfortable and feels his family is safe.

Gorton reiterated that it was all about giving Panarin space and support. He also mentioned that Panarin was less worried than most people think and was mainly concerned about his family.

He has grandparents in Russia that he takes care of and were experiencing health issues, so he just wanted to make sure they were being treated well, were seeing the right doctors, and weren’t getting shut off.

The KHL coach who made the accusations against Panarin, Andrei Nazarov, played for the Bruins while Gorton was with them.

Cam and Strick asked Gorton if he reached out to Nazarov and Gorton said he didn’t because Nazarov is known for being a little “off” and the Rangers didn’t want to give the situation more attention than necessary.

Gorton went on to discuss former Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who became infamous for his behavior on social media and was bought out by New York after engaging in some type of altercation with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.

Gorton referred to DeAngelo as “passionate about how he thinks the world should work”. He said the Rangers understood that, but that he would have to speak to DeAngelo when he would cross the line and ask him if he thought it was worth it to go back-and-forth with the fans.

“We are in the entertainment business and people are paying for tickets here.”

Gorton said that he told teams that called about DeAngelo that he’s a good guy.

He notes that the Rangers, who were a young team, didn’t have enough veterans to hold DeAngelo accountable and keep him in check, but that he would be good for teams who do have that.

Gorton concluded by talking about the end of his tenure in New York. He said that they knew that the team lacked toughness and had to eventually get there, but that kids such as Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexis Lafrenière had to play, as well.

Gorton apparently didn’t know what the infamous Tom Wilson situation would become and was surprised by the outcome. It seems as though his dismissal was unexpected.

Regarding his successor Chris Drury, Gorton said he’s very hard-working and smart and that he always knew that he would be a general manager. The Rangers had “a ton of teams calling for him, rightfully so”.

Gorton said Drury is going to be good, something Rangers fans should be happy to hear.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.