Off-Ice Ranger Fixes for 2010-11

I had every intention of writing a complete analysis of what the Rangers should do in the off-season to bolster the team for next season — trades, buy-outs, demotions, call-ups,and free agent signings.  Then I read this amazing piece from Class Act Sports.  It stole my thunder.  So rather than lift that writer’s content, I’ve revamped my approach and am going to give my thoughts on what I’d like the team to change for next year OFF the ice to make the Rangers a better organization.   Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Bring in the next GM and give him a year under Sather (assuming Sather stays of course, and all systems point to yes).  If Mess is that guy, so be it.  But make a decision.
  • Make an organizational mandate that whatever system the Rangers use will be taught in Hartford, and in all minor league teams the Rangers control.  Think Money Ball and how all Oakland players learned to hit the same way. 
  • Have coaching lessons on the pre-game show.  Kind of like what ESPN is doing now with Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp.  Real coaches giving real advice.  Don’t dumb it down.  Have Maloney get on the ice and show us how to defend a 2-on-1 or how to control the puck on the boards.  Show us what it’s like to be a young player learning.
  • Do a Hard Knocks Rangers, or at least a simplified version that is easier/cheaper to produce.  Show us what the locker room is like, how the players tape their sticks, what it’s like hanging out after practice.  The Caps allowed Sports Jobs With Junior Seau to do this.  Take the money you would spend filming a pregame show and do a budget version of this.  Show me the players’ personalities and how much they train.  Show the war room before the trading deadline or the draft.  For example, I loved the tidbit from before this year before of Hollweg, Staal, and Strudwick (The Bubblegum Gang) playing Rock Band in their apartment.  Humanize the team.  Bring the Rangers to the fans. 
  • Give better deals on season tickets.  You didn’t sell them last year anyway.  You can always screw us and raise tickets once the team and economy rebound.
  • Related, stop dumping the Thrasher games in with the 10-game plans.  No one buys the plans cause of that, especially when you can get individual game tickets cheaply. 
  • Have your Foxwoods viewing parties on Saturdays.  It’s nice that you cater to your aging fan base (seriously), those people that actually can get to middle of nowhere Connecticut by 7 pm on Thursday.  But throw us working folk a bone.  Think of it as a long term dividend.
  • Have more Q&As with players, trainers, middle executives, etc.  And not the scripted versions with questions planted in the audience.  Allow real questions, even if it’s painful.
  • Allow bloggers (and not the Rangers’ own bloggers or bottom-barrel ones like me) more media access.  Give Stu Hackel, for example, more room to get insights and report. 
  • Sather and Dolan should give interviews with people that will ask tough questions, but respectfully.  Maybe with a panel of the top writers from the local rags.  (I was going to put them in the Q&A part, but that would have been a blood bath.)
  • Make Schoenfeld just an assistant coach or just the Wolf Pack’s GM.  Not both.  The duties are way too disparate; dividing his time has to have negative consequences for both teams.
  • And on a personal note, when someone buys a package of two tickets, 2 t-shirts, a hat, and a calendar, then you screw them by changing games on them and then further screw them by giving them worse seats at the screwed over game, AT LEAST GIVE THEM THE T-SHIRTS, HAT, AND CALENDAR.  OR AT LEAST RETURN THEIR MESSAGES ASKING WHY THEY GOT SCREWED.  It’s customer service 101 (and theft).

Topics: Glen Sather, James Dolan, John Tortorella, Mark Schoenfeld, New York Rangers, Stu Hackel

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