James Dolan

Rangers’ owner James Dolan: “I think we’re pretty close”


Shutouts are becoming common Broadway these days. On Tuesday night, Henrik Lundqvist pitched his fourth shutout of the season – and the sixth shutout for the Rangers this season. But a far rarer occasion greeted members of the media after the game: Rangers’ owner James Dolan spoke to the Rangers media.

It’s peculiar that a shutout in January against the Nashville Predators would pull Dolan into the spotlight. Dolan hasn’t formally addressed the Rangers media in six seasons—so when he speaks, it tends to get people’s attention. He didn’t disappoint.

“… Glen [Sather] and I made a pact,” Dolan told members of the media. “I gave him something, which I won’t reveal today, but I gave him something to seal the pact. I said ‘You can’t give it back to me until we win the Stanley Cup.’ And I think we’re pretty close to getting that thing back.”

But wait, there’s more. Aside from telling the world that he thinks the Rangers are “pretty close” to winning the Cup, he went on to wax poetically about the greatness of general manager Glen Sather:

“For me it’s all about the system he built — of course its great coaching — but it’s about the farm system, the scouting system and the development — going with kids — and sticking with that philosophy even at times when it didn’t look so good.” Dolan told reporters. “So, I’m very proud of him and the organization.”

Predictably, John Tortorella brought the hammer down after Dolan’s lofty comments. “I have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup. That’s a bunch of bull—-. We need to take one game at a time.”

In summation: the Rangers owner thinks his team is close to winning the Stanley Cup, he thinks his general manager put together a great organization from top to bottom, and John Tortorella is still awesome.

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Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.

Canucks say Markstrom (hamstring) out another week — could it be longer?

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Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.

With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.

Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.

It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.

Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.