LOS ANGELES - Glen Sather offered a rare glimpse into his thoughts and feelings on the job he has done as Rangers president and general manager, including why he likes to remain at more than arm's length from the media: "I think managers should be in the background.
"This is the coaches' world, the players' world," he said.But in the National Hockey League, it is a general manager's team. He is the one who brings in the coach and the players. This year, Sather's choices have brought the Rangers within four wins of the Stanley Cup.
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So there he was on a podium Tuesday, holding a news conference alongside coach Alain Vigneault, talking about the season, his 14-year tenure and the man who hired him, Garden executive chairman James Dolan. From Sather's perspective on the eve of Game 1, it's all good.
It was especially good for a decision-maker whose work was done weeks, months and years ago when he named Vigneault the coach and made deals for Ryan McDonagh, Martin St. Louis and other key players. A veteran of Stanley Cup Finals with the Oilers, Sather knows what the ultimate series means for a general manager:
"It's really complicated. Today it took us about three hours to figure out which golf course we were going to play on this afternoon, then later on this evening we have the question about dinner. What are you going to watch on TV tonight? Is 'Game of Thrones' on? It's tough," he said.
But seriously . . .
"I think it's fun. I hope our team thinks it's fun. I hope the fans like it. It's a very intense time of the year for everyone. If you can get through that intensity and enjoy it, it's great."
There were times when Rangers fans did not think his reign was fun or funny. They saw big-money acquisitions fail and perceived Sather as an executive who was aloof, out of touch and frustratingly untouchable.
"I don't think it's been rocky," he said. "Every year there's only two teams that fight for the Stanley Cup and there's one that wins. It takes time to get in this position. Anyone that's been in the hockey business knows what it can be like, and it's complicated. I don't see any great personal satisfaction."
Sather is happy for Dolan, whom he called, "an interesting, complex, caring human being [who] is probably a little bit apprehensive at letting himself be known by the media. Most people like that are.
"I get along with him fine," Sather said. "I like to be friends with the people I work with . . . At the same time, you have to be respectful. I do respect him."
What he thinks about most people and things generally is an open question. Sather joked about his penchant for being silent. Players, though, say he talks plenty with them. Dominic Moore, in his second tour with the Rangers, said, "He's a very good guy, a good person. He cares about players as people, too, which I think is one of the things you respect most about him."
Chris Kreider called the general manager "very helpful, very honest, very communicative. If you need something, you know he's there."
Yesterday was a rare opportunity for the media to communicate with Sather, however, so he received the great share of reporters' questions -- after which Vigneault told his boss, "I really like it when you're around. I've got nothing to do."