Just hours after landing back on familiar ground Tuesday night, John Davidson was walking on a Manhattan sidewalk with his wife, Diana, who turned and said, “Doesn’t it feel like we never left?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re absolutely right.”
Cherishing the moment, Davidson — or J.D. — was back at Madison Square Garden today, officially introduced as the new president of the Rangers. Once a star goaltender who helped lead the club to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals and later an adored TV commentator, he returns with a vow of patience mixed with steely resolve.
“There’s no real secret to it, there’s no magic bullet,” he said. “There’s no blender where you can pull out a real good hockey team. You have to build it, you have to work it.”
Thinking Everything Through
A foundation and organization culture developed by outgoing president Glen Sather, general manager Jeff Gorton and coach David Quinn, he said, gives him a head start. And after building winners in St. Louis and Columbus, Davidson is now one of the NHL’s most respected executives — an accomplishment that doesn’t surprise his old teammates, including two former captains, Ron Greschner and Dave Maloney.
“When a team is going through a building process like the Rangers,” said Greschner, “you need stability. John will not make any decisions just to make them. He thinks everything out before he acts.”
To Maloney, Davidson was a mentor who offered quiet counsel in the glory years of the late 1970s.
“Here I was, the captain, all wound up, and he would say to me, ‘how about trying it this way?’ He’s a big presence and just a solid human being. If anyone gets what the Rangers mean to New York, it’s him.”
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