In a shocking turn of events, the New York Rangers have reportedly fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton, sources told the New York Post on Wednesday.
Sources told the Post that owner and CEO James Dolan dismissed Davidson and Gorton and that assistant GM Chris Dury is believed to be the leading candidate for Davidon’s position while legendary Rangers’ captain Mark Messier is at the top of the list for team president.
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The move comes after the Rangers were eliminated from playoff contention for the fourth consecutive season amid what many believed was a team still in the midst of a rebuild.
Sources told TSN that firing was “coincidental” and unrelated to this week’s drama surrounding Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and the subsequent statement the team released slamming the NHL for not suspending him.
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Another source added that Dolan was unhappy with the season and felt they underachieved.
However, other reports cited sources saying that Davidson and Gorton tried to distance themselves from the statement that called NHL head of player safety George Parros “unfit” for the job.
“The New York Rangers are extremely disappointed that Capitals forward Tom Wilson was not suspended for his horrifying act of violence last night at Madison Square Garden,” the team statement began. “Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these types of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their department of player safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely.”
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The statement continued: “Wilson’s dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season. We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role.”
According to those reports, Davidson and Gorton were unaware that the statement was in the works until after it was released.
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The team has yet to release an official statement confirming the dismissals. The Rangers will face off against the Capitals again, Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.