Former New York Rangers general manager, Jeff Gorton was a guest on the Cam and Strick Podcast and opened up about the fiasco that became known as the Tom Wilson incident.
“No, I didn’t know it was going to turn into that, it surprised me,” Gorton answered. “Obviously, I lost my job – it probably has to be more than that. I don’t know but it has to be more than that – it can’t be just one thing.”
Jeff Gorton on the Tom Wilson incident
Podcast hosts Andy Strickland and former NHL tough guy, Cam Janssen wanted to know just what happened with the Tom Wilson incident. The former Rangers GM told them what he knew, but his shock of not being certain if that’s why he and John Davidson were fired was the biggest revelation.
“You can’t tell me JD who loves toughness didn’t know we weren’t tough,” Gorton revealed. “All the meetings we had with David Quinn talking about getting tougher over time, we also needed some of these young guys who were playing for us to have to deal with adversity – see how they did with it too.”
“Obviously it didn’t go well, and Wilson should’ve been suspended,” he said. “I didn’t think that night was going to be what it turned into – that people were going to lose their jobs.”
Gorton went on to say he was proud of how the Rangers responded the next night, and even commended Brendan Smith for taking on Wilson.
What Jeff also relayed is that the Rangers were not yet ready to win and needed to play the kids to see what they had. It sounded like if he had not been dismissed, adding players like Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves would’ve been deals he’s make.
Gorton was shocked by the Rangers statement on NHL DoPS
After the incident and learning Tom Wilson was only going to be fined $5000 for sucker-punching Pavel Buchnevich, the Rangers released a statement. With Artemi Panarin being out for the remainder of the season and no disciplinary action taken, they called for NHLDoPS head George Parros to step down.
Strickland asked who wrote the statement with Gorton explaining that it came from NY Rangers PR. He also noted that when it was released was the first time he saw it. “Yeah, I think that’s fair to say,” Gorton acknowledging his shock. “You might have seen it the first time I did.”
Gorton was also pressed if there was some other underlying story between Tom Wilson and the Rangers “Other than we play him all the time and he knew we didn’t have anyone to deal with him at the time,” he didn’t think there was more to it. “Wilson can be a bully so he took advantage, but I don’t know if there’s any other story beyond that.”
Jeff Gorton also revealed he continues to speak with John Davidson but has not heard from James Dolan since his firing.
An excellent an informative podcast you can check out here.
-Portions of this article originally appeared at Forever Blueshirts