Robinson Next Rangers Coach?

Larry Robinson has told the media, and, that he will talk to Sather about the Head Coaching job, but under circumstances.Larry Robinson is interested enough in coaching the Rangers to have called Glen Sather Tuesday night to set up an interview for early next week.
But he is not interested in leaving his fine consulting job with the Devils unless Sather is willing to let him coach exactly the way he wants – defense first and without a walkie-talkie hookup from the bench to the GM’s box.

“I coach a certain way and I’m not going to change my philosophy because somebody else feels the game should be played a certain way,” Robinson said yesterday from his Florida home. “It would be my rear end on the line. And if it is, I’m going to do it my way.”

Robinson is the Rangers’ first choice to coach next season. Scotty Bowman got his name into the mix over the weekend, but he and Sather would have to get past years of rivalry for that marriage to work.

While Robinson isn’t desperate to return to coaching a mere 18 months since being fired by the Devils, he admits to having an itch to get back behind a bench. “I think that once it’s in your blood, it’s always there,” he said. “And I kind of like a little bit of a challenge. So I think that’s kind of there.

“And yet, I have strong feelings for all the years with New Jersey. Being with the team the last three or four weeks, I saw all the kids that were just starting when I was coaching there.

“I think it’s nice to be able to take a job when you don’t have to.”

Clearly, Sather will have a lot of recruiting to do when he and Robinson get together in New York. But Sather’s best weapon in that battle hasn’t fired yet – Bobby Holik, an unabashed Robinson fan, has been playing phone tag with his former coach the past couple of days.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people about it, but the one I haven’t spoken to yet is Bobby Holik,” Robinson said. “Before I talk to anybody about the job, I want to talk to Bobby.”

When he talks to Sather, Robinson would like to get a clear picture of the GM’s roster plans. He would like some assurance that Brian Leetch will be re-signed. And while he didn’t reveal his preference either way, he would want to know whether Mark Messier is coming back. However, Robinson said he would not request any power over personnel decisions – just a chance to be heard on such matters. As long, that is, as the traditional GM/coach boundaries were respected in both directions.
“That’s not a situation I’d be comfortable with,” Robinson said when asked about the infamous walkie-talkie connection to the bench. “That was one great thing about coaching in New Jersey: I didn’t have that interference.”