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Rangers swoop in and steal coach right out from Islanders’ nose!

Love it! The Empire State rivalry will never die!

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The New York Rangers announced yesterday afternoon that they’ve hired former NHL player and WHL coach Steve Konowalchuk as an amateur scout.

Check it out:

OFFICIAL: NYR have named Steve Konowalchuk as an Amateur Scout.
In his role, Konowalchuk will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the WHL.

Konowalchuk, who played 790 career games with the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche, has been the head coach of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds for the past six seasons. While with the Thunderbirds, Konowalchuk won a WHL championship and led the team to a 2017 Memorial Cup appearance. Perhaps most interestingly, Konowalchuk mentored a young Mathew Barzal, now of the New York Islanders, in Seattle, the two former teammates will now face off in one of the NHL’s biggest rivalries. Under Konawalchuk, Barzal scored a remarkable 10 goals and 79 points in just 41 games during Seattle’s championship 2016-17 season. The two reportedly share a close relationship, but it remains to be seen how that’s effected now that they’re on opposite sides of the ice. If nothing else, it looks like the Islanders missed out on hiring a top hockey mind with direct ties to their burgeoning, young superstar.

For the full press release of the hiring courtesy of the Rangers’ official website, read below:

New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has named Steve Konowalchuk as an Amateur Scout.
In his role as an Amateur Scout, Konowalchuk, 45, will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He joins the Rangers organization after serving as an Assistant Coach with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2017-18 season. Konowalchuk was the Head Coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL for six seasons (2011-12 - 2016-17). In his final season with Seattle in 2016-17, he helped the Thunderbirds win the WHL Championship and advance to the Memorial Cup. Konowalchuk began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the Colorado Avalanche for two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11) after working with Colorado’s player development department in 2007-08.
Konowalchuk skated in 790 career NHL games over parts of 14 seasons (1991-92 - 2005-06) with the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche, registering 171 goals and 225 assists for 396 points, along with a plus-69 rating and 703 penalty minutes. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, he became the first player born in Utah to play in the NHL. Konowalchuk was Washington’s co-captain during the 2001-02 season and the team’s only captain for two seasons (2002-03 and 2003-04). He registered at least 40 points in a season five times in his NHL career, and he established career-highs in goals (24) and points (47) in 2000-01. Konowalchuk also represented the United States in international competition on several occasions throughout his career, and he helped the United States win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.