Though the New York Rangers are making a cursory effort to mend fences with fans dismayed by the NHL’s recent lockout (giving away free tickets, hot dogs and hugs from Rod Gilbert), the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wondered in his Monday column about the club president’s conspicuous abscence.

On a Madison Square Garden Network special program signaling the return of the NHL, Sam Rosen opened an interview with Don Maloney, the Rangers’ assistant GM, by asking a question about Friday’s draft lottery.

Rosen should have started the interview with a more relevant inquiry: “Don, where is Glen Sather?”

The name of the MSG special was “Hockey’s Back.” A more appropriate title would have been: “Hockey’s Back – Sather’s Not.”

Considering that Rosen is the voice of those sappy, insincere radio commercials designed to sucker fans into buying tickets, there was no way the veteran Rangers houseman was going to ask a legitimate question. Especially one embarrassing to the pathetic disorganization employing him.

And yet, the absence of Sather, the team’s president/GM who according to Daily News Rangers beat man John Dellapina was off fishing somewhere north of Vancouver, was enough of an embarrassment in itself.

Sather’s absence again shows that the Rangers are a headless organization. It also shows Sather doesn’t care about fans.

Think about it. Appearing on the show, for the express purpose of informing and reaching out to their respective fan bases, were Devils boss Lou Lamoriello and Isles GM Mike Milbury. But on the MSG Network, the home of the Rangers, an assistant GM – Sather’s errand boy – is forced to do the shtick-handling.

If Sather (above) really cared about Rangers fans, he would’ve cut his vacation short. He not only would have appeared on the MSG program, but also attended that Manhattan gathering where NHL executives joined with commissioner Gary Bettman to formally bring back a league coming off a 310-day lockout – during which Sather had plenty of time to fish.

When it comes to fans and media, Sather is just an empty suit. So, some may say his absence on Friday was business as usual.

On a rare day like Friday, a man in charge of a team that has ripped off fans, an executive of a league that has bridges to rebuild with fans, needed to be front and center.

Instead of realizing the importance of this symbolic moment, and seizing it, Sather went fishing.