March 1, 2012; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers coach John Tortorella during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC center. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes, 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

What John Tortorella Must Do To Help The Rangers

This team is getting ridiculous. They are becoming unwatchable. The Rangers have not lived up to incredibly high expectations so far this season and I believe they hit a new low point Saturday in Montreal. There have been many problems with the team and many fans have been speculating to what seems to be the main problem. The top guys haven’t been playing well at all, their defense has been awful, the power play is dreadful, and now the injury bug is starting to bite. There is no question that these are all problems that the Rangers have and many more that I didn’t say. But is John Tortorella starting to lose this team? The Rangers are going through the motions as of now but how much of the responsibility falls on John Tortorella? I have said many times John Tortorella is a heck of a hockey coach and his skill will really be tested in the upcoming weeks as this team continues to go through so much adversity. I feel John Tortorella must do some things to get this team headed in the right direction. For starters I feel that he must adapt his system to this new hockey club. The Rangers are more of a talented team than they  have had in the past. Instead of all the grinding and shot-blocking they should let their talent take over. They should let the players create their own chances instead of sticking to a system of grittiness. I feel this would benefit the Rangers the most going forward. Secondly, I believe that he shouldn’t be so strict with  everyone on the team. If anyone makes a mistake I don’t always think the solution is benching the players. It could hurt their confidence and maybe get them off their game. I believe he should send the guys out there at times and see if these players can redeem themselves more often. And finally I feel Tortorella should play the best players. If Kreider or Miller is playing better than Richards or Gaborik (given the right situation) then by all means let the kids play. Sometimes I think Torts doesn’t trust his young players enough. He should keep using them and I believe he is going to in this stretch of time as injuries continue to mount. John Tortorella is a great coach, he will need to be even better to help this team advance as they go through combat.

  • Jeanine Geffe

    So essentially you are saying torts would be more effective if he was a different coach.
    The guy is incapable of change

  • Robert Roth

    I’m a big fan of Tortorella but he does need to change/adapt with the team he has, but he wont. The solution is find someone who will work with what they’ve got. Lindy Ruff comes to mind.

    To get into detail, the Rangers spend so much energy diving in front of every shot and the result is a a blocked shot that diverts to an open player that the best goalie in the league wasn’t intending on seeing them shoot in the first place. For starters…let your goalie, the best in the league last year…see every shot. Have the defenders tie up opponent’s sticks and stay OUT of the shooting lanes.

    With all the running around trying to block every shot, once the Rangers get possession they’re too tired to mount an offensive attack. Which is why when they do get into the offensive zone, almost all possessions are 1 and done. They get few second chances in the zone, and what first chances they do get are from the perimeter where the opponents let their goalies see and control…..hint the opposite of what the Rangers do.

    If there’s one thing that was learned from last year’s playoff run it is this…Tortorella’s system is not sustainable for the long haul during an 82 game season plus playoffs. Even with impeccable conditioning the demands of the system and the game are too high to sustain that level of panic and exertion for that long. Watch back over the Washington and Ottawa series’ last year and watch the opponents simply possess the puck getting the Rangers to run around and dive everywhere…then as they tire they then advance the puck to the net with high levels of success.

    Mark Messier said when the Rangers fired Roger Neilsen back in the day that if you have a thoroughbred, you don’t have them pulling wagons. The Rangers with their speed and skill are thoroughbreds. They need to be playing a pressure game, not this 5 guys in the box BS in front of Hank. He’s arguably the best goalie in the world right now…let him do his job. But pressure other teams in every square inch of ice and use your speed and skill in the transition game to put teams on their heels, not trying to grind it out in the trenches and hoping to get some ugly goals and counter punch.

    Nice article though and some points I’ve been making to friends/fans for some time now. It’s time for the Rangers to make a change. A fresh voice. The make up of the team is good. They have a 2 year window to get a Cup in before they have to make some hard $ decisions on personnel. So get it done now.

    • JB10

      I agree with you both. Before this article I wrote an article that was much more cynical towards Tort’s and I did say he was too stubborn to change. Although all indication gives us reason to believe that he won’t change, it would still be unfair to make the assumption considering he is a great coach. Let’s just hope he knows that he has to adapt or he could lose his job before the end of the season. So let’s see what John Tortorella is made of but I do agree with you guys. There is no way this team is cut out for a grind/shot-blocking system like they were in previous years under Tortorella. They have to let their talent flourish and instead it has been diminishing. It will be interesting to see what happens going forward but great comments guys. Thanks for reading and please follow myself and the site. It is truly a great blog. LGR!!!!!