April 25, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers coach John Tortorella look on from the bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers-Capitals: Game 6 Could Decide Tortorella's Fate

May 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) waves to fans after receiving the first star of the game award against the Washington Capitals in game four of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Rangers win 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

 

After a huge momentum swing the Blueshirts came down from a 2-0 hole to tie the series with the Washington Capitals at two games a piece. They headed back to Washington with a pep in their step as they were looking to grab hold of a 3-2 lead heading back to Madison Square Garden for a Mother’s Day matinée.

After a tense 60 minutes in Washington on Friday the Rangers were heading to the second overtime of this series. Playoff overtimes in the past have not been very helpful for this team as they just don’t seem to get that lucky bounce that other teams do. Take last year’s Eastern Conference Final for example. Lundqvist thought he had the puck covered beneath him but Adam Henrique found it and stuffed it in to send New Jersey to the Cup Final.

Friday’s overtime was no different. Troy Brouwer‘s shot from the point was luckily deflected off of a Ranger defenseman in front. The puck bounced right to Mike Ribeiro who slammed it home to give the Caps a 3-2 series lead. Lundqvist slammed his stick in frustration as he had no real chance to make the save. Things like this happen in the playoffs. You just have to forget about it and move on.

Today’s Game 6 between the two teams could be pivotal for head coach John Tortorella. It could perhaps decide his future with the New York Rangers.

The Risk For Tortorella

Although Tortorella led the Blueshirts on a great ride to the Conference Finals last year, this season many fans were calling for his head when things were going downhill. Now, if the Rangers go out as a first round exit with the expectations that were put on them, Tortorella’s future will be in serious jeopardy.

Here are 3 major reasons why Tortorella could possibly get the axe:

  • Media Relations: As we have seen in the past, John does not get along well with the media. He has avoided questions and even mouthed off to innocent reporters who were just looking for information to write their stories. Although this is something Glen Sather probably won’t look at, it has to be addressed when wondering if Torts should be fired or not. Down below is one of the greatest examples of his relationship with media reporters:

  • Player development: Many fans have seen this year that Tortorella is not very good with the development of his AHL and junior players. Take JT Miller and Chris Kreider for example. Two forwards who are extremely capable of handling themselves in the NHL, yet they are in Connecticut playing with the Whale in the American Hockey League. In the shortened season, we saw both players get called up and called down which was hindering their development. If you want them to turn into great players then you need to leave them in one spot. You cannot keep calling them up and down just to play barely 10 minutes a game.
  • Wares down top players: Over the past few seasons, Tortorella’s “grind it out” system can really take a toll on top-flight players. His system is not tailored to players like Rick Nash and Brad Richards. In Game 2 Ryan McDonagh was on the ice for over 3 minutes before he took the eventual delay of game penalty which led to Mike Green‘s game-winning goal. Why was he out there for 3 minutes? Regular NHL shifts are 40 seconds to 1 minute tops. I understand that you want to win the game, but sometimes I feel that Tortorella is trying too hard to get a win.
Now, I don’t want people to get the impression that I hate Tortorella because I don’t. I even think that he shouldn’t be fired. I am just explaining why I think he may get the axe.

 

If Tortorella was to get fired, a possible replacement could be Lindy Ruff. Who was head honcho in Buffalo for 10+ years. Ruff didn’t accomplish much with Buffalo but that is because he didn’t really have a team. Ryan Miller is hit or miss, and they only had 3 or 4 goal-scoring forwards.

 

If Ruff was to make his way to the bright lights of Broadway, I think he would have great success. He would be taking over a team who has arguably the best goaltender in the league, one of the best defensive cores and great depth at forward.

 

Game 6 between the Caps and Rangers starts at 4:30 pm. Have some Xanax on hand and strap on your seatbelts. I would also apologize to your Mom in advance because things are going to get crazy when it comes time for puck drop.

If the Rangers lose Game 6, should Torts get the axe?

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Tags: John Tortorella National Hockey League New York Rangers Washington Capitals

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