May 25, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; New York Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) in game five of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Should John Tortorella Be Fired?

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

With the season over the Rangers have not met expectations that were expected of them when the season started. The question is how much of the blame comes onto the coaching staff. The question of “should Torts be fired” will be asked so many times this off-season. There has not been any indication so far that Sather is leaning on firing Tortorella or the other members of the coaching staff. But should he be leaning on that decision? Is John Tortorella the right coach for this Ranger team going forward? He is he the problem with the team to why they cannot reach their full capability? I am not a fan of Tortorella as of now but obviously there are good things he brings to the table. Let’s look at two arguments to see if Tortorella is the right coach for the team:

Argument For Why We Should Keep Tortorella From A Tortorella Supporter: “Let me say this to start. Isn’t it the players playing the game? Last time I checked the coach does not play. He prepare his army for battle and it’s up to the players to perform. Tortorella has certainly done that over the years here in New York. We had our best year since 1997 last season.  We also were the only team besides the LA Kings to reach the 2nd round of the playoffs both last year and this year. There is consistency with John Tortorella. He has had success with this franchise so far when he’s been here and he will continue to do so. Where was our big stars and key players this series? Outside of Lundqvist everyone on the ice did not perform and that resulted in us losing to the Bruins in five. Not to mention we had two huge injuries in Clowe and Staal. It was not on Torts. He didn’t even know what he had this year in terms of players with the whole middle of the line-up. He got a team that was not expected to do anything last year all the way to the conference finals. He didn’t have a training camp this season.  Give him a training camp and watch what he will be able to do. He expects a lot from his guys and never accepts less than a 110% effort from anyone in the line-up. He has brought the team incredibly far in his tenure so far and he is not one to accept failure. If he continues as head coach of the team as he should, he will bring home the Stanley Cup to Broadway.”

Argument For Why We Should Fire Tortorella From A Tortorella Hater:“The Rangers failed to meet expectations this season. They were suppose to win the Stanley Cup and they lost in the 2nd round to the Bruins where they were dominated in four of the five games of the series. It was a step backwards from last year. Who is to blame? It is absolutely the head coach. The man has been terrible all season. What is scary is that the Rangers have many talented players, a very good defense, the best goaltender in the world and they lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Like I just stated, the Rangers got dominated by Boston as Claude Julien proved he was the far superior coach in this series. Everything the Rangers did “system” wise the Bruins completely picked apart each and every game. The Bruins found an easy way past the Rangers defensive zone collapsing throughout the series. They would put three players up on the blue line so when a Bruin player would fake a shot every Ranger would over commit to block the shot. Then the Bruin player would dish it off to either the forward that was up high or the other defenseman on the point giving them a wide open lane. It was brutal to watch, again. I say again because the same reasons the Rangers got ousted by Boston this season were the same reasons they lost against New Jersey in the conference finals a year ago. Horrible system in the defensive zone, no breakout to get out of their zone, atrocious power play, not enough  offense, and over reliance on Lundqvist. For the last two seasons the Rangers have lost because of the same things they keep doing. It is not rocket science either to figure out a way around the Rangers stone-aged system. It is easy to coach against and play against. Just ask Torey Krug. John Tortorella worked last year because of the blue-collared team he had. This year he had a different team with much more talent and yet he told many of his players to just dump n’chase and block shots. It has been the same nonsense with John Tortorella. Isn’t it ironic how last year in the playoffs he told Chris Kreider to just play and he was the team’s best offensive forward because of all his talent. In game 4 of this series he threw him on a line with Nash in  desperation mode (when it was already too late to save the season BTW) and he wound up scoring the OT goal. During the regular season Torts taught Kreider his system that did not fit Kreider at all. He also only played the kid 3 minutes a game. Kreider was such a waste. How about when he told Moore, Brassard, and Clowe to go out and just have fun in their first game with the Rangers. They combined for 4 goals and several other points in their first game. I believe it is no coincidence that this happened like that. Tortorella has been diminishing the talent on the team in order for them to play a way that already is so poor to begin with. The Rangers have many players who have the talent, but that talent needs to be nurtured in order for them to succeed. Those players are Nash, Stepan, Kreider and Brassard. They also have many guys that just need their talent to be unlocked. Those players are Del Zotto, Moore, Miller, and Hagelin. They need a player’s coach who will work with the individual’s strengths instead of sacrificing those strengths to play a system that already has a ton of flaws. If the Rangers were to play a boring, mid-90′s, Devil’s trap and they were sacrificing talent but winning with that system I would be OK with that. But even with this defensive minded system they are already giving up so many chances a game to the point where Lundqvist has to stand on his head. He is the only reason the team has made it as far as they did the last two years. Not the coaches. And the system is just the cake. I did not even touch on the delicious frosting with their stellar power play. What a joke it is and someone should be fired just for that. Tortorella’s inability to change his philosophy has killed the team this season. And please don’t even begin with the ‘he didn’t have a training camp’ excuse. If he has a training camp all he would do is teach more guys like Nash and Kreider to block shots better. If he proved he hasn’t been able to change on the fly this year when there was such a need too, what makes you think he will change when he has time to brain-wash his players even more? Also another reason to get rid of him NOW is the fact of how many coaches are available this off-season. The entire Canucks staff is available, Guy Boucher is a genius just sitting at home right now, Lindy Ruff is available, Dave Tippet could be available if he leaves Phoenix, Dallas Eakins is the head coach of the Toronto Marlies where he won a Calder Cup last season, and Jim Schoenfeld is currently with the Rangers affiliate. There are too many options as we speak to where it would be a sin to keep this stubborn coach. We must fire him immediately so we can utilize our talent and stop wasting the prime years of the best goalie in the world NOW.”

Final Thoughts: I truly believe more in the second argument despite the fact that Tortorella has proven himself. Unfortunately for Tortorella, he has not won a whole lot since the game changed from the 2005 lockout. With that said I still have a good hunch that he will come back next season. But he must adapt and change his philosophy. If he does not and continues to make the same mistakes he made this year the Rangers will continue to not reach expectations. What are your thoughts on the coaching situation?

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