After 4 full seasons with the New York Rangers, Glen Sather and the organization have decided to fire head coach John Tortorella.
The news came unexpected at around 1 pm Wednesday afternoon. New York was shell shocked. With no training camp and no preseason, everybody was expecting Tortorella to stay for next season. But, in Sather’s eyes he just wasn’t getting the job done.
The fanbase was basically split in half between Tortorella lovers and haters. I was extremely shocked when I got the alert on my phone, I was at least expecting him to stay through the first few months of next season.
After reading into this more on Twitter, it was reported that there were many disagreements between management and Tortorella, which led to his departure. In his press conference Sather said “Every coach has a shelf life” and that John was a “little shocked.” A little? This man was looking forward to getting back at it next season. He sounded so optimistic in his exit interview and then he just gets fired right out of the blue. But that is how sports work, you have to expect the unexpected.
Tortorella’s firing solidifies the talk of Brad Richards being bought out of his contact. Richards was one of Tort’s favorites, and with him gone, we should expect a buyout in the summer of good ole’ Brad.
We are just 5 days into the offseason and the head coach has already been fired. What’s next? Well, we can also expect that when a new coach is eventually hired Mike Sullivan will be gone as well as the head coach always picks his staff and I am sure Sullivan is not on his list.
Here’s 3 reasons why Tortorella got the axe:
1. Powerplay woes
For the past couple of years, the Rangers powerplay has seen a serious decline under the Tortorella regime. In this shortened regular season and the playoffs it was no different. In the 2013 postseason the Blueshirts went a horrendous 4-for-44 on the man advantage (9.1%) in 12 playoff games.
This all stems back to the system. Ever since Torts arrived here in New York, his system has always been ultra defensive and he never focused much on the offensive side of the game. This type of system wares down your top players and also puts tremendous pressure on the goaltender. This scheme won him the Cup in 2004 but that was then and this is now. The league has changed, you can no longer play with a defensive system. As we saw with this Rangers team, it just didn’t work, and it is just one of the many reasons why Tortorella was fired.
2. Henrik’s Comments?
As every team does after their season is over, players participate in exit interviews, where they usually reflect on the season and look ahead hoping to improve. Lundqvist becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, and if there is one thing that this organization doesn’t want, it is letting Hank test free agency. Teams will be all over him with overwhelming contract offers.
When asked about a contract extension, Lundqvist stated “I’ll talk to my agent and we’ll see.” This drove everybody bananas. Then the fanbase started to wonder if he is thinking about leaving. The way he sounded in his exit interview, Hank didn’t seem too happy with where this team finished and where this team is headed. I believe that Lundqvist’s comments are one of the reasons why Sather decided to fire Torts.
Then yesterday the Rangers general manager came out and said “We will be signing Lundqvist to a contact extension.” Now the fanbase can breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Hank isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully.
3. Misuse of Rick Nash
The Rangers went out last summer and acquired one of the most dangerous wingers in the league. The lockout made us wait a little longer for his debut, but when he was out on the ice, he was a tremendous addition. Nash had a great regular season but failed to produce in this year’s postseason, why?
The problem was that Tortorella could not find any way to create offense for the star forward. Torts’ dump and chase approach directly contradicts Nash’s playing style of weaving through defenses to make plays for himself and his teammates.
John seemed almost hesitant to just let Nash play, and that was a big reason the star couldn’t find his way in the playoffs.
Tortorella led the Rangers to one of their best seasons a year ago. The 1st seed and a Conference Finals appearance. His act just wore thin on Broadway, and now he is on the street looking for work.
It was a great ride John, but it’s time to say goodbye to the bright lights.
Potential Coaching Candidates: