Sorry I’ve been AWOL the last few days but between the Rangers loss to the Bruins, lack of computer access, and lack of thoughts over Tortorella’s firing, it’s been hard to write on here. I liked Torts as a coach though, but I thought he needed to go. Let’s get down to it though.
I don’t think Glen Sather initially wanted to fire Torts after the season. However, after the players exit interviews I don’t think he had much of a choice. I’m not saying it came down to this, but if the choice is Henrik Lundqvist or John Tortorella, you take Lundqvist every day of the week and twice on gameday. If the players weren’t going to play for Torts anymore than Sather has to fire John Tortorella. He really has no choice.
That being said though any future failure or futility of the team then it will be the players who are shipped out next. It’s up to the players now to perform basically regardless of who the coach is. I don’t see Sather making a terrible choice of who the next coach should be. In his press conference he mentioned playing to the styles of the Kings, Bruins, Penguins, and Blackhawks. That doesn’t sound like he’s going to hire an idiot like Barry Melrose or something. Personally speaking, the next coach selected cannot be a “hardass” like Torts was. If Sather hires a guy like Lindy Ruff or Marc Crawford he’s just hiring another Tortorella. That would be a huge mistake. Need to go back to a “players coach” like Tom Renney. Don’t know quite who that would be, but that’s why it’s not my job to hire a coach for the New York Rangers.
My thoughts on Torts in general is this. I was very glad he came in when he did back in 2009. He whipped the team back into shape and took a very strong Capitals team to a 7 game series. He also gave the finger to players like Gomez, Drury, and Roszival which needed to happen. He gave life to players like Callahan, Dubinsky, Prust, Boyle, Stepan, Del Zotto, and McDonagh. I thank him for that. But there have also been situations which he’s mishandled like Gaborik and Kreider. Every coach has their flaws though, and hopefully the Kreider situation will be resolved with the next coach who will be hopefully willing to give young kids ice time. I specifically point to 2010-11 though when Torts made the team play grind it out hockey and they actually had some good wins. They fought extremely hard through injuries to make the playoffs that year and we have Torts to thank for that. 2011-12 was the same deal even though the team was a bit better on paper. Still, a conference finals appearance is nothing to scoff at. That team overacheived to a certain extent for sure. I won’t even go into 2009-10 because that team wasn’t good enough at all. They deserved to miss the playoffs albeit in a shootout on the last day of the season.
This year though something changed. Suddenly the team was too good for Tortorella. They were too skilled. As the season wore on it became apparent that Tortorella couldn’t get this team together. The trades made at the deadline essentially saved the season from being one to forget. I don’t know when the players ultimately had the end of the rope with Torts but it definitely happened during the season at some point. Torts wasn’t ultimately fired for his lack of success, but rather the lack of success he would have had with this team in the future. Weird situation for sure, but that’s how it goes.
At the very least though, hopefully this means the Rangers will get a new and improved power play with Mike Sullivan most likely exiting the team soon as well.
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