In a move that to may come as a surprise to some but certainly a shocker to none, the New York Rangers announced earlier today that head coach John Tortorella will be let go after serving five years behind the Blueshirts bench. Tortorella, known for his overbearing style of management with his players and his sometimes brash attitude toward the New York media has been terminated by Rangers upper management effective immediately.
Even after leading New York to the playoffs four times in the past five years, a 171 regular-season wins and a trip to last years Eastern Conference Finals, Torts may have finally worn out his welcome as both players and management have finally grown tired of his schtick.
Coming into the season as perennial Stanley Cup favorites, Tortorella’s squad seemingly underperformed all year and just couldnt seem to get the necessary wheels in motion. Even after signing star winger Rick Nash this past offseason, the Rangers offensive woes were apparent all year while also failing to match the grit that defined this Rangers squad and was key to their success the past few seasons.
While a second round ousting at the hand of the Boston Bruins certainly didnt help his cause, speculation in New York is that the dismissal of the coach was unrelated to the Rangers early round exit.
In an interview with New York Post’ reporter Brett Cyrgalis, Rangers GM Glen Sather was quoted as saying “It wasn’t one thing, and I’m not going to speculate or start to criticize what happened with Torts and give you a lot of reasons why we decided to do this,” Sather continued to say “After the analytical work we do every year at the end of season trying to decide how we’re going to improve the team and how we’re going to move forward, this is a decision we made, a decision that was consulted with some people so that everyone knew what was going to happen.”
“Removing anybody from the coaching role of the New York Rangers is a difficult decision,” Sather said, “but I think I made the right decision so that we can go forward in another direction.”
After now parting ways with their head coach, Rangers management still has some tough decisions to make heading into offseason with the number one issue concerning embattled star Brad Richards. Richards, who steep decline in performance had him relegated to New York’s fourth line towards the end of the season and eventually the bench in this years playoffs, signed a nine-year $60 million deal signed with the Rangers 2011.
In an effort to decrease his cap hit while also freeing up some room to sign some of their younger talent, Richards appears primed to be headed down a similar compliance buyout path New York went down with former defenseman Wade Redden at the end of last season.