Rangers fire head coach John Tortorella

5/29/13 in NHL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The New York Rangers entered the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season as one of the heavy favorites to make their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, with players like Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, and Brad Richards leading the way. However, the Rangers found themselves fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch of the regular season. They fought their way up to the 6th seed in the playoffs, and were fortunate to be matched up with the 3rd seeded Washington Capitals, who were only seeded that high because they were division winners.

After falling to a 2-0 deficit in the series, the Rangers battled back and managed to win the series against the Capitals in seven games. When the Rangers went down 3-0 in the following series against the Boston Bruins, they didn't quite have the resiliency to make the comeback - the Bruins won the series 4-1.

After adding five-time All-Star Rick Nash to a squad that won the division in 2011-12, the Rangers organization was likely hoping for - at the very least - a top-4 finish in the East and an appearance in the Conference Finals. Unfortunately, the Rangers didn't come all that close to accomplishing either of those feats - they finished six points behind the 4th seeded Bruins, and were manhandled by Boston in the second round of the playoffs.
Blog Photo - Rangers fire head coach John Tortorella
Everyone knows what happens when a team with high expectations falls short of their preseason goals - the weight falls on the shoulders of the head coach. The case was no different for the Rangers, as they have fired head coach John Tortorella.

Tortorella had just wrapped up his fifth season as the Rangers' head coach (fourth full season) since taking over for Tom Renney midway through the 2008-09 season. He experienced some solid success during the regular season, making the playoffs four out of his five years as New York's bench boss. However, he only made it out of the first round of the playoffs twice, made the Conference Finals once, and never reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tortorella blamed himself for the Rangers' disappointing 2013 season, and while organizations often expect the head coach to take responsibility for his team's performance (whether or not it was his fault), the Rangers seem to have agreed with what Torts was saying. "It's a big part of my job to get your top players to play consistently and I could not do that," Tortorella said. Rangers third-leading points scorer and alternate captain Brad Richards was dropped to the fourth line, then scratched entirely due to his poor postseason performance.

Tortorella's abrasive personality that can often get under the skin of players and media members also may have factored in. Of course, if the Rangers were still making a run at the Stanley Cup, Tortorella's personality would be nothing more than an afterthought.
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5/29/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I mixed on this one. Torts became THE center of attention, and I don't think he got the most out of his players. However, if there is a guy who was made to coach in NY, it is him, and he is just a year removed from coaching NY to the No. 1 seed in the East. 

Now I wonder what happens with Brad Richards...