I was met with some good news around lunchtime today when I heard on WFAN that the New York Rangers had fired head coach John Tortorella. I almost threw myself a pants party.
“Torts,” as he was sometimes known, took the Rangers to the playoffs in his last three seasons with the team. Unfortunately, the Rangers never reached the Stanley Cup Finals during Tortorella’s tenure, which is something that many fans (myself included) thought they should have achieved during the 2011-12 campaign. Blessed with arguably the best goalie in the game, the Rangers never seemed to score enough goals to be an elite team under Tortorella’s watch, but that was likely only part of the reason he was let go.
The thing that most fans will remember about Tortorella is how short and often rude he was with the Rangers’ reporters. Most recently he said a swear word during an in-game interview with NBC’s Pierre McGuire. I was amused by the way Tortorella handled the media, but it always seemed that his shtick would only be tolerated as long as the team was winning. This season, the Rangers were eliminated in five games in the second round of the playoffs when they should have been contending for the Stanley Cup. All of a sudden, the coach’s antics became less funny.
This afternoon in a conference call with reporters, Rangers GM Glen Sather would not divulge any specific reason as to why Tortorella was let go. I can only guess that the team’s performance and the coach’s relationship with the media were the two biggest parts of the decision.
Sather also said that no decision has been made in regards to the rest of the Rangers coaching staff.