The New York Rangers relieved coach John Tortorella of his duties Wednesday afternoon. This move shocked a lot of people, including myself, and to me is a complete panic move by the organization.
Anyone who heard Henrik Lundqvist on breakup day knew he had some discouraging remarks about the team. He called the season a “step backwards”. Also in talking about a contract extension he used the past tense in describing his time in New York. Now most people just say Lundqvist was using this as a bargaining chip to get a new contract, but general manager Glen Sather must have felt differently along with the rest of the management for the Rangers. Sather himself is on the hot seat as he has made some big free agent signings that have turned into busts.
Tortorella was no doubt going to be on the hot seat going into next season, but most people thought that he was going to have a chance even though he had a losing record in the playoffs and only made it out of the first round twice. His team never quit on him, and from what we know the locker room respected him. But this move has shocked a lot of people. Clearly there is something that happened within the organization that led to Tortorella’s downfall.
I feel the Rangers just panicked. They saw Lundqvist’s comments and thought there was a chance that the star goalie was indeed serious about testing free agency after next season. Whatever the reason is, Tortorella is now gone, and the Rangers have to move on.