For all the turbulence that the New York Rangers have undergone during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the offseason is managing to top that. Several colossal questions have been answered while many still remain, including what to make of Brad Richards‘ seemingly untenable nine-year, $60 million contract to stay in blue.
“When an individual player, especially of that stature and what we thought he was going to bring,” since-deposed Rangers Coach John Tortorella said, via The New York Times. “You all know that we have a relationship, but that has to be put aside. It’s for producing for the hockey club. And it hurt us. Not only did it hurt Brad, but more importantly it hurt the team. … If I know Brad, this hasn’t been an easy thing for him. I’ve known him a long time. But I do think he’ll rebound.”
Of course, Tortorella himself would not be sticking around. The Rangers’ front office brought the personnel to win now or else, and thanks to New York’s second-round exit the latter became the choice. Tortorella was relieved of his duties following the team’s conference semifinal loss to the Boston Bruins in five games, despite having led the Rangers to its second-most regular season wins in franchise history the year prior.
“I’m very appreciative of what Torts has done here,” Rangers general manager Glen Sather said, via The New York Times. “We have an evaluation at the end of the year like we always do. We sit and talk about the future and plan on where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. And our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. I felt that this was a decision we had to make going forward.”