According to various reports, New York Rangers GM Glen Sather told reporters that he blames Rangers ex-head coach John Tortorella for the team’s offensive struggles, especially on the power play, and for the Rangers’ lack of puck possession during games.
Sather also stated that no specific player on the team came to him to request a change at head coach but that instead he felt there needed to be a change of attitude in the locker room, which dictated his decision of Tortorella’s firing four days after the Rangers season ended on May 29th.
Here is a direct quote from Sather on Tortorella from an article in the New York Daily News by Rangers beat writer Pat Leonard:
“…the game has changed…If you look at these playoff games (like the Stanley Cup Finals matchup) you’re gonna see tonight, the style that they play, I mean there’s not a hell of a lot of dump-ins…(I) mean, (if) you have to dump the puck in, you have to dump it. But there’s a lot of puck control and hanging onto the puck and moving the puck out, and there’s not stopping behind the net to gain control. There’s a lot of things that are done differently than what we were doing. So you have to look at the style of play. That had a lot to do with (the decision to fire Tortorella), too.'”
Whether Sather is right or wrong in his opinion of Tortorella’s style of play is irrelevant; what’s done is done. It is time to move on, and hopefully under new coach, Alain Vigneault, the Rangers can pick up where they left off in the 2011-2012 season and get back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Hopefully they can advance further this time as next season marks the 20 year anniversary of the Rangers’ last Stanley Cup.
What a 20th anniversary present it would be if Vigneault can lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup Finals victory next season. I know it’s early, but as a Rangers fan who doesn’t remember 1994, like myself, it’s always good and never too early to at least hope for the best.