Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that Glen Sather had no intention of firing John Tortorella after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins until a large contingent of players made it clear during their exit interviews that their head coach's "overbearing personality" was the reason for the team's lack of success this season.
While no ultimatums were given, Brooks adds that Henrik Lundqvist public non-commital to signing an extension with the Rangers was done to give a voice to the players frustration.
...if the players were so fed up with Torts and he was the problem, why did they finish the season on a 10-3-1 run and then bomb the Capitals in a Game 7? I'm not saying that they weren't frustrated with him, but I find it interesting that they finally began to live up to expectations after Sather's trade deadline moves. Isn't that more an indictment on the players underperforming up until that point than the head coach?
...to me, it looks like some of the players who had disappointing seasons and playoffs decided stabbing their coach in the back was more productive than looking at themselves in the mirror. Guess being coddled is more important than having a coach who got them to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1997. If you remember, Renney was a players coach. How'd that work out?
...maybe the Hagelin "stinks" comment had more of a negative impact with the players than I anticipated. Or we're finding out just how much influence Lundqvist has on the decision making of the Rangers organization. BTW, there will be a ton of pressure on Lundqvist to perform this season or all of his success will be attributed to Tortorella's system.
Meanwhile, during Glen Sather's conference call on the Tortorella firing yesterday, he briefly discussed Brad Richards being a healthy scratch in Games 4 & 5 against the Bruins saying it was an "organizational decision" and that he will decide on whether or not the Rangers will use their final amnesty buyout on Richards during their organizational meetings in June.
Teams can begin using their amnesty buyouts 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Finals ends.
Here's Sather's conference call in its entirety...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
....with Tortorella's outburst to the media after Game 4 about the Richards scratch and now this from Sather, you have to wonder if the word to send the Rangers alternate captain to the press box came from above and didn't sit well with the head coach, possibly causing some additional internal friction.
...i really can't see a scenario in which Richards survives. You can pretty much count on Broadway Brad becoming Bon Voyage Brad before the draft. The Rangers can open up some valuable cap space with the buyout and, while I initially hoped the Rangers would give him one more year to prove himself, it's not worth the risk of him becoming ineligible for the amnesty because of injury.
I don't know, I'm not liking the sounds of this. GM gives way to players. What kind of coach is going to want to come in to this type of situation, where the players have the ear of the GM? The Rangers are slowly becoming the New York Jets...
This smells like Bull shit to me. Yes, I do believe the players were fed up long before the playoffs but there's more to this story. We may never know. For the record They did get it together, got in the playoffs, beat the Caps but fell to The Bs - sometimes you need that extra incentive, professionals or not to give it that little extra when you're dead tired and beaten down so whether or not they hated their coach their desire to win and professionalism shouldn't be questioned, but they are humans, and humans have fragile psyches, professionals or otherwise. Torts does not get that, so yes they could rally but no moral incentive to give it that extra push to go farther. Another facet is when the coach looses respect it becomes the captains job to rally his team and give them that extra push. Something very similar happened in "94 and Mess stepped in and we won the cup. Not to compare because that was a better team but Cally did not step up to the plate and take over as a captain needs to when the respect of the coach is compromised. I love Cally but he still has much to learn about being a captain and true leader IMHO
All this is based on nothing. Henrik Lundqvist says one sentence about HIS future and bloggers/media are putting blame on him. Right, he doesn't cary enough wait as it is. Torts had to go. He could get nothing out of the team. Not even defense, unless you consider shot-blocking a defense concept. Logically though it is lack there of. He did teach them some work ethic but that went away as well this season - with maximum of 3 60-minute efforts in 48 games.
Remember in '94 when Messier had to go to Keenan and get him to back off a little on the team, let them play their game? He was benching Leetch, pulling the same kinds of crap Torts did all season - he had a bigger doghouse than Torts.
Looks to me like this team didn't have anyone who had the guts to go in and talk to him man-to-man about his actions being detrimental to the team
Kudos to Lundqvist for the hinting in his statements cause he's the only player Torts had left to bench...
Glorious day for us Ranger fans.. Torts "system" was god awful... Pierre McGuire put it best,, "Callahan makes Tortorella a good coach" and if you don't think that 10-3-1 finish wasn't product of Callahan getting the room then you don't watch the games... We are wasting Lundqvists great years with no offensive firepower because of a system that got these guys playing on their heels more than attacking...
I personally hope that none of the players really had an impact on Torts being fired. I've played hockey all my life, and have played with players who would bitch and complain about coaches and it pissed me off beyond belief. It didn't matter to me if the coach made a wrong decision, sat me, played me...he was still the coach. As a player, at least in my eyes, you look up to that person behind the bench. That had to be the most frustrating thing about players I have experienced in that they think they know more than the person running the bench. They are there for a reason, and if you don't like them, you shut up and play the game of hockey. If he is canned, hes canned. I rather have a mediocre player than a great one if they were a cancer in that way. It really drags down a team when you have that in your locker room.
Nothing was more motivating to me than trying to prove someone wrong. Don't want me getting that much playing time? Well I am going to prove to you next shift I get why I should be out there. I understand the NHL is a whole different beast and I was never paid to play, but obviously these guys love the game of hockey. Think that tends to disappear a bit. This is one reason why I personally like Brian Boyle as a hockey player. When that guy is playing bad (which was a lot this year)...you can tell by just watching him in the interviews. When seeing how badly he wanted to stay a Ranger near the trade deadline, it made me happy we kept him. You can't teach heart.
Here's another though: Last week after the Game 4 press conference where he talked about Richrads, the blurp got a lot of coverage on ESPN, and on a show like Mike & Mike, where they rarely talk about hockey, they did a whole segment on how, despite the media hating him, Torts is clearly the kind of coach that a player would love to play for. Now, looking back, you wonder if that rant was in reaction to the feeling he got from the room after the decision was made. He called Richards at home, he didn't do it in fron to of the team, so mo natter what anyone said, it wasn't well recieved. After he left, the team probably rallied around getting a win to try to get Ricahrds back in. So now you wonder if Torts was trying to just save face a coach who loved his players.
Tortorella changed the heart and soul of this team and organization. Whining and scapegoating always follow disappointment. Stay the course boys. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…FULL TRAINING CAMP NO STRIKE. Then we’ll judge his ability to coach.
Kevin -- I don't understand your defense of Tortorella here. This team was clearly achieving in spite of him, not because of him. Year after year this team does not score, even strength or on the PP. And that can't be blamed on the players since there has been significant turnover since Torts arrived. Throw in the constant line changing and his acerbic personality and underachieving this year even though Torts got what he waneted (Nash in, Gaborik out, for example) and it was time to go. You give him way too much credit for last year, and way too little for this year's debacle.
What did Torts' "system" really do for Lundqvist anyway? He had to win game after game 1-0 or 2-1. That had to get tiring. I think the system hurt Hank, not vice versa.
Lundqvist is the only player on the team that has the juice to make his opinions count. Yea if the whole team wants something it will happen, but like Messier if Hank wants something it is probably going to happen. Deservedly so because he is probably the best goalie the Rangers will have in my lifetime
A big part of a coach's job is to motivate and bring out the best in his players. If I'm paying millions of dollars a year, I want a coach who will help them do their best, not one who will bog them down. Multiple approaches are needed, because professional or not, all players are not the same. No one ever said coaching was easy, eh.
Tortorella buried his team every chance he got. This wasn't about players trying to cover up for their personal struggles, it was about his entire system not working and players being put in positions they couldn't suceed in.
As far as which "influential" players gave Torts a less than positive performance appraisal -- even though you will NEVER get it to come out of his mouth -- I believe the Captain had to be part of it. It may have come in the form of "I like the guy, but this is what I'm hearing and it concerns me," but I think there's no way Sather pulls the trigger unless Cally expressed concerns and was on board with the decision. (Lundqvist, Ritchie, McDonagh, Hags, maybe Nash -- all probably were in the "time to go" group, IMHO). My concern is less about Torts, but who in the world will replace him. None of the availables look to be an upgrade, but I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.
When you score 5 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs without playing a regular season NHL game, kinda hard to go to the AHL. Not saying it's right, but it's what happens.
slather probably knew that torts wasn't changing his system, and the system was broken offensively. I don't know if this is a great choice because the coaching pool isn't deep. I would have liked to have a guy like oates, but that ship has sailed. I'm concerned that torts will come back to bite us. coaching changes make me very uneasy. I was uneasy when renney left. even though that was an obvious decision to make. I wish it was October...
In regards to the players wanting Torts out, I agree...something just doesn't add up there. That said, my feeling during the season was the only way Torts was out was if Lundqvist asked for him to be so it does fit that. I still think there's a piece missing and because I'm nosy, I want to know what it is lol (although don't ever expect to find out). I do agree if true, this puts a lot of pressure on Lundqvist. As they say, the grass isn't always greener on the other side...
Also understand something about Larry Brooks he is one of the most hated guys in Hockey. This is coming from someone who actually likes him. I haven't met him but we have exchanged emails for years. One of the reasons he is hated is he kisses up to mgt by writing stuff he knows is not true. So if he is writing this take it w-a grain of salt. Think about this, Brooks is arguably the most influential HOCKEY WRITER IN NY. He is the only HOCKEY COLUMNIST in the 3-major papers. Zipay at Newsday doesn't count cause their readership is so small. So w-all that influence he has never once called for Sather to be fired. This is after 16-years of mediocre results. Why is that? Very easy answer. Slats give him stuff off the record. The quid pro quo is Brooks stays away from criticizing Sather to harshly. So Brooks printing that is somewhat of a Red Herring. Slats is trying to deflect attention away from a flawed roster that didn't get it done by making it look like it was all Torts fault. Plus it make it look like he had no choice cause so now when he tells Dolan he has to pay Torts to not coach for a year, which from what I am told drives Dolan crazy he has cover. Having to tell Dolan that & tell him he has to buy out Richards after just buying out Redden makes life very uncomfortable for Slats. Its also typical Slats say nothing on the record but leak it to a few reporters so it gets out there without it coming from him. Brooks has also been pushing the Torts is getting the best out of players that there is more talent on this roster & Torts was holding them back. Where ya think thats coming from? Yep Sather it makes it look llike its not his fault, that if Torts just coached them better they would have won. Its also typical Cablevision BTW make it look like its the guy you just fireds fault not Dolan or Sather.
Its shit like that my friend in the league HATES Brooks w-a passion cause he thinks he is dishonnest & allows mgt. to use him by wriiting shit he knows is not true. This way he has access. He also used to do what Brooks does & thinks he is completly unproffesional. For example ever notice how Brooks is always seems to favor the Devils over the Rangers? Here is why. I heard about this 20 years ago when I worked at the Garden. For a brief period in the late 80' Brooks was the media relations director for the Devils. He worked for Lamoriello. After Brooks left the devs he had money problems & Lamoriello lent Brooks 50-k. Brooks never disclosed that to his readers but constantly wrote great stuff about Lamoriello & the Devs. This was long before they won any Cups. it used to infuriate me in the mid-90''s when Brooks seemed so slanted towards the Devils. I asked my friend who as I said did was doing what Brooks did during that time & he told me that story. It was also a known thing among all the writers covering the team. They all hated Brooks cause of stuff like that. Did u ever see the clip where Brooks & Torts go at it about Redden & Torts asked "were you ever in a fight" & then says "u were probably beat up at the bus stop" notice how the writers laugh? Its cause they all hate Brooks. Usally writers defend each other but they hate Brooks so they like to see him get it from Torts.
So there is your back story believe what you want but if u believe everything thats said PUBLICLY by mgt. then u r doing what they want. Ignoring the truth.
@Betweentheworlds He is a true leader. You can't expect a captain to overpower the coach's will all the time. Messier is said to have approached Keenan to discuss the treatment of certain players, and it resulted in change. That is great!
- How do you know Callahan never tried what Mess did?
- The coach will do what the coach will do. The captain cannot take over as coach.
@Zelrio I don't think they can, under the CBA.
@Zelrio Can they? Sure, i think so. But it could get Glen Sather fired in a heartbeat.
Wow! Completely forgot about that. I have to say, if this team doesn't have the backbone to handle a coach like torts, how will they ever handle a playoff series against a team like Boston? This team is soft. Torts tried to make them tough and failed. I hope the next coach, whoever it ends up, doesn't push us further away from the blue collar approach we all love
Also, did we ever hear of any closed-door, players only meetings this season? The captain has to step up and take the reigns there as well, rally the troops together - as much as I love the guy, I'm not sure I see that kind of leadership from Callahan
@Easy_Kreider Wanting to be coddled is one thing, wanting to be treated fairly is another - but this isn't the way you go about it.
@xxscaxx Sean Avery?
Exactly. All we can do now is say thank you for what the team achieved while he was here and move on hoping that the next coach can take this team to the next level.
defense first and shot blocking is what has helped Hank, big time ... our defense this year was not what it was last year ..... nothing is what it was last year except not scoring ... I do agree that Hank has to be near perfect with this team playing the way it has
@Josh6 Messier also had the balls to go have a heart-to-heart with Keenan to get him to ease up a little on the team & let them play hockey, instead of being worried about being benched for the slightest mistake.
Anybody do that this year? Nope, not that I heard... could've been Hank, should've been Callahan
@ThrSage Just as I suspected. Brooks = douche.
@greggray24 Vancouver and us probably switch coaches
@greggray24 I could see him be an assistant coach before he's a head coach again. I think he hurt his stock with his behavior this season.
@NH_NYR_88 @Betweentheworlds I know nothing and anything I've written is pure conjecture on my part. I love Cally, I think he's the best character player perhaps in the whole league and is a fine leader. I can only make judgments based upon observation. What I do know in team sports is that sometimes it becomes the capt's burden of responsibility to carry his team when a rift develops between coach and players, not take over as coach.. Mess did a lot more than approach the coach - he held closed door meetings. He encouraged his troops, called out a few guys and elevated his play as well as the play of others in spite of their scorn with Keenan. In this year's Rangers Cally's play did not elevate like Mess but rather declined right along with the rest of the team. His effort was less than the 101% at times we are all use to from him and he was not able to lift the others to put forth the extra effort required. The Capt needs to do better than that. Keep in mind I am making an unfair comparison because Mess was the best capt of all time. Cally is a young capt, still learning the role and I'm just making opinions based upon observations. My feeling is that it's part of a learning process for him and my comments are not intended as criticism.
@DuPont_Snotty Comparing the captains in this case doesnt really work though, Messier was a proven winner with 5 cups before he came to NY-Keenan benching him would have been instant career suicide. Cally is nowhere near that status and could easily have felt too intimidated to call Torts on big issues like publicly criticizing young players.
I like that the guy was big on discipline but doing stuff like that in the media only works with certain types of personalities, for the rest its more often counter-productive.
I dont think Torts was the only one at fault this year by any means but realistically the same problems have plagued 4 different line-ups of players. Eventually he was going to come under the spotlight and if the problems were the same next year it would be a pretty big motivation for Hank to try free agency
Totally different circumstances. Keenan had no choice but to back off cause he saw how much damage is bahavior did. What could Hank or anyone else point out to to Torts to say look at what u did like Mess could point to Game 5's dispirited play. Also Torts is believe it or not 10 times more stubborn then Keenan. Lastly Hank is not Mess. Mess could say to Keenan I won 5-Cups u lost 3-times in the Finals, trust me I know what I'm talking about. Torts has a ring Hank doesn't so torts won't listen.
@craig_athertonI agree with you, especially about the comparison - but SOMEONE (maybe Richards, given their history together, or Hank even given his veteran status on the team) should have tried to speak up at some point. Callahan may not be mature enough yet to take on that role.
I still can't imagine that Hank would hold all of that in without ever complaining to Torts that their defensive "system" was getting him hammered back there.
We'll probably never know what went on in that locker room this season.
@ThrSage Still, that discussion has to happen at some point during the playoffs, not throwing the coach under the bus after being ousted.
I have mixed feelings about Torts being gone; I have the same issues everyone else had - but I hate to hear players had a huge hand in this