After a rough start to this lockout shortened season, there were plenty of calls from Rangers fans for John Tortorella's head.
He's lost the room, the players have given up on him and he's too stubborn were reasons given.
Apparently, Rangers fans forgot that he had guided the Blueshirts to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1997 just seven months prior and 35 games during an abbreviated season is not really the greatest indicator of a head coach's worth.
And to prove that, the Rangers finished on a 10-3-1 run in the final month of the season to claim the sixth seed and have now advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the second straight season under Tortorella.
Still think the players have given up on him? Still think Lindy Ruff is a better fit? Still think he should be fired?
Sure, Torts is terrible at adapting and his absolute refusal to change offensive strategy is maddening sometimes. But his players are willing to run through a wall for him. He's a great motivator, who gets the most out of his players in the big games. His 5-1 record in Game 7s proves that.
If he's able to get his team through a Bruins team that many feel could be the best team in the Eastern Conference, not only will Torts be back next season, he may have a permanent office at MSG until he feels like hanging them up.
I mean, the Dolans kept Isiah Thomas within the organization for FIVE years and he didn't have a fraction of the success Tortorella has had. Actually he didn't have any.
Tortorella's blue collar approach makes him the perfect coach for a Rangers team that had the reputation of being a country club for way too and the City of New York. He has single-handedly changed the organizational strategy from buying the best free agents on the market (ok they still do that) to actually trying to build a winner from within by giving the young talent a chance to develop at the NHL level. Something that was almost taboo just six years ago.
So I say this to Rangers fans, enjoy what you have in Tortorella. There are plenty of fan bases who would beg to have a guy like this behind the bench of their team.
And man are his press conferences entertaining. Here's last night's...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
That stretch run was against almost all below .500 teams, and outside of Game 7, it was the same issues they've had for years...no goals or offensive pressure. The positives you point out are dead on - those are his strengths. He gets guys working hard and has a good hardnosed approach. However, year after year its the offense that is this team achilles heel. Each year, they bring in a player to fix that, but after 3 years of a big time signing, clearly the strategy needs to be adjusted as well. Why put SO much emphasis on D when you have the best goalie in the league? Besides, their D isn't THAT great. Many of their blocked shots come as of a result of them being unable to clear the zone. How many times does the other team look like it has a power play while its 5 on 5? In the games the Rangers play the best, they are generating offense and keeping the puck in the zone, which prevents the other team from generating their own offense. Look at Games 6 and 7 - Rangers played aggressively the entire time, as opposed to that "play not to lose" approach we've seen them go out there with for the past 2 years. Holtby actually had to work to earn his praise in Game 6.
The grinding style is definitely more conducive for the playoffs, but I'd still like to see a little more focus on offensive strategy going into next season. How long can this team be miserable on the PP?
I have said Torts should be fired. I'm thrilled they won the series, but that does not change my point of view. All of the team's failings were on display in this series, other than in game 7, and they are mostly traceable to the coach and his dump-and-chase grind-it-out system.
Let's face it, Hank's stellar play won the series for us and, if he hadn't done that,, we would all be discussing whether Torts should be fired today or over the summer.
I thought Pittsburgh wasnt that great after their first round.... I was wrong. Its only game 1, but I am already wishing NYI found away to get them out. Still think we can match up with them, but we have to focus on Boston first!!!!
If Torts won a series by totally reversing course on his standard coaching style, then do you credit him with the win, or hold him even more accountable the next time he plays 2.5 lines and loses?
Well its a prawcess. Listened to his interview with Francesa a little while ago. he was talking about not only the short term but the long term benefits for the organization of a win like this in terms of giving players the experience of playing in these types of games, in the playoffs. And with three playoff series wins in two years, I;m feeling good about the prawcess.
Kudos to sather for pulling an absolute fleece job on the same team in the same year. He rasped CBJ not once but twice on those trades. Torts media antics are by design to take the pressure off his players and it works to a tee. Wouldn't want any other coach and this team is knocking on heavens door. We r set up for a long time with young players in the pipeline ans will get some relief when Richards is gone. Don't forget wear 8 years removed from a terrible and dark era in our history don't forget what it was like with muckler, Lowe and trotter running the show. Stiffs like lindros McCarthy Malik playing on this team. Bure with one leg playing. Not too long ago so Kevin is right enjoy this boys. Now go get the dam cup and bring it where it belongs.
i called for tort's head many times. and gave reasons every time. was i wrong? maybe so. i think we need another assistant coach behind the bench though. someone who can fix the damn power play. i dont care about his antics off of the ice in the media scrum. why should that bother any of us, really?
his success speaks for itself though. i can't argue with that. im not sure anyone can. i gotta say though, after trying to smash the round peg into the square hole for QUITE a while, he tried something different. kudos to him for that as well.
Making games like last night the rule, rather then the exception, is what Torts needs to do if he wants to keep this job, or any NHL job. You can't let one game wash away all the other problems. We need someone who can adjust and get the best out of our players night in and night out. The fact that they won when he "just go out there and play" says a lot about what he's bringing (or not bringing) to the table for us.
Without a doubt, the two most impressive and exciting games the Rangers played all year were the two games Tortorella's game plan was to just tell his players to just"go out there and play" and he utilized all players and lines most of the game. (April 3rd vs. Pitts. , night of the trade deadline and the new players had just arrived before game-time , Rangers win 6-1, and last night's game, Rangers win 5-0) Coincidence? This is the kind of hockey fans love and teams have success with. Why does he insist on the boring, grinding play 99% of the time? Why does he bench players for a mistake? When he micro-mangages a team, he suffocates it.
I'll be the first to admit that I've been one of many on this blog calling for Torts' head repeatedly this year. There's a lot of things that drives me absolutely mad about this guy. He's stubborn, he plays favorites and he often times lets his ego get in the way of what IMHO is best for this team. With that said, and maybe it's because he's had no choice due to a depleted/injured lineup but I actually feel like Torts is starting to adapt and finally put trust into some of his secondary players, and giving them the minutes they need to actually contribute AS A TEAM, a cohesive unit to win games here in the postseason. I think the way he handled the series against Washington was spot on, and for that I give him a lot of credit.
With that said, what is he doing about the PowerPlay??! As you cannot win a Stanley Cup without one and if it doesn't come down to coaching at this point I not sure what to say. Confidence?? Maybe. But when you continue to put DZ and Richards on the point, when you've got Moore and Stralman red hot I have to question that.
It's not fair to five Richards minutes so he can "find his game". Why is he exempt? Bench him and or move him down in the lineup. He needs to find himself, the 3rd and 4th line guys apparently are happy to step up here.
I know we can beat Boston.
The Empire State Building Celebrated the New York Rangers' Victory
Torts on Michael Kay show. Cant agree with him more. Not a direct quote but as close as I can remember it. "It is hard enough to make the playoffs, when you get to the final 8 every team is going to be tough to play against. It isn't about who you are playing but how you feel about yourselves. And right now I feel very good about this group of guys."
Love to hear that from a coach that knows what it takes to win.
Apparently the Capitals so called leader...Ovelchoke gave an interview in Russia claiming the NHL fixed the series in the Rangers favor. Thats a good message to send to ur teamates, fans, & organization. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't that I got 1-goal in 7-games & non at even strength. Its not that we have to work harder & smarter...nope its someone else fault. Cause U know that has always made for a winning culture...lol. What a loser!!!!! Funny thing is there was a time that I thought he was better thenCrosby& though I think Crosby is a whiny little punk & a little overated he is much more of a leader then Ovelchoke!!!!
If the Rangers lose to Boston has this been a successful year? Probably not. Should he be fired as a result? Probably not. I think either way you have to give him a full season along with a full training camp. However, I don't think the team's "success" up to this point has earned him anything. In professional sports, especially in NY, either you win or you move on. He has not won anything here yet.
Another thing Kreider stays in the lineup @Mcphee !!!! Last game was easily the most physical I have seen him play in his career. We are going to need that next round, and he adds some much needed size and speed to the fourth line, which played well the other night.
the fact that you think torts has done an amazing job is laughable. We went from being a team last year that finished 1st in the east and would go 10 games at a click w/ out a loss, made it to eastern conference finals n had all the expectations to run away with this shortened season to a team that struggles to find the net esp. on the power play, watch Hank get only 1 shut out the whole regular season and watched 40+ goal scorer go up in flames to Columbus. great talent on this team but torts is wasting it. Richards has self destructed n tort's remedy is to have him play the point on the power play alongside a struggling MDZ. Now we are watching as another super start, Nash, struggle to find the net. 3 superstars have come: 1 gone, 1 imploding n 1 struggling........You think that Torts will hold reign as King of the rangers w/ this record? He might cuz the dolans r too concerned w/ the Knicks to give a damn but does he deserve it like a coach like Coughlin of the Giants does? Absolutely not....not even close. If he can turn it around n make the necessary adjustments n win a cup or 2 then I might agree. they squeaked out of the 1st around against the caps not the penguins. GET A GRIP!
@Lordstanleybroadway Malik? Really? C'mon, Malik's shootout goal is the greatest shootout goal ever scored, and that's not just my opinion. I t was the game -winning goal, in the longest round shootout, by the most unexpected player ( a tall, lankey, defenseman ) to have a trick shot in his repertoire. I defy any Ranger fan to watch that on YouTube w/ Sam and JD announcing the game and not smile!
@IcyCup2 yes, definitely a second assistant, Shoeny;s too busy I guess
@Iron Mike Agree with alot of that. Especially richards on the point oof the PP!!!! Even if Richards was the 04 richards he does not belong on the point his shot couldn't break wind!!!! One question what do u mean by "he lets his ego get in the way?
@Josh6 It seems that hockey, more so than any of the other major sports, is about getting on a roll. Granted, you have to get "hot" in the other sports, but home field seems more important in football, match ups are more important in basketball and baseball is all about pitching. If the Rangers can build on last night's romp they will be tough to beat.
@ThrSage He said ""I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit." Seriously?
@Dminches I agree. All its earned him is a another year after this to prove he can bring the Rangers to a Cup. However, I do have confidence that he can do it. From 95-97 we had some of the best talent in the league but I never felt we could win a Cup cause of Colin Campbell. He was just not smart or tough enuff. Torts is.
@Dminches Well it is a bit different with the dolans.... But hey be positive, I believe the Rangers can beat the Bruins, and if we play like we did in game 7 I am fairly certain we are a better team then them. I am interested to see how Zuccs plays against the biggest team in the NHL. I believe!!!! LGR!!!!
@Dminches You're 100% correct.
@Josh6 I remember him absolutely wrecking Matt Hendricks last night, wish they'd have replayed it. wow.
@calithirteen so it's his fault when the team doesn't do as well as you think they should (this year), but he get's no credit when they're the best team in the east (lat year)?. That doesn't work for me.
@calithirteen This is so ridiculous its not worth a response
@calithirteen Who was it again that coached the Rangers to the top of the East last year? Just sayin'...
@ThrSage @Iron Mike One example is his beef with Avery. Don't think he handled him well and I still believe if he was in the lineup last year we would have beaten the Devils. It doesn't take an expert to see that Torts has a huge ego, see how he treats the press (people who are just doing their jobs) the way he treated Sam. The way he punishes his players when it doesn't necessarily work in the team's best interests.. just my two cents.
@Dminches @Josh6 I also think Hank has taken his game to that level that even stars very rarely get to. One in which you can will a team to victory & do whatever it takes to win. I said a few times last few days that I really believe Hank said to himself "Fuck it if I have to shut them out for the next 2-games I will. Just get me one goal & i will do the rest". I mean man did u see that save at 5-0? he was playing like it was 1-0!!!! What a great great great player.
@Josh6 @Dminches My friend who is a di hard Bruins fans just tol me he thinks the rangers will win in 6. he is usually a very positive guy. However, he thinks Lundquist will make a big difference. Plus they are banged up on D & may have lost Seidenberg for a while. he & Chara play more minutes then even Giradi & Mcdonough.
@JoeSmith 1st off never said he didn't deserve credit for last year. Never said he should be fired for this season. Simply responding to an article that gave him way too much praise. Again 2 -28 powerplay vs the caps does warrant praise. I could see if he was making adjustments but he isnt. He continues to reward bad play by placing MDZ and Richards at the points on the power play. Torts has been trying to implement a system that worked amazingly last year but has been awful this year due the changes in personnel and Tort's inability to make proper adjustments. Has he lost the locker room. Absolutely not. Is there a better alternative out there to replace Torts.....nope, not now anyway. Would it make sense to hire another assistant to spark life into this offense esp the power play? Absolutely. Will he? Doubtful cuz of his ego. If you feel good about this team looking amazing like in game 7 then struggling like in games 1 n 2 and looking like they are shorthanded when they have 5 on the ice then by all means anoint Torts the greatest NHL coach of all time. 3 top offensive players have come here in the last 4 years: Richards is tanking averaging 11 mins of ice time, Nash is suddenly unable to find the back of the net and Gabby after scoring 40+ goals last year is in Columbus. This team has problems on offense and torts needs to address it sooner than later.
@Iron Mike @ThrSage The Avery thing is a good point & I agree that if he had playe Avery in the Dev series we would have won. Then again I am not sure it was his ego w-Avery just that he didn't think he was good for the team. I for one had no use for Avery's antics. As for the press Torts ca be a dick & petty w-them but they can be that way too. Especially Pat Leonard of the Daily News he purposfully changes the context of what Torts said & tries to make him look bad. The Rosen thing was awful but Torts did apologize.
@Josh6 @Dminches @ThrSage What a douchebag. I was telling some caps fans on a different blog today who defended him cause of all his "hits" that he was leading. I told them it wa sa mirage. he knew he wasn't going to score so he ran all over the ice hitting eople to make it look like he played hard. He is an idiot. He may be a great player but not a leader he was just given the capptaincy cause of his ego!!!!!
Typo.....got a new born at home so sleep has been in short supply....mixing my gms up! lol *Sather not Maloney!
@stevenabsmith So adding Rick Nash was not adding a key player? And my point is that the struggles of this team right now are what we have been struggling w/ all season. Torts hasn't made any adjustments to correct a failing powerplay. And Torts admitted as much earlier this season that he and Malony did not anticipate the impact of losing Dubi, Rupp, and Prust. In case you are unaware, Torts does have input into the fate of players on this team...i.e.: Gabby to the Blue Jackets.
Yeah, and how much of the team is the same as last year? No team in the playoffs right now has had as much tunover in players as the Rangers have. Look where we are now. Some teams added key players, but we swapped out several key players on this team, and we are gutting out wins. I love how everyone knows how Torts is but have never stepped foot in the locker room, let alone day in, day out for a season. So ourPP sucks. Our 5 v5 is very good.
I agree w/ you on that point. Again i'm not saying fire the guy. I'm simply disagreeing w/ this articles response that Torts has earned a secure job for as long as he wants. we are in the 2nd round of the playoffs. lets see where they end up before given torts the keys to the city.
@calithirteen Given the lockout, no preseason games and a few days of "training camp," I don't think a lot of teams performed how they thought they would. I'm not going to judge any team too harshly or too favorably based on this season.
@Dminches @queensbee @calithirteen Dont get me wrong. I like torts...he did a great job last year but his failure to make adjustments to this team especially the power play is mind boggling. I'm obviously not saying he should be fired right now but to say this guy will be untouchable after scraping out a game 7 w/ the caps is a joke. I'm simply listing tort's shortcomings