As per Jesse Spector, it looks like Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella is not agreeing with some of the decisions made by General Manager Glen Sather. Spector states that by reading between the lines of Tortorella’s diplomatic responses to the media, it gives the general impression that the coach and general manager are not really seeing eye-to-eye on many roster moves. These moves include the demotion of Tim Kennedy, and the decision not to call up any bodies from Hartford in the wake of the number of injuries sustained with the Rangers.
I have suggested that Tortorella has not fully agreed with many of Sather’s moves in the past, particularly those decisions regarding Wade Redden. This goes way back to the decisions to sign players like Donald Brashear, trade for players like Derek Morris, and decisions not to carry extra forwards or defensemen. While Tortorella has not been candid about his disagreements with Sather, it appears that he is started to grow frustrated with his lack of control over the team he puts on the ice.
As per Spector, when asked about the lack of reinforcements from Hartford after last Friday’s game against the Maple Leafs that saw Chris Drury and Marian Gaborik go down long term with injuries, Tortorella said simply “It’s not my call”. Tortorella had a very similar answer for the media when asked about Tim Kennedy’s demotion to the AHL. Tortorella had more words when it came to the decision to send both Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko to the minors as part of the final cuts:
“When Glen asked me, it’s just based on hockey,” Tortorella said when the final cuts were made. “They played very well at certain times, and at certain times, they struggled….We feel they have a chance to be part of the core – it’s just that they need to go down there and go through the process a bit. It’s a hard position, defense.”
Clearly there’s logic there that I agree with. When it became clear that Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger were locks for the roster, it made logical sense to send both McDonagh and Valentenko to the minors, as neither had to clear waivers, whereas Michael Sauer did. But now the Rangers roster is flawed, and the third pairing is essentially useless without a left handed shot (of which both McDonagh and Valentenko are). This is a situation that no one is really sure how the Rangers are going to solve.
If Tortorella and Sather really are at odds, then it is something that is not unique to this season alone. Disagreements like this generally do not appear out of thin air, they grow over time. With Spector reporting about this issue this season, it is likely that these disagreements have been going on since Tortorella arrived. No coach/general manager relationship is perfect, but with Sather cemented in place with what seems to be a lifetime deal, this is a battle that Tortorella simply cannot win.