Credit To the All Star Coach

January 6, 2012, by

First of all, the news of John Tortorella coaching at the All Star game this season speaks volumes to what the Rangers coach has achieved this season. Several Rangers players have received media kudos and attention for the way they have worked their way to the top of the Eastern Conference this year and rightly so. However one person who has not received enough praise is the man that leads them, John Tortorella.

Perhaps overshadowed by the impressive play on the ice as well as the unnecessary, unfortunate handling of Sean Avery, Tortorella has proved this year that he is still an elite coach. The all star nod helps give the coach credit (for the record, the player voting by fans is a farce and totally de-values the event; however plenty of worth is still in the coaching choices).

Forget about being the winningest coach in US history, even though it’s a great accolade. Tort’s has stuck to his beliefs, gone with youth and transformed this club in to one with a huge future. Naturally there’s many elements of the Rangers return to prominence to tip your Broadway hat to; the great farm system, the great scouting, Sather’s ‘re-awakening’, player development etc, etc – they all deserve huge credit. However so does Tortorella.

The kind of guy Tortorella is, he’ll always have critics, people calling for his head and perhaps even after a Rangers Cup win might never be totally loved. He probably wouldn’t have it any other way. Indeed, here at the blog we’ve been critics of certain aspects of his time with the club, but he has always been the right guy for this team, water bottle tantrum or not.

During the Winter Classic (and well done to NBC for pointing it out – consider me shocked) Tortorella made subtle changes with the lines and tactics that tilted the game back towards the Rangers towards the end of the second period. His manoeuvring was integral to the Rangers comeback and it’s nice that it was acknowledged during the commentary.

Yes, it’s still the players that need to get it done on the ice but the coach remained focussed, calm and thoughtful throughout – even when the ever annoying Pierre McGuire was interviewing him. At the classic Tortorella out-duelled Peter Laviolette, another good coach by the way (when he’s not butting Dallas Stars players) and subsequently Torts sits proudly atop of the Eastern Conference with his team.

The Rangers are well on their way to cementing their place as a contender for this season and beyond. However despite the wonderful season the Rangers coach remains focused to the end, as evidenced by his refusal to acknowledge the team as a contender this season – just yet. It’s time to give a huge amount of credit to the guy that’s steering this team to unrivalled recent success. Tort’s has done well to earn 358 career victories and it’s a nice achievement. Maybe he’ll get to celebrate a second cup soon enough and really get the credit he deserves.


  1. The Suit says:

    Great post!. We were one of the few bloggers that stood up for Torts and highlighted his strengths when everyone was bailing ship after that loss to Montreal back in November.

    Whether it was his systems, tactics, icetime, or line combos that were under fire, we explained the rational behind his methods as best we could and pleaded for patience. It paid off.

    I also have to tip my hat to HBO’s 24/7 as it revealed a different side of Tortorella and it destroyed some of the farces and insinuations people tried to make about the man.

    Glad he’s finally getting his due.

  2. Dave says:

    This post should be featured everywhere, and on every site.

    Sure, I’m biased, but it’s true.

  3. el pressa says:

    something NOT to be forgotten was that Torts had the nut’s to stand up to Dolan / SATHER and help the team rid itself of cancers like Redden, Roszival, DRURY and Gomez.

  4. Walt says:

    Great post, and Torts is finally getting the recognition due for the job well done!!

  5. Jess says:

    Great post Chris, I am not a fan of Torts or his methods but anyone failing to give Torts his rightful credit does so out of spite.

    The NYR are at the top of the NHL, Torts as coach got them there. Is he perfect no but even critics of him like myself have to acknowledge that Torts himself made changes in how he handles things for the good of the team.

    Good job coach.

    Note to el pressa: A cancer is a player who puts himself above others. A case can be made for Gomez but not for the other 3.

    Redden is a huge reason why kid dmen are coming up from the AHL and able to contribute. He has been 100% professional and dislike the contract but thank the person.
    Drury’s body gaveout,it happens with the style of play Drury used. Yes the buyout could have been handled better by both sides.
    Rozy was just a square block who the NYR tried to make into a player he was not. He accepted his trade and still thanks the NYR for getting him the chance to play in the NHL.

    Good people bad fits.

    One last thing, if you think Torts stood up to either Dolan or Sather then you are kidding yourself. Anyone who has tried to cross Sather has not lasted very long.

    • The Suit says:

      I agree with most points, however, Torts may not have “stood up to Sather and Dolan” but I def think he influenced the decision to go with a youth movement.

      There were plenty of interviews following 2009 season where Torts said he wasn’t going to give minutes to guys just because of their contracts and he believed in our youthful core. That was the first time we were hearing about the the importance of youth in a cap world from this organization.

  6. Blueshirt in Paris says:

    I’m probably going to get some shit for this but I honestly believe anyone, especially after watching 24/7, who does not think Torts is an effective coach has problems with authority at the very least and quite possibly father-figure issues. Maybe they got spanked a bit too much as a kid or had a coach cut them them because most likely the were not very good at the sport they were playing and harbor some deep seeded hatred to masculine authority.

    They guy demands respect but at the same time gives it back. If I were a millionaire I would tell my boss to go scratch. But if I played for this team I would go through a wall for this guy and my teammates.

    The biggest compliment you can give a coach is that his players listen to him. This team plays his system no matter what. I cant remember the last time I saw a Ranger team so committed to following the team strategy and not straying from it (Well I do remember but I’m not going to use that year as a comparison else I might jinx us).

  7. wwpd says:

    Avery fan at the office tells me today tortorella bought his all star coaching role by waiving Avery because the league hates him

    thought you guys would appreciate that brilliant insight 🙂