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Posts tagged: John Tortorella

Where are they now? Rangers edition

I was casually watching (a DVR of) some Saturday afternoon hockey between the Senators and the Coyotes when something struck me as strange; no, it wasn’t that all of the Sens goals came from not-your-average offensive player, it was that Lauri Korpikoski (or as I fondly call him, the Korpedo) got an assist. “Wow,” I thought aloud to myself, as I often do in my apartment, “the Korpedo is still alive? I wonder what other Rangers are still dabbling around the West.” And so, here is my post for today…

John Tortorella, Head Coach with the Rangers 2008-2013 | Now: Canucks Head Coach

Well, duh. Whether you loved or hated Torts’ exit last summer, you definitely had strong feelings about it. Awful with the media? Yep. Kind of mean to the players in public? Sure. Known for a hardcore training camp that would kill you or me? Absolutely. But still, for his time in New York, stats prove that you cannot deny his efficiency; in five seasons, he missed the playoffs once. However, his relationship with players, the media, and his lack of a championship ring on Broadway eventually shuttled him out and on his way to the Pacific Northwest. So, how is he now? Efficient. His Canucks have 48 points, winning 8 of their last 10 with one of those losses in OT. They were a bit shaky at first but it seems that they have adjusted to the system, and shockingly for many Rangers fans, the stars are responding and thriving under Torts’ hard-nosed approach. As a fan who was sad to see him go, I didn’t miss his outbursts like he showed at MSG against Alex Edler; however, it appears these guys can handle it. Hey, maybe Torts will find Musky in Vancouver, who knows.

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Master Plan: New York Rangers roster in 2013 & beyond

Does AV mean a changing of roles for the players?

Does AV mean a changing of roles for the players?

For several off-seasons running, I’ve been creating these “master plans” that talk about the future rosters of the Rangers. The purpose of these posts is to really come full circle on all of the topics and rumors we’ve been covering over the course of the season. During prior offseasons, creating these plans was pretty easy for me as John Tortorella frequently talked about the Rangers “team concept”. Based on his vision, I just filled in the blanks.

With his team template in mind, these posts were generally unified by three main ingredients for success — roster balance, strong skating ability, and making an effort in all three zones. As trade deadlines and free agency periods came and went, my plans always revolved around the idea that the Rangers should stick to those three ingredients when evaluating their own team and what’s available on the marketplace.

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Slats: Style of play had Tortorella fired

(Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

(Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)

Pat Leonard of the Daily News sat down with Glen Sather yesterday, and the Rangers GM was very candid about the decision to relieve former coach John Tortorella of his duties. Slats said that the “style of play had a lot to do with it” in reference to the dismissal of the coach. Leonard was able to get more details from the GM as well:

“If you look at these playoff games (like the Stanley Cup Finals matchup) you’re gonna see, the style that they play, I mean there’s not a hell of a lot of dump-ins,” Sather said. “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.”

It’s a very interesting quote, and there are a few things that –if you read between the lines– certainly changed Slats’ opinion of the direction of the team. For the sake of the post, we are focusing on the on-ice product on not on Torts’ personality. From this quote alone, you can see that the organization shifted direction on Torts in a very short amount of time, and it all had to do with on-ice performance.

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Who replaces Tortorella? the Blue Seat Blogs take

Who will replace the temperamental Tortorella?

Who will replace the temperamental Tortorella?

Here at Blue Seat Blogs we feel that when we bring you Rangers information, particularly our own analysis, you guys benefit from well, our differing of opinions. As a group Dave, Justin, Kevin, the Suit and myself don’t always agree and that can lead to fresh ideas and interesting perspectives. The Rangers vacant head coaching role is no different.

With news of the Rangers approaching Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins as they begin their search to replace John Tortorella we have varied opinions on the HC role. We thought we’d share what we think with you.

Dave:

For me, it is either Vigneault or Eakins. Vigneault has run some very offensive minded schemes in Vancouver, and his personality is the exact opposite of Torts. You don’t follow up Torts with Lindy Ruff. They are the same personality, and you will get the same result. If the Rangers are set on being more creative and less north-south, then Vigneault is their man.

Justin:

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More fallout from the firing of John Tortorella

Mike Sullivan won’t be behind the bench next year either

As the feeling of shock lifts from the Ranger fan community, we’ve begun to examine some possible replacements for coach John Tortorella.  The new man behind the bench will be the story of the offseason, but the departure of Tortorella could also have an impact on many other important decisions the franchise will make.

Henrik Lundqvist will sign a contract extension

I still believe that The King’s comments on Monday were harmless, but many Rangers fans panicked over Lundqvist’s hesitation to commit to New York long term.  To me, Lundqvist was only being smart before negotiating what should be his final NHL contract, one that will put a massive dent in New York’s payroll going forward.  Nevertheless, there have been some clues that Lundqvist was less than thrilled with Tortorella.  With the ornery general out of the way, no amount of money or years should be an obstacle in locking up Hank for the next eight years.  Firing Tortorella was a strong message to Lundqvist and others that New York recognizes its window won’t be open indefinitely and that there’s a sense of urgency every year to bring home the Cup.  Expect Lundqvist to ink a new pact this summer. Read more »

Breaking: John Tortorella fired

Per Katie Strang, John Tortorella has been fired as the head coach of the Rangers. This comes as a huge shocker, as no one here believed he would be fired, and that he was the right man for the job. Clearly the front office felt differently. Torts has been the subject of a lot of rumors, and now those rumors seem to have become truth.

Per Elliotte Friedman, Henrik Lundqvist’s comments after the season “changed everything.” It appears the organization chose Hank over Torts, and you can’t really blame them.

Per Renaud Lavoie, Alain Vigneault is a candidate for the Rangers.

Thoughts following the most recent elimination game

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers were able to keep their season going/salvage some dignity last night with a dramatic OT win over the Bruins at MSG.  My sister-in-law, who is an ER nurse, was working last night and catching bits and pieces of the game on a hospital TV.  Between the third period and OT, she posted on Facebook, “Ok Rangers, I kept my patient alive, you can keep this game alive!”.  It was a nice microcosm of the attitude of Ranger fandom, and her defiant faith was rewarded.  The Blueshirts still have quite the task ahead, but as they say, “one game at a time”.   Since we are heading back to Boston tomorrow, I thought I’d share some thoughts about the game and series in general…

  • Henrik Lundqvist was stellar again last night.  The funny thing about The King in this series is that he gets blasted for Game 2 (simply due to the number of goals allowed), but I thought he was hung out to dry big time in that game.  For me, if the Rangers fall say, one game short, the missed opportunity will have been Game 1.  Both of the regulation goals in that game were stoppable, and the complexion of this series could have been very different going to New York.
  • As Ranger fans, we tend to focus on our team’s shortcomings in the event of failure.  Let’s not forget in this instance, the Boston Bruins are a very good team.  They can roll four lines for 60 minutes and have plenty of system depth.  We didn’t have a Torey Krug or Matt Bartkowski to slot into the lineup when Marc Staal got hurt.  Many fans are going to lament the teams goal scoring woes, and seek to bolster the offense in the offseason, but I think quality depth is the number one priority at this stage. Read more »

Tortorella needs to change to survive

"Line changes? what line changes?"

“Line changes? what line changes?”

For the sake of himself, the Rangers, and their entire season, John Tortorella needs to do something that is almost foreign to him as a coach and stick to his line combinations for the rest of the season. The Rangers season, and indeed the coach’s own future, may depend on his willingness to do just that.

Against the Hurricanes Monday night Tortorella reverted to Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards-Rick Nash once again being on the same line. While the line didn’t score its reunion coincided with the most assertive game Richards had played in weeks (including some exceptional passes that led to scoring chances) and saw Gaborik look much more dynamic than he had done for the majority of the season. Rick Nash was simply Rick Nash; as the game developed the big winger was consistently dangerous. These lines were left the same for last night’s game, and it was one of the most complete efforts we’ve seen all year. Plus, this mega-line scored.

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Musings; take down the Jets edition

Plenty of goal celebrations tonight please.

Plenty of goal celebrations tonight please.

If you think the Rangers media/fan base is bad, you should have seen the stink kicked up by Jake Gardiner’s agent in Toronto. One naughty tweet (“free Jake Gardiner”) created a storm of speculation. Rangers’ prospects should relax knowing they don’t need to deal with the overzealous Toronto market.

Following on from his recent upturn in form, Michael Del Zotto is averaging a point per game against the Jets franchise. The Buffalo game aside (almost everyone stank), it will be interesting to see MDZ on the puck tonight and see whether he can continue to bring the level of poise and confidence he’s had recently. He’s an important part of this team, and when he’s on can make other players around him more dangerous.

Something about tonight’s match up; if the team can’t enter this game motivated, hungry, and with serious energy I’ll be slightly concerned. The Rangers and Jets are 8th and 9th in the standings, with the same points. There is a lot riding on this game. This is the kind of game where the Rangers better players need to step up.

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Rangers’ powerplay crucial to season

We need to see more celebrating from the Rangers PP unit - and soon

We need to see more celebrating from the Rangers PP unit – and soon

The Rangers need to get their powerplay to at least an acceptable standard and soon – otherwise it threatens to derail a hugely promising season. Already in this young but abbreviated season we’ve seen the Rangers powerplay, despite the addition of an elite talent in Rick Nash, fail to come through in crucial occasions in multiple games and we’re only a handful of games in.

Against Philadelphia on Thursday the Rangers had a long 5 on 3 chance that gave them the opportunity to tie the game. Including the final two minutes of the double minor, the Rangers mustered just two shots on goal in four minutes and in the game overall had just three shots on four powerplay chances. That simply isn’t good enough. Against the Penguins the Rangers had a big chance to get back in to the game when back to back minors for the Pens handed a chance to the Rangers but again, the Rangers failed to capitalise. It continues…

In the Bruins game – the season opener – the Rangers went 0-5 on the powerplay and again, had a chance to tie the game early in the third but failed to take advantage of the five on three advantage. As you can see, the Rangers powerplay is literally costing the team points. How much is too much?

John Tortorella has done a wonderful job as Rangers coach and this is by no means demanding any drastic changes. Along with Glen Sather he has overseen the return to respectability of the franchise and indeed has built up what could be a perennial contender. However, the powerplay has been at best ordinary, at worst brutal, for several seasons. At some stage the coaching staff need to answer why this ongoing issue hasn’t been remotely resolved as it’s certainly not for a lack of talent available. Whether Tortorella takes over the duties for righting the PP wrongs, or whether he changes the personnel who run the unit something needs to be done.

We’ve seen clubs such as San Jose directly address special teams’ woes with adding new coaching staff. The Sharks brought in Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson, expanded former Shark Mike Ricci’s role on the penalty kill and have seen immediate improvements on the penalty kill. It could be time for the Rangers to address their ‘situation’ in similar fashion. Why not bring in specialist coaches? Why the reluctance to draw on the obvious offensive skills and knowledge of a guy like Brian Leetch? A Leetch can’t do any worse with this group of players and at the very least would provide fresh impetus and a PR boom.

When a team can put Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Nash and Ryan Callahan on a first powerplay unit that team certainly has enough firepower to have a threatening special teams unit. That isn’t the case here. Something is wrong and someone needs to address it before it ruins the season. It’s already cost this team points.

It is worth noting that Torts has run successful powerplays throughout his entire career, including in the minors prior to coming to the Rangers. Pierre McGuire (hold your laughs) noted this on the radio. Naturally, Torts doesn’t have control of the powerplay this season, Mike Sullivan does. Not sure if you should read into that, but not sure you shouldn’t either.