By now, you have all heard that Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella will be suspended for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals due to his conduct behind the bench during Game 5. Prior to the game, Tortorella made the decision to bench Sean Avery in favor of Aaron Voros due to Avery’s lack of discipline at the end of Game 4. While I agreed with taking action with Avery, I disagreed benching him for an entire game and putting a player with an entirely different skill-set in his place. This marked the first time I really questioned Tortorella since he became coach (if that means anything). I do love the fact that Tortorella is a no BS guy: sort of reminds me of another coach that led this team to the Cup 15 years ago (geez has it been that long?)
But while his tactics are refreshing, I look at it this way: on a team that can’t skate, score, or forecheck, and who is trying to close out a playoff series no less, you bench a player that does all three of those things very good with a player who is marginal at all those things. The bottom line in any professional sport is winning, especially in the playoffs (duh). Your best team has to be on the ice every night. And to boot, they STILL took dumb penalties, and the guy you put in to replace the undisciplined Avery may get suspended and/or fined. And on top of THAT, you, as a head coach, lose your cool and get into it with some ridiculously drunk fan. And when all the smoke clears, it turns out that YOU instigated everything with said fan. What message are you sending to your players when stuff like that happens? You would never guess the Caps are on the brink of elimination, given these teams attitudes entering Game 6.
When its all said and done though, the Rangers are still up 3-2, coming back home. And luckily for them, their assistant coach has enough experience and respect to probably will this team to a clinching victory.