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.

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  • Wow, very rarely these days does sports shock me, but this one is shocking for sure. From different tweets and stuff floating out there (grain of salt) apparently there was a blowup/something happened this morning.

    • There has to be something to this. John’s giant head got him canned. Something had to have happened.

  • Although I have been a Torts fan, this was the right thing to do as Torts has become a distraction to the team and this team was not performing as it should have. Saying Hags stinks on the PP was a big mistake for a guy known to protect his players.

    • I think the opposite, Torts became a distraction FOR this team, deflecting attention off struggling players all playoffs (as usual).

    I just said on Monday that I thought Torts & Sully both needed to be replaced, with a whole new voice and plan to take this team to the next step, as this core Roster has a legitimate shot at Lord Stanleys Cup in 2013-14….PLEASE, PLEASE Glen..Take your time and make a terrific choice…!!!!

  • Well I’m surprised. I’ll be waiting to hear the full story on what happened/why the change. One of two coaches to make it past the first round past two years without some major pieces and some major pieces falling apart (Richards). Really thought that would buy him a year. Liked the guy a ton, hate to see him go.

    What the hell are we going to do to for comments now?

    • I was thinking the same thing. I wonder if we will ever find out the whole story. I hope they have some guys lined up for interviews with Lindy Ruff at the head. Hopefully this won’t drag out all summer.

      I have obviously supported the guy and am truly shocked since I thought he had another year. But since lockout #1 Sather has generally made the right moves or has fixed his mistakes so let’s hope this is another one.

      Will we be hearing soon that Sully will get canned too?

      • His business partner is all smiles today. Wonder if the “clown” statement earlier this season was foreshadowing Hank’s opinions.

        • I have no doubt that Avery’s tweet accurately reflected the viewpoints of most of the team.

          I like torts. I just think what he did really didn’t work with this team. Anything but a Coughlin-like reinventoin, we weren’t winning with Torts.

      • Ruff won’t be the guy. You can’t follow Torts with Ruff, they are the same person. Need a more player-friendly coach.

  • This is the best news possible. This team was going nowhere with torts at the helm. We took a huge step back this year, and Torts clearly had no idea what ot do with the ample offensive talent at his disposal.

  • I have very mixed feelings about this. I’m a big fan of John Tortorella. The man’s got a lot more class than the media lets you believe, and his giant heart is never in question. That being said there are a lot of aspects about his system I think needed a lot of tweaking (powerplay, bringing the wingers further up in the dzone to help breakouts and point coverage)… He also didn’t get a training camp this year and his roster turnover was significant. If they bring in a good coach that works it looks like a solid move. If they bring in a coach that bombs then this looks like a very very dumb move. Is Messier ready to coach a team yet?

  • I was a Torts supporter until he through Hags under the bus. It was time for him to go. Teams shouldn’t come out flat for playoffs games and the rangers did that too often. Coming out flat is direct reflection on the coach.

    Hank said the right stuff but I think the breaking point for the team was the Hag’s comments. Torts never took any of the blame for PP. he also didn’t change his style of play with a different roster.

    I think Slats will take his time finding a coach but he pushed because the opening out there. I think Lindy Ruff would be a great replacement. I personally think Ted Nolan is a great coach but he will not get a shot here.

  • I just think it was his dump and chase system wasn’t working for this team.i liked the guy but I’m glad the change is going to be made.

  • Wild. I figured he’d be under increased scrutiny to start next season, but clearly given some more rope. My preference for a replacement would be Alain Vigneault. He would keep us busy around here with his o-zone start based system.

      • fire a guy bc he cant get a good team to live up to expectations to hire a guy who cant get a good team to live up to expectations…

        • Exactly. I liked Torts. Personally think he deserved another year. However, who would be Z better choice. I don’t see Ruff, Boucher, or AV as an upgrade. Really on the fence with this one!

    • I get the impression Torts was pretty shocked too. If you watch his last post game he did not sound like a guy who thought he wouldn’t be back.

  • Shocking is the word. I am neutral towards Torts (I think he has his strengths and weaknesses) but for sure I thought he’d get another year.

  • Were Lundqvist’s comments to the media or to the management? If they were to the media, does anyone have a link to them? Thanks in advance.

  • Once again Hank makes a save for all of us even before next season begins… young guys must feel like its christmas…not to mention Brad and Rick……………..

    • Um, Torts was Brad’s biggest defender. Apparently there was a major disagreement this morning. Don’t be surprised if it was over Richards being bought out. So this definitely does not bode well for Brad.

  • Like everyone here, I’m surprised. But management really has played things close to the vest. I did expect that when Torts finally was fired that it would be a surprise to most people – just didn’t this year was an option.

  • I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the Brad Richards buyout happens this summer now. I feel that has something to do with this.

    • I’d somewhat agree, but I think, and Dave can speak to this better than I can, it makes more cap sense to do it after 2013-14.

    • Yes, Richards has to be bought out. Right now, Step and Brassard are better options at center for lines 1 and 2. Boyle looks good on the 3rd line, and Richards is not a 4th line type….even if he was you can’t pay $$$ for a 4th line center. So unless they trade Step or Brassard, there is no place for Brad. If they moved Boyle to the 4th line (where he belongs, really, but he too is making too much $ for that role) and kept Richards, they won’t be able to sign our RFAs. So it’s either the RFAs or Brad, is how I see it. Finally, with no Torts, does Avery get another shot? He is buddies with Hank…..

      • I don’t think we should buy him out, especially if his benching is why Torts lost the locker room.

        Sather definitely needs to not sign anymore big name free agents ever again.

    • Torts wanted Richards, Slats got him. Richards goes south, the team has to buy him out, heads have to roll. I don’t care how rich a team is, they can’t afford a buy out of this size.

  • I like this move. I thought Torts was the right guy 5 years ago but I soured on his attitude during his tenure. How about Schoenfeld? And why is it that Ted Nolan never gets a chance to get back in the league? What did he do? Richards should get one more full season, imo.

  • Here is what I think, trying to read between the lines. I think Torts’ benching of Brad Richards was the straw that broke the camels back as far as the players were concerned. This is where he lost the locker room. For evidence just look at the parting comments of our most important player, Lundqvist. He is a good friend of Richards and respects him highly. After losing the team, especially the franchise player, who is saying he is not sure he will re-up with the Rangers, Slats had no choice. That’s why this is such a surprise! It just happened in the last few days.

    • I don’t buy the team soured on Torts because he benched richards.

      Richards was going through the motions, and there were several times where he didn’t stick up for his teammates. It was something Torts had to do to have any credibility.

      What may have happened is that Torts didn’t want the Rangers to buyout Richards. That’s more plausible in my mind.

  • I guess Avery was right. They fired that clown.


    On to a new era.

    Messier. Messier. Messier.

    C’mon captain courageous we need you now more than ever.

    Take us to the promised land…lend us the Midas touch.

    Be like Larry Robinson. Win a cup as a player and a coach.


    • Not sure we have a long enough window for Mess to learn on the job. Love the guy, but I think he needs some coaching seasoning before heading up a team, especially one with aims to win a cup within the next couple of seasons.

      I think the attitude/leadership portion would obviously be excellent, but the actual coaching he has literally zero experience.

  • Well im shocked. Possible they could go with a guy already familiar with the system: Ken Gernander or Jim Schonfield possibilities?

      • Maybe Mike Sullivan at head coach. He was 1st in the conference with the Bruins his first year back in the 03-04 season. They had like 106 pts. But his 2nd season the Bruins went like 5th in the division.

  • Let’s thank Torts for helping bring this franchise back to competitive hockey. He was the right coach to get the team to where it is now. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the coach to take it to the next level after that. Not every coach can do that.

  • What do you guys think about doing a post on the systems of the high profile coaches available such as Ruff and Vigneault? I’m curious if you think the new possible coaches would bring drastic changes to the system torts used.

        • Suit, I’m shocked that this has been your only post so far. I really want to know what you think of the Torts firing. Without the benefit of contemplating it too long. Come on give it to us!

          • I’m going to work on a post tonight for tomorrow AM promise. Hard for me to post anything significant while I’m at work. But needless to say, I think this is a bad move and I’m very disapointed Sather didn’t at least tell us what he’s looking for in his next hire.

  • As you may remember, I am not a Torts fan. And even though the super-bloggers here have been behind him 100%, the players and fans have spoken! It is about time!

  • I said this last week, it was time for a new voice. The players had tuned him out. Give Torts credit, he instilled a work ethic and a defensive mindset that this organization severely lacked. But he couldn’t take them any further. This is the same as the firing of Roger Nielson. Now, make the right choice, and bring in a coach who will let the players use their talents; and not turn them into shot-blocking, dump-and-chase clods. Not sure about who should get the job, but I do have some reservations about Lindy Ruff. His teams play that boring, Devil-style of hockey; I think this team can be a dynamic group of guys, not just a trapping team. One suggestion I would make; ADAM GRAVES NEEDS TO BE ON THAT BENCH AS AN ASSISTANT!!

    • I believe Ruff plays a 1-2-2, but not like the 1-4 Devils teams of old. It’s not necessarily a trap in that it is still agressive, just not with 2 deep forcheckers. Unfortunately for people who would like to move away from the d-zone collapse, I think Ruff employs this system defensively.

      For sure Suit would be able confirm (and add more detail), but this is what I’ve gathered watching the Sabres play when I was living in Buffalo.

  • Agreed 100%. Good luck to Torts, he served us well, but it is time for a new direction. Would love to have Gravey behind the bench, too!

  • Pat Leonard (NYDailyNews) mentioned something in an article today that caught my eye:

    Could it be possible that Tortorella’s constant comments about management not providing enough depth lead to Sather’s decision? Would seem to be shortsighted if so, especially since Sather reinforced that idea by making those midseason trades, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless.

    At the end of the day, it could be that Tortorella and Richards were a package deal and the fact that he was benched may have (ironically) been Tortorella’s last stand. Expect Richards to be bought out this summer.

    • He later said (then deleted) “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas or in NYC???”

      So yeah, he was definitely getting his comments in. I think there was a lot of instant re-tweeting/commenting and he decided to back off by deleting the second one.

        • Seriously though, did Sean Avery have something with this tweet from earlier this season? Seems like they’ll be coming out of the woodwork.

          A Boston radio station was reporting dissent in the Rangers’ dressing room during the Boston series, and I kind of blew it off, but maybe there was something there that wasn’t reported in NY.

          • I’m so over Gaborik. I never really liked him, even when he was playing well. There was always just something about his interviews. I got the feeling that he didn’t want to be hear. The Rangers jersey doesn’t mean anything to him. Good riddance. Good luck missing the playoffs the rest of your career jackass. The Bob isn’t gonna carry that team for 82 games.

  • With the shortened season, lack of depth, and the injuries I thought for sure Torts was starting the next season. I was never a fan of Torts. Im not a fan of the lack of creativity his offense is allowed. Im not saying his system is the reason they dont score goals, but I always felt only certain players were allowed to carry the puck over the line if it wasnt an odd man rush. I hate puck side coverage in the defensive zone. If the pass gets across, there is a better chance of scoring by catching the goalie moving. I the way he acts with the media, other coaches get asked the same stupid questions after a loss and dont act like a clown.

    With all that I dont like about him, I still think he did a good job with the team and dont blame the season on him. This season was on the players, I broke it down in the management season ratings. If this core wins the cup, I will credit some of it to the work he did with these players. He pushed these players to get their best out of them and got it out of them for most of the time. While I may not like his styles, I give him credit for the good did here not like most anti-torts fans.

    I think a coach like Torts has a shelf life, while it was might have been close to the end I dont think he was at the end. Im very interested in what happened because I dont think in a shortened, injury filled season, that the results of this season had to do with the firing. I dont think it was planned. I dont think the players tuned him out.

    Did Hank say hes not signing long term to play under Torts? Maybe he did maybe he didnt but I it comes down to the Brad Richards. Torts wanted this him because hes a true number 1 center only to a year later have him playing 4th line and benching for elimination games. Sather says were buying him out, Torts says no way and spirals from there.

    While I was never a supporter, I wasnt one who sat there and every time they lost a 2-1 game jump all over him to be fired, the way the delzaster crowd jumps on him for every mistake. It will be interesting to see who they replace him with, lets hope its not a step backwards.

    • Well aren’t you special! Let’s not forget Glen Sather, who has 4 cups on his resume, also thought is was time for Torts to go. Maybe you are not as smart as you think.

    • That may be true, but it still doesn’t speak to why the PP was so static (you could have paul coffey being the PPQB and we still wouldn’t score), why our wingers would collapse below the hashmarks leaving the points to unleash hell on Lundqvist, why we had no transition game, etc. We played scared every game, and we literally could not be more conservative. We got rid of Renney so we could get Renney redux. I bet we have the fewest odd-man rushes and breakaways in the league. We were arrayed so defensively in our own zone, that opposing teams could work us like a punching bag with impunity.

      Yes this team was flawed, but the group of guys Torts had at his disposal were infinitely better than what he had when he joined the team, or when Renney left. We’ve regressed in many aspects of our play, not to mention that Torts clearly lost the locker room.

      If that’s true, and from everything we see, it is, then even if Torts was the best tactician in the history of the league (he isn’t at all), he should be let go.

  • I previously posted how a coach like Torts burns guys out.Great coaches design systems to fit the players they have.Torts said here’s my system you all fit into it.That left guys who such be flying,mucking and grinding.Players collapsing in front of the worlds best goalie and leaving the points wide open.He was stubborn and had trust issues.The new coach should be someone who works well with young players and is fair and tough.This team is still young and more young guys knocking on the door.Think big,nasty,fast and tough.It was time for him to go.

    • I think Torts’ system works well with certain players. I mean, he has The Cup on his resume. A lot of this season’s shortcomings fall on the players as much as they do Torts. Playing with no heart, coming out flat, and letting Boston run all over them is straight embarrassing and they all should be ashamed.

      I’m very disappointed in how this organization is treating people recently. Chris Drury’s buy-out was necessary, but still left a bad taste. The Redden deal was brutal, and that left a brown stain on the mattress. The handling of Kreider has been irresponsible. Sather blew it on Miller’s deal, wasting a year of his ELC. Torts calling out Hags was bad, but benching Brad was the only thing he could do. Benching Asham was a mistake.

      Now, the Richards buy-out looms. Pretty hard to support an organization that doesn’t stand by anyone. I’m surprised Sather hasn’t axed himself. Did anyone he the part of the conference call where a reporter asked if he’d be GMing next season? I think it’s obvious he made major errors, too.

      • Sather has made errors B.Rich being his latest FA error.Kreider,JT Miller are on Torts he should have played them period.Young players should make mistakes and they should learn from them.Not banished them to the bench for the rest of the game.If played and coached up they would have been ready come play off time.Kreider looked good winning game 4.The guy had trust issues rookies make mistakes and so do veterans.Benching Asham was a mistake.Buy B.RICH out and move on.

    • Harlemblues

      Every point you made is correct. On many occasions I said we had grayhounds that should be running, instead he had them play like plow horses.

      Last night on TSN, the Canadian ESPN, one of the hockey insiders stated that someone in the organization told him that Torts lost the locker room back in Feb, and it showed on the ice. How many times were we laughed at when we said Torts lost the locker room, well enough said!!

  • End of an era. If the Rangers go back to their pre-Torts losing ways..Sather should be put out to pasture.

  • Torts needed to go. Period.

    – Rangers cannot score enpough 5 on 5
    – Power Play Stinks
    – System wears down all the players
    – When the forecheck fails the D system has lapses
    – Hanks window for a Cup is about 3 years

    Rangers would have advanced if the PP was successful. To bad, I liked Torts, but his system wears out all of the players especially the top D men lime McD and Giardi. Even if they beat Boston like they should have. Not enough offensive power and the team is worn out from a 48 game season to beat the likes of Pitt or Chicago. To bad.

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