Irresponsible Rumormongering

Lundqvist: I didn’t have Torts fired

Per Larry Brooks, Henrik Lundqvist made his first public comments since his “Comments heard ’round the world” that set all of New York into a panic. Per Brooks, Lundqvist denied having any say in the decision to fire John Tortorella:

“I know there is some speculation regarding Torts being fired, but let’s be clear on one thing,” Lundqvist said via an e-mail on Wednesday that contained his first comments on the matter. “It’s not my call who the coach should be for the New York Rangers.

“I would never put pressure on the management on decisions like that. I’m just a player. My focus is to play the game and do the best I can on the ice. Whatever [happens] off the ice, I leave to our great staff we have working for this club.”

Lundqvist elaborated on his comments a little more, and it’s definitely a good read on the whole Hank situation.

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  • The players, especially Lundqvist and Callahan, cannot have it both ways. I am sure Lundqvist did not specifically tell Sather to fire Tortorella; that is not how things are done. But his vague comments about renewing his contract and other “indications” as Sather suggested he was able to pickup on, were enough to get the message across.

    I’ve lost some respect for both Hank and Callahan. Tortorella came prepared to resume the run toward the Cup this season, and the players were poorly prepared. There play during the season made this obvious.

    It’s always easy to fire the coach, and often that is the first thing done before changes at the GM and player level. And I am sure there will be excitement and hype about our new coach; however, make no mistake, this team and organization took a material step backward when it relieved Tortorella of his role as coach.

    I hope Hank,Staal, Girardi, McD, Stralman, Boyle, and Stepan all send Tortorella a note of thanks; they are better players today because of his development skills with younger players, than they would be had they never played for him.

    • As I’ve said on other blogs, I do not for a second believe the players staged a coup that fired Torts. That is a cover story that is convenient — and cowardly. I was told by someone I trust (who knows the Dolans) that Torts was going to be fired no matter the outcome of the playoffs, and that it was DOLAN who was fed up with him. (Do you think he ever really forgave Torts for calling BS on him after his comments about the Rangers being on the way to winning the Stanley Cup last year?) Sather whispered in Larry Brooks’ ear that the players said they were tired of Torts’ act in the exit interviews, and Brooks (and others) bought it. I’m glad Hank said something. All along, I’ve maintained that his comments re: contract extension are him publicly negotiating. He is going for max money & time. It wasn’t because he wanted to get Torts fired.

    • You’re right in every way. Too bad more fans don’t see it our way. Hank may not have said to fire the coach but he just as easily could’ve said I won’t resign with him behind the bench. Either way he got Torts out of town. I was a huge fan of Torts but if he was too over bearing on them making the players miserable then this change may be best. However, when you have a mutiny in the locker room it does not breed growth for the team as a whole. I hope I’m wrong but this could split a locker room and be the start of a downward spiral for the Rangers. The kids you mentioned who came up through the orginization under Torts teaching. Are all better players because of the time spent under his tutaledge. It’s a shame it happened like that and I don’t think a more offensive minded coach is what will get this team to the finals. Defense wins championships.

    • The only one of those who remotely needs to thank JT is Boyle. The other 6 you mentioned flourished IN SPITE OF Torts, not b/c of him. Meanwhile guys like DZ and CK languished b/c of dear ol’ JT.

      And if Hank is going to send ANYONE a thank you note, it’s to Benoit Allaire. Maybe some flowers and Swedish meatballs, too. 🙂

  • Anyone who thinks Torts’ run in NYC was anything less than a success is just plain oblivious. He took the franchise forward for sure even if he couldn’t deliver a cup but how many Rangers HC’s have?

    Good luck Torts and thanks.

    • Oh really? Let’s take a look, shall we?

      2009 Lost in First Round (WSH)
      2010 Missed Playoffs (SO-PHL, Game 82)
      2011 Lost in First Round (WSH)
      2012 Lost in Conference Finals (NJD)
      2013 Lost in Second Round (BOS)

      So basically, “moving forward” is defined as:

      a) only making it past Round 2 once in 5 years (while needing, oh by the way, (2) Game 7’s just to do so despite being the top seed)

      and b) not even getting to Round 2 (3) out of the (5) years.

      Oh yeah, we moved forward alright. 🙁

      • And under Renney’s watch we were:

        2006- Lost in 1st round
        2007- Lost in 2nd round
        2008- Lost in 2nd round

        So in that regard, it could be viewed as a ste sideways. But, Weissman, what you are failing to acknowledge is the culture change that came along with Tortarella- which would be wrong to overlook.

        He brought a hard work ethic and accountability to a team which lacked it prior to his tenure. He instilled a mentality in his team which forbade a star to coast on his past goal totals and demanded that he give his all day in and day out. It’s a mentality which everyone bought into until seemingly this year. Which, I guess I’m starting to believe, was why he was shown the door. Hopefully that change in organizational culture didn’t get dismissed along with the coach.

      • Actually, as Hatrick said one cannot discount the culture change that Torts instilled. Along with the development of Cally, McD, Step, Hags and even Boyle but yeah, you’re right, lets just harp on when they were ousted from the playoffs and keep score like that…

  • How did Callahan get into this? There is so much misinformation out there and endless speculation. No one other than Glen Sather knows why he let Torts go and he is not talking.

    • That’s it. It’s all speculation and misinformation (I have a friend who’s drinking buddies with Dolan’s neighbor’s cousin), the unfortunate part for us fans is we’ll probably never know Sather’s thinking unless we get the post retirement tell-all book.

    • Well stated Sally!

      I was not a fan of the BS Torts pulled, but to point fingers at players, and lay the blame on them for his dismisal is bunk!

  • Because he is the captain. Whoever the players were that caught sather’s ear had to be players whos opinion carried weight.

    • If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle, but neither of us know if that’s true or not…so we shouldn’t assume that Callahan had anything to do with anything, because as we know… assumptions makes asses out of you and me :).

  • Fwiw, no one “walked into Slats office” per se, and demanded Torts be canned. For one thing, that would be perceived as a major, overstepping faux pas by management i.e. whining from Slats’ perspective about the player(s) who aired said grievances.

    More realistically, 1) Hank’s post-season comments, like Cally’s, were clearly forthright enough to convey how he/they felt about the season and the team’s style of play. It wasn’t rocket science.

    And 2) just like all 29 other GM’s, Slats systematically met with each and every player for individual, 1-on-1 post-season wrap-up convos as would be done after every season. And in all likelihood, guys like Danny G, Richie, Staal, McD, etc. and yes Hank, too, = aired their thoughts on this past year, the style and next year, etc. I’m sure once given that opportunity/forum to discuss their views, things came out collectively about our beloved JT. Hence, Slats responded appropriately and expeditiously, as a good manager should. 🙂

  • Aggressive coaches have a short shelf life. He wore out his welcome. When you stop seeing great improvements then you know you hit the ceiling with who’s behind the bench. Every coach gets fired eventually.

    Adapt and overcome. We did neither this year.

    You never know this could all backfire and we could post a horrible record next year. Alternatively, this could also be a great thing. And it could put us over the top to compete.

    Lets face it, Claude Julian out coached torts. We can’t have that.

    • Exactly. All coaches have a shelf life – guys like Torts and Keenan have shorter ones than most because of their dictatorship-like style. Mind you, those styles are generally successful in the short term, but they can never last. Torts is a very good coach. Some players flourished under his style, some did not. It is like that with every type of coach and their relationship with different players. Torts did a good job while he was here but it wasn’t good enough. It was time for a change and I think they picked the right guy. That and a few minor tweaks and NYR should be back in the hunt.

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