Rangers Rumors & News
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When you have a rotten owner, a bad GM and an ineffective coach, what does it all add up to? A bad team, of course. And that’s what the Rangers are right now, a bad team. Wasn’t John Tortorella supposed to bring a tireless work ethic, accountability and toughness to the team? Well, that didn’t happen. The players are either tuning him out or he’s not doing his job. There’s no urgency, no sense of the season slipping away or sense that the players really care very much that they might miss the playoffs. Where is the “if anything, a John Tortorella coached team will always work hard and won’t get pushed around – or else” sentiment that we heard about when he was hired? It seems the players stopped listening to him a long time ago. Tortorella was hired as nice-guy Tom Renney’s opposite, but that didn’t translate into the team playing any harder or smarter for him than his predecessor.

Of course, the roster that was given to him by Glen Sather is deficient in just about every way possible (though Tortorella most likely had a hand in picking some of the players) – lack of offensive weapons, lack of defensive defensemen, lack of toughness, lack of hard-working players. They only have two players in their prime – Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik – which is fine if you’re rebuilding. Look at how the St. Louis Blues recently buzzed around the Rangers and made them look old and slow (John Davidson, please come back and save the Rangers). But the Rangers have too many players causing salary cap headaches and too many useless parts.

They did have had some bright spots this year – a full NHL season for Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy and Artem Anismov, another year of development for Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky (though he seems to be stuck in the mud and not progressing very quickly) and a (mainly) healthy and successful season for Gaborik (we won’t have to worry if he can handle New York or wonder if he can play more than 30 games a season next year). But the coach was not a positive this year. Tortorella is petty, classless, sometimes acts like he belongs in George Costanza’s jerk store, talks tough but doesn’t always follow through with actions and has not had any positive influence on the team. We briefly had Wade Redden Scratch-Gate and the demotion of Chris Drury but that was about it. He’s picked on Sean Avery and Gaborik a bit, too. But the players aren’t exactly acting like they’d skate through a brick wall for their coach (which also says something about the players, many of whom wouldn’t skate through a brick wall for anybody). Would a better coach have gotten more out of this ragtag collection of players? Maybe, maybe not. But we know Tortorella did nothing to help them overachieve.

The Rangers now have a three-game losing streak, and are in 10th place in the conference with only 10 games left. So much for that homestretch success that’s gotten them into the playoffs the last few years. It surely looks like it’s not happening this year. It’s always something – the power play lets them down (as it did in Sunday’s game against Boston), their effort lets them down, their lack of talent lets them down, their scattered defensive play lets them down. But their coach has let them down, too. I was excited and had high hopes for John Tortorella when he was hired. He surely won’t be fired after his first full year with the team, but if he was, I wouldn’t miss him. I guess everything wasn’t Tom Renney’s fault after all.

There are currently 2 responses to “John Tortorella Is a Disappointment”

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  1. 1 On March 23rd, 2010, Jeff Zachowski said:

    To me, I don’t see how anyone could make the argument that this year’s squad has worse talent than last year’s. Gomez, Zherdev, Antropov, Mara for Gaborik, Prospal, Anisimov, Del Zotto. That’s a no-brainer to me. If we can agree to that, then we can forget about Sather for the time-being, and there really are few other places to point aside from the coach. I’d coveted Tortorella ever since we let him slip through our fingers, so needless to say, I was overjoyed when they brought him aboard last season. The guy has been a disaster.

    This team has taken so many twists and turns this year, I can’t pretend I remotely understand them, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt. But personally, here is what I don’t understand: When Torts took over the team at the end of last year, the point we heard loudest and clearest, in terms of changes from Renney’s system, is that the defense were going to pinch. We heard the same thing all throughout training camp and the team begun the season on fire, largely on the back of that “Safe is death” mantra. Next thing you know, the team losses three in a row, including a game against San Jose when they surrendered 7 goals, and the team – or more specifically, the coaching staff – seemed to panic. We heard Matt Gilroy describe Tortorella’s system as “run & gun” and the coach had a fit. From that point on, I feel as if I’ve been watching a completely different system out there. Sure the forwards forecheck a bit more aggressively than they did under Renney, but do the defense really pinch that much? Outside of that first week or two of the season, I don’t really see it.

    Michael Del Zotta has 8 goals on the season. Four of those came between the home opener on Oct 3 and the San Jose defeat on Oct 19. Matt Gilroy has been completely underwhelming. Even so, 2 of his 4 goals on the season came in October. Wade Redden scored on Oct 12, then never scored again until last week. Marc Staal – 2 goals in October, 3 the rest of the year. It is glaring and it confuses the heck out of me.

    Torts talked about having the best goalie in the world and affording the luxury of surrendering an odd man rush or two during a game. The team surrenders a few goals on odd man rushes and he flips his lid. Well the team plays more conservatively now, and they still surrender odd man rushes. Way to go, Coach.

    At the start of the season, one of the things I said was, even if they’re just as mediocre as they’ve been the last two seasons, they at least will feature a more entertaining brand of mediocrity. Well that lasted about two weeks. With a more potent offense, they’ve managed to score fewer goals. With a supposedly high-octane coach, they’ve managed to bore us to tears on most nights. It is a season where I don’t think you look at the roster and simply say – This group stinks. I think the WAY in which they’ve stunk has been the most frustrating part.

  2. 2 On March 25th, 2010, Jeff Freier said:

    Agreed. Where’s all the excitement (last night’s game notwithstanding)?

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