NEW YORK (Ticker)—Following three weeks of mostly uninspired play, the New York Rangers have fired embattled coach Tom Renney, who was in his fourth full season with the team.
The Rangers, who announced the firing Monday afternoon, did not immediately name a replacement for Renney. Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella reportedly has been tabbed as a possible candidate.
The Rangers also fired assistant Perry Pearn but retained Mike Pelino and Benoit Allaire. New York’s next game is at Toronto on Wednesday
After missing the playoffs for seven straight years from 1998-2004, Renney, 53, spearheaded New York’s resurgence following the lockout that canceled the 2004-05 season.
Under Renney’s guidance, the Rangers made three straight playoff appearances and reached the conference semifinals in each of the last two seasons.
Since replacing current New York general manager Glen Sather for the final 20 games of the 2003-04 campaign, Renney posted a 164-121-42 in 327 games as Rangers coach. The 164 wins ranks fourth on the team’s all-time list.
However, the Rangers (31-23-7) have been in a free fall, falling to 2-7-3 in their last 12 games following Sunday’s 3-2 overtime defeat to Toronto.
During that stretch, the offensively-challenged Rangers have scored just 19 goals, continuing a season-long problem that has become even more noticeable.
The slide has put a fourth straight trip to the postseason in jeopardy as New York has slipped to a tie for sixth in the Eastern Conference, just two points clear of a playoff spot.
Despite a roster that includes Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Nikolai Zherdev and Markus Naslund, New York is second-to-last in the league in scoring, averaging only 2.33 goals per game.
Under Renney’s watch, the power play also has been a huge problem, ranking just 28th in the NHL at 13.8 percent.
Renney’s defense-first approach has been criticized, and he also has been questioned for relying too much on veterans, not being enough of a disciplinarian and juggling his lines too frequently.
Since a 3-2 win over Carolina on January 27 moved the Rangers a season-high 13 games over .500 (29-16-4), they have scored more than three goals only once in 12 games – a 5-4 shootout victory over Washington on February 11.
New York has been a .500 team following a 10-2-1 start in October.