NY Rangers: 4 Reasons the Media Will Try to Fire John Tortorella in 2012-13
John Tortorella became a focal point of media attention during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs because of his brevity when answering questions and his penchant for a shot-blocking style of defense.
Is there anything wrong with either?
Members of the media don't always ask hard-hitting questions that spark true insight into a team's well-being, and often, they just ask any question that will get the coach/player talking, preferably in an irritated way that will produce a good sound bite.
Listen to the obnoxious question Adam Scott faced after he blew the Open Championship back in July.
Many coaches understand that acquiescing to idiotic questions is part of the job description, and they often become politicians during interviews, giving catchphrase-filled answers that won't offend anyone but also don't reveal anything.
However, a lot of reporters do ask intelligent questions that go unanswered because the answer would reveal something about the game plan. In these situations, most coaches will say something related to the question, but not fully answer it, again flipping the politician switch.
This is the difference between most coaches and John Tortorella. Torts will tell you in as few words as possible if he isn't going to answer a question.
Whenever the NHL season starts, Torts will face perhaps more questions from the press than any other coach because of where his teams plays and their expectations for this upcoming season.
If the quick-to-overreact New York media doesn't like his answers, they may be calling for his job early and often.
Lack of Goals
Marian Gaborik finished third in the NHL last year with 41 regular season goals.
While the addition of Rick Nash should help compensate, Gaborik's production will be missing for the start of the season. With or without Gaborik, if the Rangers struggle to score early in the season, the media will heap the blame largely on Tortorella and his tactics.
But the good news is the Rangers are stacked with new offensive talent like Nash and Chris Kreider, and the offense should be much improved in 2012-13.
While the playoffs were in full swing, some reporters condemned the shot-blocking tactics Torts has installed with the Rangers.
Larry Brooks even questioned whether the Rangers could attract top talent if the players knew they would be asked to throw their bodies in front of shots every night (via the NY Post).
Well, Torts is still the same guy and the Rangers did attract top talent this summer, so maybe the players understand that blocking shots is a fundamental part of team defense.
Professional hockey is so fast and dangerous that injuries are as inevitable as a disgusting Don Cherry suit.
However, if someone like Chris Kreider gets seriously injured while defending his own zone, the calls for Torts to be replaced will grow very loud, whether they are merited or not.
Lack of Wins
It's no secret that Henrik Lundqvist is the Rangers' most important player.
Last season, the Rangers only allowed 187 goals—best in the Eastern Conference by 15 goals. Despite the influx of offensive talent, the Rangers will still be a defense-first team, and Lundqvist is the last line of defense.
While the Vezina Trophy winner should carry on his stellar play, if the Rangers lose a few close games in a row, the media will claim that Torts is putting too much pressure on Lundqvist or on the defense.
Another 90-Second Press Conference
What's a ruder way to answer a question: telling someone, "I'm not going to answer that," or taking 45 seconds to say enough to maneuver to the next question without providing anything concrete?
Torts will probably be on good behavior for the start of the season, and he's said that it's really only during the playoffs that he doesn't like to talk much.
But put him in a room with a bunch of critics that never played the sport and it may only take one obnoxious question to get him going.
Of course, if the lockout doesn't get resolved, we'll be reading a lot of obnoxious quotes about salary reductions, hockey-related revenues and other things that even lawyers find boring.
Here's hoping we get to talk about wins, losses and which coaches deserve to be fired.