Tortorella Vs Renney! Prucha, Zherdev, Lets Get The Story Straight!

Mr. ControversyCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2009

WOODRIDGE, IL - AUGUST 19:  Assistant Coach John Tortorella  poses for a portrait during the USA Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp on August 19, 2009 at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Although this has no bearing on this season, I feel this is something that should be addressed. It is an issue that has bothered me all of last season and this off season.

I have read several articles about former players of the New York Rangers and have had many conversations with many of you here on bleacher about players that are on and where on the Rangers team.  

Coaching has taken a major part in the Rangers roster for so many years. From who is signed, traded or just let go, and it has been a recurring issue, where players that have the talent to be playing top line for any team, THAT end up riding the bench and then traded.

In 2005/06 season Ranger fans fell in love with a rookie player named Petr Prucha. In his first year Petr scored 30 goals and had 17 assists.  His energy ,toughness, determination and drive were something Ranger fans have not seen from their Ranger players in a long time.

In his second year Prucha scored 22 goals and 18 assists.  He was reliable, and he played his heart out.  But in 2007 his numbers dropped, along with his playing time.  From the start of the season coach Renney placed Prucha on the third line and eliminated him from the power play.  It wasn’t long before Prucha was not even in the lineup. 

Come the 2008/09 season, Renney brings in his pet from Vancouver Markus Naslund and Prucha is a playing the sidelines.  He plays only 28 games for the Rangers and later in the season is traded to Phoenix

There are fans out there that will say, well he fell off and was not playing up to par.  This is so far from the truth it is not even funny.

Ranger fans look at stats and nothing else. For the most part, this is what a large majority of hockey fans do. They just see that a guy isn’t scoring and demand he should be traded.  Never once taking a look at what is happening to the player by the coach, which is the real reason for their decline in goals.

The same thing happened last year to Nikolai Zherdev. But we will get to him later.

Prucha ended up playing 3rd and 4th line with players that were not even worthy of playing on his line.  Half the time he was in the offensive zone with the puck waiting for his teammates to catch up.  Why was he not playing were he should have been playing, which was the second and first line.  But Ranger fans do not realize this nor do they take note of it.

Here is a player that scores 30 goals and 22 goals in his first two years. And instead of building a team around the youngster, he ends up not even in the line up!

This was all about coach Renney and had nothing to do with Petr Prucha’s playing ability. Renney turned this team into a disaster and he did one thing that a coach should never do.  He showed favoritism and he brought in players that if he wasn’t the coach, these players would have never worn a Ranger Jersey.

The outcome, Petr Prucha is traded and the Rangers fans again are cheated out of one of their favorite players, who has the ability ,talent  and youth , that the Rangers needed.  

 Would the Rangers have signed Naslund if Renney was not the coach? Definitely not. Naslund was on the downward spiral for years prior and with the year that had much more qualified players on the free agency list, Renney gets Sather to sign Naslund.   Hossa , Bertuzzi,  Owen Nolan, Teemu Selanne, Ladislav Nagy,  Fedotenko,  Cory Stillman, Ruutu and Jan Hlavac to name a bunch where all free agents and would have been better picks then Naslund.  Renney gets fired and Naslund retires one year short of the end of his two year contract.  If that alone is not fishy, then something wrong with you! Especially when, Naslund came in first in goals last year.

Some will say well he did a very good job in the beginning. He did, but he also had help from the true leaders on that team. Jagr and Shanahan, both who used to stay after practice to help the younger guys. Does Renney try to keep Shanny, no he lets him go so he can sign Naslund, who turned out to be less of a leader then the coach.

Last year the Ranger fans were privileged enough to see one of the most exciting players in the NHL WEARING Rangers blue. No he is not the greatest player and no he is not the toughest player in the league. But Zherdev was indeed the best player the Rangers had last year.

This is an argument I have had with so many one side fans it is not funny. By far the biggest ,misconception  ever!

Here is a player that any normal team with the lineup that the Rangers had last year, would be building a core around.  They would look at him and realize that he is the franchise of this team.  His ability by far exceeds most players in the NHL today.  Talent that you only see from a few players.  Some say well what good is the talent if you do not use it. They are 100% right.  These are also the same people with short memories.

The first half of last years’ season, the Rangers road on the coat tails OF Zherdev.   This was at a time where coach Renney was somewhat on the right track on what to do with Zherdev.  Other then the first few games where ZHERDEV was playing 3rd line with DUBINSKY and voros, which turned out to be the biggest six game fluke for a player {voros} in the history of hockey, Renney finally wizened up and placed ZHERDEV  on the first line that has been struggling to score goals.  

This shows you the type of player that Zherdev is.  From the first game on the first line, Naslund starts to score and Gomez also starts to follow, all off of great passes by Zee. He improves the players on his lines and he did it consistently!  But because the Rangers went one game where that top line did not score ,  Renney broke the lineup.  Now he has Zherdev back on the third line and the forth line.  You never have your best player on the 3rd or 4th line. That is an insult and is just ridiculous.  Zherdev is now playing less minutes and is playing on lines that do not come close to equaling his ability. 

These are the players that missed open nets from 2 feet away.  These are the players that not one of them is on this team any more.  These are the players that were known for their defense not offense.  But Zherdev has been singled out because the team is losing and not scoring.

Renney benches Zherdev in a game where Zherdev scores 2 goals and an assist. I watched the game and I pay close attention to every shift played by all and Zee did not do a dam thing wrong. The next game he is on the forth line, played a minimum of 5 minutes , and the Rangers lose. Again Zee is singled out.

Renney benched Zee 4 times threw out the season.  Did anyone ever see  anyone else benched. No you did not.  Rozsival is being  booed by fans 2 weeks straight for his poor defensive play and his offensive blunders in the offensive zone.  Never once does he get benched. Between Redden and rosy , they were the cause of 5 goals in three games do to their terrible play and never once benched.  Yet, there best player is still playing 3rd and 4th line minutes and the Rangers are losing!

Well what happen to Zee the second half of the season. Where was he in the playoffs. Blegh blegh blegh! Clueless simple mind people that have no clue on what they are talking about.  The last 18 games Zee tallied 11 points. No , not great, But far from invisible.  And that was playing with a bunch of nobodies.   

Tortorella comes in and now Zee has to change his whole playing style to fit the coach.  He does not know any of his players except for a few, there for Tort follows the same line up as Renney.  Does  Zherdev see time in the playoffs. No he does not. His time was minimal and Tortorella had issues with his playing style. It had nothing to do with ZEE taking shifts off.  If it was, Tortorella would have said so. It was deeper than that.  Tortorella puts Zee on third line with Dubinsky, not knowing these two do not work well together do to the fact that they are both puck control freaks and it was a clash between the two players styles. Zherdev gets bumped again, only because Dubinsky is more physical and Tortorella knows Dubs prior to becoming head coach and liked him.  Favoritism, that was all it was about!

So here is a quick over view on Zherdev. He was the best player on the roster, He gets benched for no reason , he is placed on the two worst lines in hockey as far as goals are concerned.  New coach comes in and now he has to change his style of play.  Again gets benched for no reason, still playing 3rd and 4th line,  sees minimal time and has to see players like redden and rosy continuing to play miserable and never being benched.  Put yourself in those shoes for a second. You would take that stuff personal, and just might say hey  f@* this and if that is what he did, it was justified!

Now Zherdev score 23 goals and 35 assist.  This is where your average fan cannot think past. So I will give you something to think about. From January till the end of the season Zherdev gets moved around from line to line between the 3rd and the  4th lines.  If Zherdev plays where he should have been the whole time, on the first line or second line, how many goals does he score. 30-35, add at least another 10plus assists.  If so, now is he worth 3.75 million a year.  33 goals 45-50 assists. If you say no, then you do not know a thing about hockey.

So now we get a new coach.  He is tuff and rough around the edges. He is set in his ways and he demands perfection.  He did away with all the riff raff from last years’ third and forth lines.  He brings in players that can score goals and play aggressive.  He won a Stanley cup,  where as Renney only won the loser of the year award.  He went out a signed players he knew would better this team as well as a player he knew personally feom Tampa Bay. He made it clear if they don’t play hard they sit and finally someone has benched Rozsival.   He has a roster full of talent and he knows what to do with them.  Whereas Renney did not.  He is a coach that has proven himself to take a team and make them better than what they are. With his coaching and training they will be in top shape come the end of the season, whereas under Renney the team was dead tired going into the third period.

How many games did the Rangers go into the third period winning the game and ended up losing last year?  Far too many. How many games did they have a nice lead, just to lose the game. Far too many!

Tortorella can handle the many personalities on his team where as Renney failed!

The main question is this now. The whole hockey world knows Rosy and Redden are useless.  Will Tortorella make the changes that should have been made last year?  Or will he continue to allow these two players to take up spots on this roster.  How many games does it take to see what is needed to be done. Ranger fans need to start booing these guys every time they touch the puck until they are gone!

Bottom line is Tortorella is a better coach and more organized than Renney will ever be. He is a caoch that leads his team and not lets his players lead him.  he is all about agressive play for 60 minutes and will not except anything less. someone finally has gotten to Glen Sather to start doing the right thing. that someone is Tortorella. i may not agree with everything he may do through out his career with the Rangers as far as players are concerned. but one thing we all can agree on is he has this team looking good, playing hard and there is no signs of them slowing down.

look for the Rangers to finish 3rd in the division and 4th in the confrence.  pitts, caps, philly { maybe} will beat the Rangers, Ottawa another maybe.



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