Tortorella and Rangers Head Toward Disaster Together
According to Michael Obernauer of the NY Daily News , Ranger fans upset with head coach John Tortorella should not expect a change as the team currently has no plans to replace the surly coach.
Here is what Obernauer had to say:
The Rangers’ season crash-landed in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Flyers on Sunday with James Dolan in Philadelphia to watch it all go down. After a stop in the visitors’ dressing room, Dolan beat a hasty retreat back to New York to start shelling out refunds for playoff games that won’t happen. But the Garden chairman has been here before (seen the Knicks lately?), and if there’s one constant in the sorry aftermaths, it’s that he won’t ride swells of fan unrest to make heads roll.
To that end, Tortorella can comfortably start planning September’s training camp, the Daily News learned yesterday. Despite missing the playoffs with a team that qualified last year and added Marian Gaborik in the offseason, Tortorella certainly didn’t hurt himself by taking a group that was widely buried on March 21 and leading it within a hair of a miracle playoff berth. And though he seems to have earned a reputation as the only coach who ever juggled a line, the fact that he stayed his hand with some effective combinations through the homestretch may signal a happy medium next year.
This is sad news. Although, I don’t think Tortorella has been the best coach possible, he hasn’t been the worst either. The problem is that he just does not seem to be a fit for this club or New York. His tirades, which are often directed at players, have helped to create an unsettling atmosphere where players don’t seem to giving it their all.
There is also the last couple of weeks of the season to ponder. Tortorella points to their final 7-1-2 record as reason for being optimistic, but is it really? Over that time period the only good team they played during this entire time was the Buffalo Sabres and they were beaten. Their play also wasn’t so good that they should be excited.
A big reason for their success was the emergence of their fourth line of Jody Shelley , Artem Anisimov , and Brandon Prust . Without the contributions from that line the Rangers final shootout against the Flyers wouldn’t have mattered at all. And the chances of the four line being able to carry them throughout a full season next year is non-existent.
When you think about it, this thinking can be very dangerous to the future of the Rangers. This was not a team that was one or two pieces off. Their top line wasn’t exactly dominant or even consistent and their second or third lines might as well have not even been there half of the time. The idea that this team is close and doesn’t need a major overhaul could lead to disaster.
The biggest problem here could be that unless the Rangers try to break everything down to build it back up again, they can’t even make any changes that aren’t just window dressing. Next year’s cap space will be barely north of this year’s $56.8 million and the Rangers already have $44 million committed before the resign restricted free agents Marc Staal and Dan Girardi . Unless there are major trades made then any changes made through free agency are going to be minor.
As the team stands right now, it seems like they are headed toward another year of mediocrity.
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