NEWS: John Tortorella Fired

John Tortorella1:01PM: The Rangers have announced that John Tortorella has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Tortorella had one year left on his contract.

THIS SECTION is about the rumors that Tortorella would be fired.

On March 30th, Sean Avery sent out a tweet saying that the Rangers should fire John Tortorella. Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan both denied that the team wanted Tortorella fired.

Adam Rotter: My initial reaction is shock. I didn’t think Tortorella would get fired, especially after they had him speak at breakup day. What I liked the most about Tortorella was the structure and authority he brought to being head coach of the Rangers. He demanded a lot of his players and in most cases he got them to achieve at a high level.

Tortorella has said that he never thinks about being fired and that he approaches his job thinking that if he does things the right way everyday he will be safe. It would seem, at least based on the way he was making talking that he felt he was coming back, but obviously something in the last 24-48 hours changed things.

Rangers Press Release and SNY Breaking News Coverage, below

New York, May 29, 2013 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that head coach John Tortorella has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Under Tortorella’s guidance, the Rangers posted their second most wins all-time in a single season with 51, and tied for second in franchise history with 109 points in 2011-12.  He became the 30th coach in NHL history to coach 800 games on March 27, 2012, at Minnesota (3-2 win), and won his 100th game as Rangers Head Coach with a 5-3 win on November 5, 2011, vs. Montreal.  On March 26, 2013, Tortorella became the 30th head coach in league history to register his 400th NHL coaching victory, with a 5-2 win at Philadelphia. He also passed Tom Renney for fourth on the Rangers’ all-time coaching wins list with a 3-2 shootout victory on April 10, 2013 vs. Toronto.

Tortorella was named the 34th head coach in franchise history on February 23, 2009.  He ranks first on the NHL’s all-time wins list among U.S.-born coaches with 410 career victories, having passed Peter Laviolette with a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal on March 17, 2009.

Prior to returning to the Rangers, Tortorella served as Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for seven seasons.  Under his guidance, Tampa Bay compiled a 239-222-36-38 record in 535 games.  He led the Lightning to four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, including two Southeast Division Championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04.  In 2003-04, Tortorella guided Tampa Bay to a franchise record 46 wins and 106 points, and went on to capture the only Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history.  He was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League’s top coach following that season.

Tortorella joined Tampa Bay following a one-year stint with the Rangers in 1999-2000 where he was an Assistant Coach and served as Head Coach for the final four games of the season.  Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Phoenix Coyotes.  He joined Phoenix during the 1997-98 season, after spending the previous eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres organization. Tortorella served as an Assistant Coach with the Sabres from 1989-90 to 1994-95 and as Head Coach with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Rochester Americans, during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 campaigns.  He guided the club to the Calder Cup championship in 1995-96, and followed that up by posting the AHL Northern Conference’s best record during the 1996-97 regular season.

Tortorella began his tenure behind the bench with the Virginia Lancers of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL), where he spent two seasons as General Manager and Head Coach from 1986-87 to 1987-88 and immediately established himself as one of the league’s best.  In two seasons with the Lancers, Tortorella compiled a 73-24-1-0 record to earn Coach of the Year honors both seasons, along with the league championship during the 1986-87 campaign.  Following the 1987-88 season, Tortorella joined the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (IHL) during their 1988 playoff run before serving as an Assistant Coach with the New Haven Nighthawks (AHL) in 1988-89.

Tortorella also served as an assistant coach for the silver medal-winning Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. He also served as head coach for Team USA at the 2008 World Championship, and was an assistant coach at the 2005 World Championship.