Yesterday, while on TSN Radio, Darren Dreger talked about how he thinks John Tortorella could lose his job if the Rangers go out quickly to the Boston Bruins.
On TSN Radio in Montreal this morning, Bob McKenzie said “I think more people are swinging around to the idea that he doesn’t have the better team in this series, as unpopular as Torts may be because of how he carries himself for what he says, you do get that feeling when you watch the Rangers. But you do get the people who think that he has them all leashed up and blocking shots and collapsing down low so they don’t ever go and play. There was a transformation with the Rangers over the last number of years and Tortorella was a big part of that in getting them to play hard and maximizing what they do have. They went out and made some moves in the offseason. It hasn’t paid dividends yet. Don’t be fooled by the statistics, Rick Nash has had good games in the playoffs but they aren’t a team that scores easily and often and there must be a diminishing return on having to play that style game after game. It has to be mentally fatiguing to know that you have to go into every game blocking more shots, hitting more guys and do that consistently just to have a chance to win.”
When asked if this could be the end of Tortorella, McKenzie said “A lot of people will say yes and I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out because they may feel that, but they may also be very careful in terms of….if you think you have a valuable coach who is good and you are very careful about just throwing him away, I think they will give that some long-hard thought and it’s also finding someone better and who is the alternative and if you bring in another coach, what is his style and does he have the personnel to play that style. If not can you go out and make enough moves to make the next guy successful. It’s not as easy as, well you potentially get swept in the second round in a year where they thought they would go a lot deeper. You have to be careful not to make a move that would actually set your organization back because it’s an easy decision to pop the coach.”
Katie Strang said in a chat at ESPN.com that she believes strongly that Tortorella’s job is safe. She adds that he may be on a short leash next season and that his style of play may get some tweaking in the offseason.
Adam Rotter: There is a shelf life with John Tortorella, but I don’t think his time is up yet. He is too woven too much into the fabric of this team for him to be let go in a shortened season, where there was no training camp, Marc Staal has only played once since early March, Brad Richards regressed and the team won a round in the playoffs. His players haven’t quit on him and have fully, for better or worse, bought into everything he is selling.
You look at where the Rangers are right with the roster they have constructed and the biggest thing with firing Tortorella, as McKenzie notes, is finding a coach capable of doing a better job. If Tortorella was to be fired, he would immediately become the best coach on the open market and one of the only with a Stanley Cup to his name. To me, it makes sense to give Tortorella next season, albeit with probably a moderate to short leash, and then make a change when half the roster has their contracts end, the cap goes up, and you can start constructing a team that suits the next coach.