Following the dismissal of John Muckler as head coach and Neil Smith as GM at the end of the 1999-2000, the Rangers gave assistant coach John Tortorella the job of interim head coach to finish out the final four games of the season.
The New York Daily News wrote on April 5, 2000 that Tortorella was the right man to lead the Rangers.
Brian Leetch said at the time “I think he can be a head coach. He’s got a great understanding of the game and he’s a very emotional person. He’s going to get a chance sometime. I don’t know what they’re going to decide here. But certainly, if he was the one they decided was best, I’d certainly endorse John being around.”
Petr Nedved said that he couldn’t guarantee wins with Tortorella as the coach “But I think they would give him a hard 60 minutes every night and that’s what we need.” He added “next year, I think he would be a really good coach here” and “personally, I have fun playing for him. I think that he’s a fair guy and I think that the guys would love to play for him.
Glen Sather was hired to be GM and Ron Low as head coach.
Tortorella left the organization to become associate coach with Tampa Bay before taking over as head coach.