The Rangers made headlines on Wednesday when they announced they had fired John Tortorella as their head coach after four and a half seasons. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Blueshirts have come up short in the playoffs each of the last three seasons and were easily dispatched by the Boston Bruins in five games in the 2013 playoffs.
Tortorella was hired with 21 games to go in the 2008-2009 season as the Rangers parted ways with Tom Renney. He isn’t the most PR-friendly person that could coach a hockey team and some of his post-game antics wore thin on many members of the media, even becoming comedic fodder for fans league-wide. Through everything, Tortorella was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award last season after leading the Rangers to the first seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The firing shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. His coaching style started wearing thin within the team's locker room, with his message falling on deaf ears. Tortorella was unable to generate any offense with the roster given to him and relied heavily on shot-blocking and defense, two components that produce drastic results when making a Stanley Cup Playoff run. New York Post columnist Filip Bondy wrote this past Monday that Tortorella’s future within the organization rested squarely on his relationship with star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. “King Hank” told the media during the Rangers Breakdown Day that he wasn’t committing to playing for the Rangers past next year when his contract expires. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the organization felt that bringing in a fresh face may be the impetus that keeps the foundation of their team on the payroll.
Also, the timing of the firing makes sense from the Rangers standpoint; coaches such as Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins are available and should be expecting phone calls from Manhattan.