I didn’t want to write anything about the Torts firing despite hearing about it a few minutes before it became public thanks to a friend of mine. I say this because I have VERY mixed feelings about this.
First and foremost, I am an unabashed fan of John Tortorella.
Do I like the way he handles himself in front of the media? Not really, but it doesn’t bother me. However, I love the way he holds his players accountable, I love the way he is fearless in deploying and trusting kids (unless they don’t deserve the trust, like Kreider early in the season, but he redeemed himself late, proving Torts is fair). I love the way he gets his players to buy into his system, but I felt like his system was not ideal for the players we have, and frankly I’m not a believer in the 6 goalie system regardless. The reason I’m not is a few fold.
First, it opens you up to injuries. Deflections, like what nearly ended Marc Staals career, or slappers like the one that ended Callys season last year can cause a ton of damage.
Second, we have an elite group of defenseman (when healthy) and we have an elite goalie. Why are we playing a super conservative system? Shouldn’t we try to score more goals and count on those 2 strengths to keep us in games? It makes sense to me, and it makes sense to most of you.
Finally, he’s been pretty open about not coaching the offense or the power play, basically allowing the players to be as creative as they want. This is a mistake. A HUGE mistake. First and foremost, where a team should be organic you need to have some sort of set system so that players can do things without having to think about it, they need to know that they can put a puck into a certain area if it’s open because that’s what the system dictates they do. There’s a lot to be said about coaching, adapting, and pressuring offensively. Torts is a great coach, but I dont think he adapted well enough to what was being thrown his way.
I’ll also say that if it’s true that the leadership group wanted him gone, then there is zero excuse to keep him. If he did indeed lose the lockerroom he HAS to go, period. Once that happened, your time is done.
So, who do we bring in to coach the Rangers?
I can tell you who I don’t want to see, and that’s Mark Messier.
Mess may be one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but you DO NOT want him as the head coach of the New York Rangers. Why? It’s not even about the experience issue, it’s because all coaches eventually have to be fired, but how the hell do you fire one of the most beloved players in New York history….not just Rangers history, but in the history of the city. It’s damn near impossible to fire him. It’s like Gretzky in Phoenix…keeping him as long as they did hurt the franchise, but how do you fire Wayne frikkin Gretzky? You can’t. It’s just…impossible.
Right now I’d be interested in a few guys. Guy Boucher who is pretty innovative comes to mind as does Alain Vigneault. I LOVE Brent Sutter as a coach, but I don’t know if that’s the right fit here. Guy Boucher whose system is very interesting would benefit from having the D that we have and the goalie that we have. It’s an interesting combination of a super aggressive 1-2-2 and a super passive 1-3-1, depending on what the opposition is doing with the puck. Pretty interesting stuff.
But, we don’t have Steven Stamkos and the like to light the lamp, so I’m not sure how well it would do offensively for us with our personnel. Vigneault may make the most sense.
Ruff is also a name being thrown around, and the guy knows how to incorporate offense into his system, but it depends heavily on his D being able to join the rush as the second wave, would that be ideal for the Rangers? Not sure.
Gun to my head, and I’m the GM? I pick Boucher.
OK, more later….