Middletown, N. J. – Although our website and articles are obviously primarily geared towards all things New York Islanders, I’ve nevertheless decided to take a closer look at John Tortorella and the embattled New York Rangers, who now find themselves down three games to none in their Eastern conference semi-final series against the Boston Bruins.
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The story of the evening after the loss to the Bruins from the fanbase of the Blueshirts was frustrating to say the least. I read tons and tons of comments that profess the Rangers ‘do not care’ and ‘were not trying’. The most infuriating was ‘they have no heart’.
I completely understand and respect how rabid and passionate fans can be but to say that someone, who does what only 800 IN THE ENTIRE WORLD can do at this level, is heartless is just naïve and ridiculous. Saying they are not trying is the most preposterous thing I have seen to date.
Sure, are there athletes out there who suffer from what I like to call ‘Alex Rodriguez’ syndrome, where they perform all season to a certain point of their career then suddenly they seem to be mailing in performances at the expense of a large paycheck; put up huge statistical totals in the regular season only to bomb out in the post-season? Absolutely. But the percentage of those players versus those who are the complete opposite is extremely minute. To make that claim about an entire roster? Nonsensical is what I would call that.
And the aforementioned does not ONLY pertain to the Rangers, for I have heard similar cries from just about every fanbase during the season when their team hits a rough spot. You as well Isles fans and those I am speaking of know exactly who you are.
To drive this home even mores, there was a great article posted by Sean McIndoe of Grantland on the different types of depressed sports fans. The piece was meant to tongue-in-cheek, but I’m SURE we can all relate or know someone who fits almost every category.
Expectations can really blind a fan if they are not kept at realistic levels. They can make a team seem much better or much worse than, in reality, they actually are.
Now that I have attempted to make a point, let’s take a look at the top reasons I believe John Tortorella should not be back behind the Rangers bench next season:
The Power Play
When Tortorella coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2004, he had the leagues top unit for which he took accountability and unending credit. Now, with similar and arguably more talent, he had the leagues 23rd ranked unit and now it’s faltering badly in the playoffs. For that, he is all of a sudden taking NO accountability at all.
To make matters worse, Tortorella refuses to make any adjustments (moving John Moore to quarterback the first unit) and is publicly berating players (Carl Hagelin) for stinking on the power play, somehow justifying why he is not on the ice when the suggestion was made by a reporter.
Scheme / System
Tortorella’s scheme implemented on Broadway is one that is way too reliant on defending, and it stifles a cohesive offensive attack placing tons of pressure on his defenseman, and especially goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
This system closely resembles the ‘rope-a-dope’ that Muhammad Ali implemented in his fabled boxing career. The shot blocking takes a tremendous toll. If you don’t believe me, run up and down your block once then come home and slide on your living room floor as if you are attempting to deflect a frozen rubber puck screaming at close to 98 miles per hour.
Now, I am not saying that SHOULDN’T be part of a defensive system, so don’t misunderstand. But when your scheme is to absorb and not react enough, it is a tremendous price to pay. See the overuse of his defenseman as a classic example.
Send In The Clowns
Torts and his run-ins with the media are legendary. And just as the reporters and credentialed bloggers are tiring of his act, so it seems are the players.
Pierre McGuire, who some like and more don’t, has a job to do as an NBC analyst. The coaches are contracted to talk to him once in the first period for about 30 seconds. But John does not seem to be able to do that consistently enough as a professional should.
Larry Brooks, also not a New York fan favorite, does not deserve to be doing his job and being told by Torts ‘Get the f&*k out of here!’ or ‘You were beat up a lot as a kid, weren’t you?’, ‘Are you challenging me?’ Simply not the classiest of individuals, or at the most, the less tactful of public figures, if you will.
His aforementioned attack on Hagelin was an absolute joke and his most recent bully tactic. Your power play is absolutely non-existent and needs a spark. So instead of taking accountability and making necessary changes, you publicly call out one of your fastest offensive weapons, saying ‘he stinks’ on the power play?
His constant refusal to let Marian Gaborik play his game led to the goal scorer craving for a fresh start out of New York and was subsequently dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yes, the Rangers did extract a nice return in Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore but with Moore already being under-utilized, one can ask ‘how long before the other two suffer the same fate?’
On a team struggling to score there is no reason to have Miller sharpening his skills in the AHL, for he’s proven himself enough to remain at the top level, helping out the 3rd and 4th lines. Kreider, coming off his explosive performance in last years playoffs, has been effective this season as well, when he’s used.
Last night, after Anton Stralman and Hagelin suffered injuries, shortening the Rangers bench, Kreider remained glued to the bench, playing only 7:06 in the game, although to me, he looked like one of the most effective forwards all night.
Moore played 13:01 and continued to see no power play time, with Torts remaining committed to the horrendous Brad Richards , who seems to have both feet out the door even before the season ends,on the point on the first unit.
For all those who think Tortorella is a great coach for leading the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004 and guiding the Rangers to seasons of 38,44 and 51 wins before this season’s lockout shortened 26 remember this:
In the playoffs, he is 42-45 and in 8 playoff appearances; he has lost in the first round four times and this year will be his second loss in the semi-finals.
5 Reasons Why Jack Capuano Is Better Than Tortorella
- He has much better flow and obviously doesn’t even have a professional stylist.
- At 6’1 compared to Torts 5’8 I am sure he could kick his ass (And that is not an Adam Oates stretch)
- Cappy never picked up a nickname at U Maine but Torts did: ‘Paper Italian’ – ’nuff said.
- How can someone who looks like Peter Griffin not be better at everything?
- He hails from Rhode Island, 19% Italian versus Tortorella’s Boston, which is only 8%.