John Tortorella out as Rangers head coach
John Tortorella has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the New York Rangers, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
The firing comes four days after the Rangers were ousted from the playoffs in five games by the Boston Bruins.
The Rangers entered the 2013 season with high expectations following an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals in 2012. However, they finished in a disappointing sixth place during the season and stumbled through the playoffs, just barely avoiding a sweep by the Bruins in the conference semifinals.
Tortorella coached 319 regular season games for the Rangers, with an all-time record of 171-118-1-29 in those games. He was the fourth winningest coach in team history, and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award after a 51-win 2011-12 season.
Torts is perhaps best known for his impetuous attitude towards both his players and the media. It’s unclear whether his reliance on tough love is what ultimately cost him his job, but it is clear that some of his players were incredibly underwhelmed with 2013.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist called the Rangers’ season “a step back,” while captain Ryan Callahan said he believed the team “underachieved” mightily. Veteran center Brad Richards, who was benched for the final two games of the playoffs, hinted that his once good relationship with Tortorella was becoming a bit worn.
It is also unclear when the team will begin looking for a new coach.
For the time being, let’s look at a few of Tortorella’s more memorable moments at the helm of the Blueshirts:
- “We sucked at a time that you can’t suck.” – following a loss on March 12, 2013, to Buffalo.
- “I’m not telling you.” — during Game 7 against Washington during the 2013 playoffs, in response to Pierre McGuire’s inquiry about his team’s off-day training.
- “So kiss my ass if you want to write something different.” — in response to the media’s backlash about his decision to bench Brad Richards.
- “Have you ever fought before?” — in one of several exchanges with New York Post reporter Larry Brooks.