Update: TSN is reporting that the New York Rangers have an agreement in place to make John Tortorella their next coach. However the deal is stalled until Tampa Bay grants Tortorella permission to take the job. The NHL is involved and is currently trying to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all parties.
The New York Rangers have been in a malaise through most of the season, and the pressure was starting to ramp up in New York for changes. Well, Rangers' GM Glen Sather decided it was time to make that change with his team clinging tenuously to a playoff spot, and slowly slipping down the standings. In the time honored tradition of NHL GMs who are looking to light a fire under their underperforming squads, Glen Sather fired his coach.
Tom Renney is a brilliant hockey man and one of the game's most respected minds. However, even this great educator was unable to get his team to shake off the malaise that has been plaguing them for months now. Their big money players like Gomez, Drury and Naslund haven't scored enough to justify the money they are making. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been inconsistent all season, and his numbers fall far shy of the sparkling totals he put up last season. The Rangers' defensive core has looked positively porous at times, making too many mistakes in their own zone and giving up too many odd man rushes. None of these symptoms are the coach's fault, but something needed to be done to shake things up before this team that many predicted could challenge for the Stanley Cup this season slides right out of the playoff race.
At the time of this article no replacement coach has been named, but rumors are surfacing that former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, and one-time Rangers' assistant coach, John Tortorella may be the lead candidate for the job. Tortorella's fiery no-nonsense ways would be a sharp contrast to Tom Renney's calm, patient style, and might just be what this team needs to get the ship righted.
Whatever the case, Glen Sather better hope the move pays off and the team makes the playoffs. If the season ends with the Rangers on the outside looking in his Oilers glory credit might finally run out, and Slats might be looking for a new job himself come next summer.