Skip to content

Taxi! Rangers fire Tortorella

May 29, 2013, 1:06 PM EDT

John Tortorella AP

The New York Rangers have fired head coach John Tortorella, according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.

Update: The Rangers have confirmed the dismissal.

Tortorella, 54, had been the head coach in New York since 2008-09, and led the Rangers to three consecutive playoff appearances, including the Eastern Conference finals in 2011-12.

New York’s 2013 season and playoffs were a disappointment to many, though, as the Rangers finished sixth in the East and were bounced in the second round of the playoffs — a five-game loss to Boston during which Tortorella controversially dropped Brad Richards from the final two games of the series.

Many critics have also pointed to Tortorella’s inability to coax offense out of a lineup that features no shortage of high-priced talent up front. New York averaged just 2.2 goals per game in the 2013 playoffs.

Last year, the Rangers scored three or fewer goals in all but one of their 20 postseason games.

According to a source of CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, comments made by Henrik Lundqvist at the end of the season “changed everything” for the Rangers.

What comments, you ask?

Possibly these:

“I think it’s a –- it is a step back. We went to the conference finals last year, we had high expectations for ourselves this year; it didn’t go our way. So yeah, this is a step back, but it’s tough to make it there.

“You can’t just expect it to happen. You have to work really hard, and you have to do a lot of things right, and you have to have a lot of good bounces on the way to make it there.”

Lundqvist was also non-committal about signing an extension with the Rangers beyond his current deal, which expires in 2013-14.

This likely drew concern among the Rangers brass, as the reigning Vezina winner (and nominee this year) has been the team MVP seven years in a row.

Update: Torts’ best sound bites…


  1. ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    with that weasle’y face, he could surely sell cars now.

    • no - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      with your inability to spell or manufacture an even banally funny quip, you could surely go back to 7th grade

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        haha. he said “anal”

      • no - May 29, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        see where was this level of comedic intellect before?

  2. hockeydon10 - May 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Gee, ya think he lost the room? Just like people have been saying for nearly this entire under-achieving season?

    • bleedrangerblue - May 29, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      Torts pissed me off when he said Hagelin STINKS on PP. The whole PP stinks you idiot!!!

  3. ravenscaps48 - May 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Saw this one coming

  4. fivetozeroingame7 - May 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    At least he didn’t lose by 5 at home in game 7

    • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      LOL yeah, going 7 games (or even 6 if you don’t count that last Caps game as a real effort) is better than losing in 5.

    • ravenscaps48 - May 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Yeah. Our series shouldn’t have even gotten out of Game 6. 5 PP’s to our gooseegg. That game was an obvious example of the league milking these playoffs for what they’re worth. Game 2 in the LA-SJ series with the Vlassic delay of game gaffe. Our Game 6. And the penalty shot in the Detroit – Chicago game 6. I hope next year it goes back to what it was. Not this obvious bogus attempt by the NHL

      • fivetozeroingame7 - May 29, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        So you hope to lose by 1 in game 7 next year?

      • stakex - May 29, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        The Caps had power play chances in game seven…. and lost 5-0. Stop blaming the amount of power plays in game six.

  5. hosewater2 - May 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Again, another good coach fired because of bad personnel moves by the GM. Since you can’t turn back time and not acquire Brad Richards and Rick Nash, coach gets canned.

    • billyhauntswizards - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      if you have Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash, and Brad Richards on your team and are not scoring goals, you’re doing something wrong. This was the right move.

      • 3yardsandacloud - May 29, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Perhaps Gaborik playing for Columbus has something to do with his lack of production for the Rangers?

      • bleedrangerblue - May 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Really dude??!! We traded gab !! U must be an islander fan

    • hockeywithdrawal - May 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Rick Nash was one of the few offensive bright spots on that team this year, at almost a point per game.

      • DonkeyStick - May 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        5 points in 12 playoff games is almost a point per game?

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 29, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        this year does not necessarily mean play-offs, but to be honest I don’t blame the NYR post-season on Nash, either.

  6. billyhauntswizards - May 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I’m glad he’s fired but I’m really surprised he didn’t get a training camp.

    • kitshky - May 29, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      How in the world would that make more sense….

  7. tfaltin - May 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    On a personal level I never want to see someone lose their job. However, Torts lost this team. I am instantly really excited to watch this roster skate next year. I feel like the shackles may have just fallen off.

    • coronakid76 - May 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      And the Wheels, Doors, Bumpers, quarter panels…….This whole team is falling apart!! Henrik will bolt for another team after next year! Richards / Nash is gone with the amnesty buy-out…..Maybe Messier will coach ’em next year!!

  8. kotteintheslot - May 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

  9. jhuck92 - May 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    There goes one of the best rivalries in hockey: the Tortorella/Brooksie post-game feuds

  10. dabutcha114 - May 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Now I wish Gabby and Avery were still around

    • jkay1818 - May 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Youd rather have gaborik at 32 yrs old and over 7mm a yr over John Moore a 21 yr old dman who shows signs of blossoming into something good, derek brassard a 25 yr old player with offensive talent and scored a PPG since his arrival and led the NYR in scoring in the playoffs and derek dorsett over gaborik?

      • bleedrangerblue - May 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        Jkay don’t argue with an idiot

    • jpelle82 - May 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      i think he means that torterella ran them out of town, so now that he’s gone he wishes he couldve seen what they couldve done without him as the coach. i do agree though, the trade has worked out well in the end for the rags

  11. sportsfreak13 - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Personally I think Lindy Ruff will be the next head coach for rangers. I hope Torts does get another gig though because his post game press conferences are gold. Always entertaining. Question to Ranger fans, do you still want to see Richards bought out or give him 1 more year chance?

    • billyhauntswizards - May 29, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      sigh. I really do believe Richards can be better and will bounce back but we can’t risk him getting injured. Literally unless he has like a 100 point season his contract isn’t worth it and will never be worth it. We might have to buy him out. And I’d rather die than have Ruff as the Rangers’ coach.

      • coronakid76 - May 30, 2013 at 7:49 AM

        Richards wasn’t prepared for the season. He gave up on it in the off season by not keeping himself conditioned properly. Shame that you fans have to shell out 100’s of dollars to watch primadonna players who don’t care to put the best product on the Ice every game!!!! He even said it himself!! He wasn’t “Himself” because of the lockout…..Then take a million and play somewhere else until the season starts…Seriously, He has been playing how long? He cant mimic the off season conditioning to stay prepared….shame…

    • jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Give him one more year under a different coach. The least the Rangers could do is try and get something out of that terrible investment.

    • jovocop2112 - May 29, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      Alain Vigneault will go to the Rangers, Torts will go to the Canucks. While they are at it, The teams should swap Luongo for Richards. Since King Henrik doesnt wanna play in NY anymore, its a win-win

    • bleedrangerblue - May 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      Buy out. Sign the long term players.

  12. jernster21 - May 29, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Receptionist: Mr. Sather, Alain Vigneault on line 1.

    • imleftcoast - May 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Definition of schadenfreude. I’d love to watch that from the west coast after Eakins is signed to coach the Canucks. Good riddance Elaine.

  13. jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Color me surprised.

    • DED - May 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      I’m just surprised at how quickly it happened. I thought that they’d give him another training camp + a couple months worth of regular season games to see how the team responded. I guess Lundqvist’s comments the other day prompted the front office to act now.

      • jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        I hear ya but why wait? You are more likely to miss on the right coach than salvage his team.

      • DED - May 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        No, you’re right jcmeyer. That approach makes more sense if you don’t believe in the guy. I thought that the front office still believed in him. I was wrong.

  14. hockeywithdrawal - May 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    NYR fans should be excited – some good coaches available this year. This was the time to do this.

  15. steelers88 - May 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Thank GOD! Couldn’t stand him.

  16. hockeyflow33 - May 29, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Wow, I’m actually shocked. I thought he would get next season to turn things around.

  17. sabatimus - May 29, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Bye Tortellini.

  18. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 29, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    ROFLMAO!!! Goodbye douchebag!

  19. theageofquarrel - May 29, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I guess Fonzie can go back working at the garage or reopen Arnolds

  20. jb8383 - May 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Haha later you classless loser!

  21. jaybyrd99 - May 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    This should finally put slats on the hot seat. This will be his 6th head coach in 12 seasons(low,trottier,himself,renney,torts,new guy) and his teams have reached the conference finals just once in those dozen seasons while missing the PO’s 5 times.
    i understand darth sather is part of the good ole boys network,but i feel he should have been canned with torts .If they don’t reach at last the ECF’s next year ,slats should definitely go and current ass’t GM jeff gorton(who helped build the current bruins roster) should be named the new GM !

    • imleftcoast - May 29, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      John Davidson is such a huge Ranger fan (hated him on MSG), and he did a great job with the Blues and seems to have Columbus on the way up. Have to think he’ll get to the Rangers at some point in the next 5 years.

  22. bronxsanman - May 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I’m not sure who they will hire but please make sure they can fix this horrible power play situation. I truly believe between that and the injuries to Stall and Clowe, are why we are sitting home today instead of fighting for the ECC. Sorry john,but that power play falls all on you. Special teams is a coaching issue.

  23. phillyphanatic77 - May 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Most Rangers fans are probably dancing in the street. I’m sure it’s been hard to deal with a coach that’s a total curmudgeon and also seems to bring out the worst in his players. He seemed to have alienated as many players as he helped. It’s the right move.

  24. jkay1818 - May 29, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Rangers need to go after Eakins. He has a ton of potential and they can use a young coach to inject some life into him and a new system. Dump Sullivan also, he was the special teams coach under torts and it was a train wreck. I have been saying for weeks he is a goner, especially with Lundqvist not exactly happy with him. I found it hard to believe another Ranger fan on here was so matter of factually that there is no way he would be canned. If you watch enough ranger games you can see he lost the locker room eons ago and how they played for him in the playoffs was inexcusable.

  25. bcisleman - May 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    What a joke! Coax overpaid veteran superstars to do what they are paid to do? That portion of this article reads like it was written by Slats’ PR guys. Players like Richards and Nash shouldn’t need to be coaxed. They should do their damned jobs and set an example for the younger guys.

    The Dolans should be worried about HL bolting but the one they should hold accountable is Slats, not Torts. Torts has shown he can coach a team to the Cup. If the team Slats built can’t do that under Torts’ guidance, the blame lies elsewhere. Like Vancouver, the Rangers fired the wrong guy. Of course, as an Islander fan, I am not sorry, but as a hockey fan, I am embarrassed for them.

    • jernster21 - May 29, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      It is sort of ironic though right? You a hire a coach and allow him to bring in a system that he wants to implement, but when the players underachieve under that system, you have to fire the coach because you can’t fire the players. I just think it’s funny how successful they were last season, then under performed this season and game over for Torts. If the Rangers players think Torts was working them to death just to work them to death, maybe they should watch how hard the LA Kings work game in and game out and check out the results.

      • bleedrangerblue - May 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        It’s more than that. He’s classless among other things. It’s a good move.

  26. patthehockeyfan - May 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Anybody want to bet that upon hearing the news, his one-word response was the f-bomb?

    • devilsarethebest - May 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Nope. It was ” just get the f&@$ out of here and go home”.

      • imleftcoast - May 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        Had to have one last “Hagelin stinks” in there for good measure. Maybe a “tell Richards he’s benched forever.”

  27. gaborik104life - May 29, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    This was a one on one battle that torts lost to HL. Those comments changed the gameplan of the NYR. There was no indication that he would be fired at all except for reporters pondering the idea. HL talks and he’s gone. It was a matter of who you wanted to keep. It was the right move but it does break my heart. Personally a huge fan of his.

  28. jbnj2590 - May 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    The Rangers Suck !!!!

  29. cariboolean - May 29, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    As a Kings fan in L.A. I’ve only seen this guy on the occasional sound bite or interview, but he seems to be a most unhappy and foulmouthed individual. I don’t know how that combination is supposed to get the players to perform for him. And the amount of money the players make is not relevant. No one at any level of job wants to bust their butt for a boss who’s a jerk.

    • jernster21 - May 29, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Turned out all right for the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning.

  30. colonelfancy - May 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    You can’t be one of the least productive offenses and have an awful powerplay and expect to keep your job. King Henrik kept this team above water for too many years and deserves a better unit to produce goals. They aren’t built like the LA Kings, where their stars can just keep playing the same way and aren’t pressured to score. But Torts’ failure to flourish with Nash, stunted Chris Kreider’s growth, couldn’t utilize Carl Hagelin, and blaming everyone else but himself, this was eventual. Sather does hold some responsibility, what with losing a key component in Brandon Prust. The eye injury that finished Marc Staal’s season didn’t help matters, but ROMAN HAMRLIK!!? I was stunned when they picked this relic up off waivers, they should’ve just called up Wade Redden…oh wait, he’s gone!!

  31. jbnj2590 - May 29, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    The Rangers Suck , The Rangers Suck , The Rangers Suck , The Rangers Suck , and on , and on , and on , and on 😀

  32. e5tolife - May 29, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Hard to feel bad for a classless @sshole. And for those who say well the payers make a bunch of money regardless so they should play hard no matter what I say the coaches get paid a ton of money too and their job is to properly motivate the time and produce wins. Torts failed at his core job responsibility and thus deserved to be fired. The system talk is also bs. A good coach could adjust their scheme to fit the talent on hand

    • gaborik104life - May 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Produce wins. They went to the playoffs the majority of the years 3/4 (if I am not mistaken). This was about playoff success which they had as much as you can without going to the Stanley Cup in one of those years and sat on top of the EC last year. As for a classless @sshole he was not. He was a coach that pushed his players very hard and made mistakes with the media. Outside of hockey he was a great man that did a lot outside work. His work with dogs and the kid Liam from 24/7 for a short list. Those that don’t know should keep their mouths shut.

  33. buffalomafia - May 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Maybe Sabres should do the same and fure there GM?

  34. proudliberal85392 - May 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    How could they fire a guy who’s classy, gracious at all times, and commands the respect of his entire team? I’m absolutely shocked, I tell you!

  35. mobil4life - May 29, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Hello Lindy Ruff

  36. luciddream7 - May 29, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Tortorella was not a bad guy and certainly not a bad coach. Honestly I think it’s a shame more coaches and players don’t curse at and treat the press poorly. They ask one dumb question after another and if they’re not asking something utterly ridiculous they are trying to pry information that is nobody else’s business but those in the organization itself. That being said it unfortunately was probably time for Torts to go. His system came close to being successful but I truly believe the players have lost some faith in it especially after the drop-off this year.

    • patthehockeyfan - May 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Yeah. Right. “Honestly I think it’s a shame more coaches and players don’t curse at and treat the press poorly.”

      Let’s hear it for more incivility!

  37. jacketsfan7 - May 29, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Come to Columbus! I’d like to have you here , call me crazy he’d be a decent assistant coach

  38. dumbassgreg - May 29, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    If anyone hires him for media job they should lose theirs. he like parcells treats media like garbage when coaching then get back on tv asap. hyprocrites

  39. bbk1000 - May 29, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I liked Tortorella, he did a good job but he needed to go.

    Today I have learned that there is a “shelf life” for coaches but not for the president and general manager….

    Years ago Sather hired Trottier and I knew he was a joke. The Rangers ownership agreed and it became clear they were a bigger joke….

    Just bad…..and I’m a Rangers fan…

  40. stakex - May 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Wow, I’m pretty suprised by this. I really expected the Rangers to at least give him part of next year to turn it around. I also argue that this team just wasn’t as good as a lot of people thought it was. With Richards MIA, there was really only one star forward for the Rangers. Stepan and Callahan are decent players, but not the type of game breakers you need for a deep run. Throw in some key injuries on defense, and the loss to Boston should have been expected. The only way this team was capable of winning was a grind it out style of hockey, and that wasn’t going to fly against Boston.

    Perhaps someone else will come in and do more with this team, but unless there are some big roster changes I think we will be talking about another “under performing” Rangers team next year… all thanks to a false reading of how good these guys actually are (or aren’t, as is the case).

    • hockeyes - May 29, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      like Messier? I think yes.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1723)
  2. P. Kane (1280)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1127)
  4. S. Matthias (1088)
  5. M. Giordano (991)