May 29, 2013, 1:06 PM EST
The New York Rangers have fired head coach John Tortorella, according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.
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.
What comments, you ask?
“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…
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 37
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 27
- Trotz doesn’t see a ‘big, sexy, difference-maker guy’ on the market 16
- What’s up with the reports of problems in the Blackhawks’ room? 40
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight 75
- Lombardi happy to get ‘one of the better defenseman on the market’ in Sekera 3
- NHL on NBCSN: Wild need two points from NHL-leading Preds 20
- Video: Potential No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid goes end-to-end, top shelf 9
- Video: Penguins hold on to beat Capitals for first time this season 29
- Video: Fight erupts between Penguins and Capitals inside Pittsburgh’s bench 40
- Leafs’ Rielly apologizes for insensitive remarks (86)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (75)
- Chiarelli understands scrutiny on GM and coach, but says, ‘It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year’ (69)
- ‘I don’t know why we’re so comfortable,’ says Toews after loss to Avalanche (69)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (65)