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Report: ‘multiple players’ pushed for Tortorella firing

May 30, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins Getty Images

Yesterday on a conference call with reporters, Rangers general manager Glen Sather admitted his explanation for firing head coach John Tortorella may seem “a little vague.”

Today, we wonder if Sather had good reason to avoid getting into specifics.

According to a Daily News source, “multiple players,” including some “top guys,” pushed for Tortorella’s dismissal after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins.

Presumably, the lobbying occurred in the players’ exit interviews.

The report didn’t specify which players wanted the combative coach gone, but it does make one wonder if Sean Avery was on to something back in March when the former Ranger tweeted, “Fire this CLOWN, his players hate him and wont play for his BS.”

It also may lend credence to the report by Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman that goalie Henrik Lundqvist‘s noncommittal response to a question about re-signing in New York was a factor in Tortorella’s firing.

Frankly, it’s not hard to come up with players that may have had a problem with Tortorella. Brad Richards for getting scratched in Games 4 and 5 of the Boston series. Carl Hagelin for hearing over and over that he “stinks” on the power play. The list goes on and on.

“Every coach has a shelf life,” Sather said.

Related: What they’re saying about the Tortorella firing

  1. sjsharks66 - May 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Not surprised. In 24/7 he looked like an ass in the locker room. I have no problem with him treating the media like garbage, but you need to respect your players.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Yah, he was burning every bridge he could burn. Players don’t like him and the media won’t take him.

    • eastcoastcynic - May 30, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Tortorella to Gaborik on the bench—something to the effect of “What the F*ck are you doing out there?”

      • stakex - May 30, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        If you think Torts is the only coach to ever say that to his player, you are seriously mistaken. He might be a bit less polished then most, but theres nothing too out there about how Torts coached.

      • eastcoastcynic - May 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        I’m betting that remark on 24/7 was the tip of the iceberg.

        If I were Hagelin getting humiliated like that publicly, I would have told my agent to tell Slats “either he goes or trade me”.

      • jernster21 - May 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        These guys are supposed to be professional hockey players – their coach is supposed to rip them if they screw up. It’s not mites where you get a trophy for participating.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Their coach is supposed to rip them if they screw up….. Unbelievable! Chewing somone out publicly should be an exception, and used only after all else fails. Criticizing the team publicly is completely different than making personal attacks. Always remember; publicly praise and privately scold. Best way to build teams. When have you seen Babcock chew out players on the bench?

        Of course Torts is not the only coach who swears at the players. That’s not the point. He does it too often. So much that the effect is lost over time. As far as tactics and strategy he’s very good. As far as interpersonal relationships with the players and media he sucks. Yeah! He’s way out there alright. Look around the league. How many coaches are constantly and publicly berating their players?

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 30, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Wow! Respect the players, but treat the media like garbage. Where so you come from? Why should the press be treated with anything less than respect? How about respecting everyone you deal with in the course of the day whether your a coach or CEO? You’d be surprise what can be built when everyone collaborates. Try it!

      • fpstratton - May 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        I agree that everyone should be treated with a modicum of respect, but I actually had little problem with Tortorelli ripping the media airheads and their inane questions a new one every now and then. However, what he said to his players left a lot to be desired, and I don’t think he made them better for it. As far as the media being treated with respect, maybe if they do their job right, but very often they only go after the sensationalistic “dirt” stories and actually provide very little useful information.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Who’s to say how will they are doing their job? You?

      • sunderlanding - May 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        The press doesn’t deserve any respect. The whole industry is funded by fan money. Owners, players and analysts all get paid because fans are interested. Now of the jobs that are funded by fan money the media is the only one the fans could do with the same level of competence. If all I had to do all day was watch hockey, ask questions and break down why team “x” lost, I’d have just as much information as they do. It’s not a hard job, it doesn’t take talent, most of these clowns can barely write, so why should I respect that job? Furthermore they live to push buttoms, and get someone like Torts to go off so they can get a good clip. They don’t deserve respect. They feed off of people like him then they critisize him for it. They’re vultures, hypocritical and talentless.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        How do you feel about hot dog vendors? Are you superior to them? Do they deserve respect? After all, according to you, it’s an easy job and you can certainly sell hot dogs as well. Right. Why should you respect Torts? After all, he clearly can’t do his job. Right. Isn’t that why he got for fired?

    • 950003cups - May 30, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Here’s the reason why they canned Torts..

      It not as simple as “NOBODY LIKED HIM” its the consequences that can unfold this summer because of the humiliation and ridicule. Also, guys don’t like blocking shots every shot. It risks their futures. What’s funny is, Brodeur hates when guys block shots for him. I’m guessing Lundqvist hates a shot deflecting off his guys in to his net also.?

      PROBLEM: Stepan, Hagelin, Zuccarello, and Eminger are RFA’s this yeqar. They are all considered players of value. They could all end up electing arbitration. Which may end up in some players getting awarded large sums or not so large sums, but they all would be UFA’s after that year. Which wold destroy their rebuilding process. When your star goaltender sees the team’s top prospects heading to UFA same year he is, he would likely give up and likely ask for a trade which would HUMILIATE the entire organization.

      SOLUTION: Get rid of one man to avoid all that

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 30, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Right, and its because they liked or didn’t like playing for him?

  2. gospitfires - May 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    King Henrik is the only person whose opinion should matter as he is the only big gun who actually showed up this year. Rick Nash has no more excuses, he is not playing with bums in Columbus anymore. Richards opinion should matter asmuch as mine does, we both contributed the same thing to the Rangers playoffs this year, nothing. except i didnt cost the team 7 million to contribute nothing.

    • jeremyroenickdanceparty - May 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      So Nash’s 42 points in 44 games counts as not showing up? And what about Stepan? 44 pts in 48 games. Henrik isn’t the only big gun on that team.

      • jaybyrd99 - May 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        But Nash certainly didn’t show up when it mattered -the plaoffs !
        I’m fine with torts going ,but slats should have gone with him. The man’s team has won only 5,yes just 5, playoff rounds in 12 seasons and 3 of them came under tort’s leadership !
        As i’ve stated before ,if the Rangers don’t at least get to the ECF next year(that’s progress ,right),then blather needs to go .

      • govtminion - May 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        I think he’s referring to the playoffs- and while I thought Stepan had good energy most evenings, if few results, Nash just flat didn’t do his job. One goal in 12 games… you don’t trade away half your team in the offseason for a guy who puts up a stat like that. That, however, falls more on Slats than Torts.

    • dropthepuckeh - May 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Is he really a King? Seems a little silly, like the best player on the Junior Varsity team.

      Too much drama with this team. I said it when they were still playing and now it comes to light. A bunch of divas from the coach all the way down.

      • mhaubach - May 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        It’s a nickname, and yes, even w/o being a rags fan, I can say that Henrik is the #1 goalie in the NHL. The guy is phenomenal top/bottom. Every player has a down day, but he has fewer than the rest. Torts, your press conferences will be missed. You achieved very little in your tenure and found a way to squander talent.

      • magicrat13 - May 30, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        definition of a diva….giving up your body multiple times a game, taking pucks in the leg, ankle, face, arm, shoulder…..yeah, that’s a diva…..smh

      • dropthepuckeh - May 30, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Oh its a nickname?! Wow, I thought he really was the King of somewhere. Perhaps he is King of the over-hyped? King of over-rated? King of the Jesters?

        He looked pretty average in the Boston series, but I guess even the King has a civilian moments.

        As for the Diva’s – congrats that they blocked shots. They actually seemed to quit on that strategy though too with all the rest of the mutiny. If you guys are happy with the attitude and effort of that team then you aren’t doing your fanbase any favors. These guys get paid millions to play regardless of the coach. Congrats though, if the Rangers lived up to your high expectations.

      • magicrat13 - May 30, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        you called them divas….which refers to pretty boys to many…..the rangers do not play that way….they have a lot of lunch pail players….did they have a great season/offseason, of course not….am i as a fan happy with how they played?…of course not….

        you called them divas and i called you out on it….and i realize opinions vary, condescension not withstanding…

    • 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Richards underperformed all year, and Nash underperformed in the playoffs. However, no small part of that can be attributed to Torts’ system strangling most of the life from their offense and Sullivan running the worst power play of any playoff team by a huge margin. The coaching staff simply had no idea how to use offense in their cult of shot blocking.

      Give whoever replaces Torts a chance to let Richards off his leash a little, and give Nash a year to adjust to getting back into the playoffs for only the second time in his life. If they play like this next season, well… the team does have a couple cap-free buyouts in its back pocket if absolutely necessary. But armchair GMs giving them crap for a bad year, especially under Tortorella’s direction, is just ignorant.

  3. lostpuppysyndrome - May 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    • lostpuppysyndrome - May 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Ah, fer cryin out loud….HOW DO YOU EMBED?!? I hate the internet…

      • hockeydon10 - May 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        This is how I’ve done it in the past. Of course, as awesome as this message board it, it probably won’t work this time…

        Copy/paste the entire url then hit the enter key:

      • kopy - May 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        You just post the regular link.

  4. jpelle82 - May 30, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    this doesnt surprise me as much as the firing didnt. weird thing i noticed, and i guess its not that weird because it confirmed my opinion, but he seemed the happiest and most calm i’d ever seen him in the press conference after they LOST the series to the bruins. he was full of compliments and there was a peaceful easiness about him, he seemed relieved it was over. he probably couldnt wait to get fired, probably the shortest meeting he ever had with sather and ownership. i could just see him in that meeting just saying “yep ok, nobody has anything else? thanks” and getting up and walking out of the room.

    • stakex - May 30, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Its not that.

      The thing is, Tortorella is actually a pretty nice guy. Hes just very intense and wants to win so bad he can taste it, so hes always fired up in his post game interviews. Once its all over, not really much to be fired up over is there?

      If you ever watched any of his post practice interviews, or any of the shows he would do on MSG (Rangers network), you would see hes a lot different then in the post-game interviews, which are all most people ever saw of him.

      • thesableo - May 30, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        True, he’s not always that aggressive. But that means that when he’s screaming and being a jerk he’s just letting his emotions get the better of him.
        Maybe he’d be better as an assistant coach.

  5. bleedrangerblue - May 30, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Personally I’m glad he’s gone. He acts like an idiot. Why call out Hagelin when your whole offensive scheme stinks. With our goaltending we should be winning cups. Resign the king long term… Give Messier a chance?

    • jkay1818 - May 30, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      messier is too beloved in NY, he was the man in NY for a long time, on and off the ice. He hasn’t coached before, they would never put him in a situation where NY fans would turn on him or be angry with him. He is one of sathers guys, he is next in line to be president or a top executive/gm role. Too much to throw him in as a coach.
      The firing was warranted, he lost this team, you can see by their demeanor, even in impt games. he called his players out, him and sullivan had awful PP schemes. I see rick nash’s name thrown around a lot, he had a great season, postseason he had a man shadowing him and another guy doubling him up, on top of facing the oppositions best D unit each night. Shouldnt some coaching come in? your best skater is facing two guys, draw up some plays or a break out to feed the other guys. Placing nash at the end boards each and every PP is a joke in itself, he shouldnt be out there looking to pass to someone, he should be at the top of the hash marks firing away. At the end of the day the fans didnt want him and his top players didnt want him. No one can succeed in that strangle hold of a system. Nor can they develop chemistry, first sign of not scoring he changes the lines up. usually lines gel and mesh, impossible when he was coaching. no one wants to play with different linemates each night. His own players made numerous comments about that.

  6. sjsharks66 - May 30, 2013 at 1:04 PM


    Yeah because the media does so well at respecting players all the time. They don’t twist their words around to make the best headlines, right? That goes for all sports.

  7. billyhauntswizards - May 30, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    ugh. On one hand, how could you blame the players? He’s nasty to them and treats them like inmates. I don’t blame them for a second. But on another front, they BETTER perform a homerun season next year. They’re getting a new not as nasty coach, who’s preferably offensive minded, they BETTER live up to expectations now they have absolutely no excuse.

  8. pastabelly - May 30, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    No need to rip your players on the media. That’s not normal. He could have said that Hagelin struggled in the Ranger power play scheme. Instead, he just said a very young player stinks. If Totorela gets another job, hopefully he learns from his mistakes.

  9. girouxed - May 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    I wonder how he treats he’s wife.

  10. jb8588 - May 30, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least. When he first came on board with the Lightning, he was EXACTLY the kind of coach the team needed. Richards, Lecavalier, Boyle & St. Louis were still young and obviously upcoming, but he held them all accountable and helped round out all of their games. Add in the veteran pickups (Andreychuk, Taylor, etc), and 2004 became their year. After the lockout, you could tell his act had just flat out worn on the guys. Firing him before they drafted Stamkos was the best thing the team they ever did, because IMO he probably would of shot his confidence the moment he made his first rookie mistake.

  11. pmonte3122 - May 30, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    And they had every right to.

  12. fpstratton - May 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Mike Keenan wasn’t liked any more than Tortorella, but he won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers, and Torts didn’t.

    • 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      And Keenan was sacked in the offseason after winning – in addition to being fired by, what, four other teams? Egotistical dickhead coaches never last, even when they win. And Torts hasn’t delivered in nine years. The writing was on the wall.

      • jaybyrd99 - May 30, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        Keenan actually resigned from the rangers ,citing some BS in his contract with the rangers. Eventually the Rangers were given compensation in petr nedved while sending essa tikkanen to the blues. He was actually looking at the Blues job during the SCF while coaching the Rangers.
        Agree with you that the guy’s a psycho ,but just wanted to clarify that one point.

      • 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        Fair enough. Didn’t know that. Either way, guy was a dick no matter how successful he was. That whole “shelf life” thing rang as true for him as it does for Torts now.

  13. dallasstars9 - May 30, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Hey Dallas, we have a new coach.

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