With the Rangers off to a rough start, Rangers head coach John Tortorella could potentially be on thin ice. Lyle Richardson (Spector) lists the Rangers coach as one of five coaches in the league that could be looking for another job if the Rangers continue to have a rough start to the year:
Injuries to key players like Marian Gaborik have whacked the Rangers roster hard early in this season, and management’s overpayment of free agents in recent years has hampered their ability to bolster their depth. Tortorella cannot be blamed for those factors but the demanding coach could end up paying the price at some point should the Blueshirts fall behind in the playoff race. Emotional, outspoken coaches like Tortorella tend to have a limited shelf life, especially when the team is losing, and after losing three of their first four games the speculation over how long he’ll stay in his current job has begun.
Funny enough, this was probably the deepest the Rangers forwards have been in recent years. However, as Spector says, injuries have completely decimated the Rangers. When the line of Sean Avery-Derek Stepan-Ruslan Fedotenko was having so much success, they were facing bottom four defensemen. Now with Marian Gaborik out, that line faces the top pairing defensemen on a regular basis. Instead of facing the Andres Meszaros’, they face the Chris Prongers of the league. Injuries not only affect those injured, but the opposition the remaining players face.
Tortorella’s coaching decisions have been a subject of contention for Ranger fans during his tenure in New York. These decisions stem from the lack of legitimate minutes for the fourth line (no matter who is on it), to the concern about never carrying an extra forward or defenseman (although that may not have been his call), to the questionable benching of Sean Avery (which led to an off year last season). More recently, Tortorella has come under fire for his refusal to sit Steve Eminger, even though he has been arguably the worst Ranger defenseman this year.
It is tough to blame Tortorella for the lackluster start for the Rangers. The injuries have crippled the forwards, and the lack of a third lefty defenseman has rendered the bottom pairing useless. However, some of the decisions he has made has been the cause of debate amongst fans. Head coaches are always going to be second guessed by the media and fans alike, it’s the nature of the job. However, if the Rangers continue to slide once Gaborik, Chris Drury, and Vinny Prospal return, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see John Tortorella shown the door, especially with Glen Sather owning what seems to be a lifetime deal with the organization.