Bryan Trottier is out as the coach of the New York Rangers.
I don’t get it. Trottier was a horrible coach, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. He had no head coaching experience in the NHL. He didn’t lie about this. Rangers GM Glen Sather was well aware of this when he hired him. So why fire him when you never should have hired him in the first place? By hiring Trottier, Sather was implying there was going to be some sort of learning curve. Trottier, fired after only 54 games, didn’t get that curve.
And really. What purpose does it serve to fire Trottier now, anyway? The season is over. The Rangers can’t be turned around. No coach will be able to stop the skid. And if they do stop the skid, it’s still probably too late. So why not give Trottier the courtesy of at least finishing a season? It wasn’t his fault he was hired despite being unqualified. And he did have some good ideas. Or one. He moved center Eric Lindros to Bobby Holik’s wing, forming a wonderful, potent, and scary, scoring/checking line.
It’s almost a miracle Trottier lasted this long. Rumors were flying right before the new year that he was about to be axed. Then the Rangers blanked Carolina and the rumors went away.
Trottier was an unusual coach in that he didn’t really seem to coach. There was no strategy. He never seemed to realize that older players, like Mark Messier, should have less time than younger players, like Lindros. He didn’t even like match-ups. He just basically told players when to leave the bench and when to come back — without looking to see the other team’s line. Sure he figured out how to trap around game 40, but by then it was too late.
The Rangers’ next coach will be from within the organization. I’m wondering if the vocal Holik won’t get the nod. He’s got a lot of theories about coaching: “I think Bryan was put in a position as a rookie coach where it was very difficult for him to succeed…This team needs something more than just a coach. It needs a proven guy that’s done it before.”
Of course, now with Trottier gone, the only person left to blame for the Rangers (and the person who deserves all the blame in the first place), is Sather. He could be the next Ranger fired if and when the team doesn’t make the playoffs.
Also, I’m really knocked out by Newsday. They totally called Trottier’s firing. In yesterday’s story about the Rangers last loss to Atlanta, Arthur Staple speculated that Trottier’s ass was on the line if he lost to Colorado this week: “A loss to Colorado, the team for which Trottier was an assistant under Hartley, could spell doom for the Rangers’ rookie coach, who is seeing his team’s effort and discipline melt away at crucial moments.”
Of course, Trottier never even got the chance to lose.