Now that the Rangers have fired coach Tom Renney, Ranger fans have once less thing to chant at the Garden.
The only real surprise in the move was that Rangers GM/President Glen Sather waited so long to make the switch. The team has looked lost for a few weeks and while there are severe problems with the construction of the team, Renney had made that work in the past. In fact, just to play devil’s advocate, one of the theories on Renney is that ultimately he fired himself by getting awful teams to overperform over the past two or three seasons. The current Ranger slide wasn’t so much a slide as a return to the mean, performance-wise. Renney couldn’t match the unrealistic expectation his previous successes created.
Goalie Henrik Lundqvist had an interesting response to Renney’s firing: “Its tough right now. Sometimes you have to accept that you need a change and you have to do it…I have a lot of great memories here with Tom my first 3 1/2 years. He’s a great man, Tom, and I wish him the best.”
Lundqvist’s beef with Renney, if there is a beef, might have been a lack of goal support. Lundqvist pretty much had to play perfectly every night since he couldn’t count on more than one or two goals a game. But I’m not sure he’ll like playing for John Tortorella, a much less conservative coach who isn’t going to constantly have three men back on the forecheck.
In fact, Larry Brooks calls Tortorella the anti-Tom, which is pretty perfect. Where Renney was calm, conservative, and equitable to a fault, Tortorella is passionate, willing to take risks, and believes ice time is a privilege, not a right.
Interesting, given yesterday’s post on personality, Brooks also says one of the problems with the Rangers is that they had become too bland, with no dominant personality in the locker room.
Meanwhile, as Sather tries to save the Rangers season, one has to wonder if he’s going to get his new coach a present in the form of Jay Bouwmeester, Tortorella’s former Florida enemy. George Richards says he suspects Bouwmeester is available, as long as Florida doesn’t have to take on more money. Would the Panthers want Petr Prucha and his relatively small contract? Would the Panthers not want to donate Bouwmeester to a team now coached by Tortorella?