So the New York Rangers have played just four games this season and already coach John Tortorella and GM Glen Sather are in the middle of a complex game of “This season is HIS fault.”
Tortorella has been less and less subtly complaining about his roster.
Tortorella’s defense is very young and very right-handed. He’s had no real replacements for the injured Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury. Not even an AHL move. While it’s very flattering to journeymen Todd White that the organization seems to think he can compensate for both players, I can see where the coach of the team might be comfortable with a different type of player filling in for a while.
Sather hasn’t given Tortorella much to work with and it’ll eventually cost Tortorella his job.
For Sather, the blame game is much easier. The coach is usually the first to be blamed for a team’s failings. And Rangers’ owner James Dolan loves Sather. So Sather just basically needs to keep smiling and try and play down his resemblance to Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags.
NOTE TO SATHER: try harder.
When teams struggle, coaches often look for an excuse, just to make sure their next job isn’t too far away. This way, when the coach is finally fired, he has plausible deniability for the failure. It helps to take some accountability off the shoulders of the coach, making him more attractive to future teams.
Tortorella’s complained about a lot in New York, but he’s never said too much about the composition of his team.
The fact that he’s starting to drop subtle hints about a slight lack of satisfaction with the players given to him could mean he’s already starting to see the bright light signifying the end of his coaching career.
Of course, if Tortorella really believes he might be fighting for his job, he might want to consider coaching his team. Like maybe teach them to win faceoffs.
Speaking of the Rangers, this interview with Wade Redden, currently a part of the AHL and doing well there (much like Billy Madison’s triumphant return to elementary school), is pretty interesting. Redden is still hoping to one day return to the NHL.
It’s sad that he’s trapped in hockey purgatory. But he’s got to feel pretty good that his exile from the Rangers has done absolutely nothing to improve the team, other than to give them cap space that also hasn’t translated into anything helpful.