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www.nj.com
There has been much speculation among hockey fans about the future of John Tortorella as head coach of the New York Rangers. Today, Glen Sather, the team's general manager, announced that John Tortorella has been relieved of his duties. The firing comes only a few days after the team was eliminated from the playoffs by their second-round opponent, the Boston Bruins, in five games.

Hired by the club during the 2009 season, "Torts" brought a new identity to the team, one that stressed defense and discipline. Over the past four-plus seasons, the Rangers improved under Tortorella, making the playoffs every year except the 2009-2010 season. In their 2011-2012 campaign, the squad earned first place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season; however, that year's playoffs, arguably their best under Tortorella, they were once again disappointed in the third round by their Atlantic Division rivals, the New Jersey Devils.

After yet another disappointing finish this year, a change had to be made. One of the Rangers' biggest problems was their inability to score, especially on the powerplay, which finished 23rd overall in the league. With a team full of skilled forwards, namely Rick Nash and Brad Richards, Tortorella was never able to get the best out of his top line. Nash never quite found his niche in his first year in New York, and Brad Richards was a healthy scratch for the Rangers in games 4 and 5 of the second round.

Another concern for the Rangers regarding Tortorella was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's future as a New York Ranger. The Vezina Trophy candidate has one year left on his contract with the organization and there has been indications that Lundqvist disagrees with Tortorella's coaching style. Although Sather denied that this had any impact in his decision to fire Tortorella, this may have been an underlying factor.

Perhaps the main reason as to why Tortorella was fired is because the Rangers failed to achieve their primary goal with him as coach: the Stanley Cup. In his conference call with the media, Sather stated, "Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and we didn't achieve that goal."


Sather has plenty of options to choose from for the new head coach of the team. Alain Vigneault, recently fired by the Vancouver Canucks, Lindy Ruff, fired this season by the Sabres, and even Mark Messier, former team captain, are all attractive options for Sather. Although he has not given details of who his candidates are so far, Sather has said that he hopes to have a new coach by the NHL Draft. As for Tortorella, he is now on the coaching market once again.
 



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