Hey everyone! How have you all been?
I've been traveling throughout Ireland, and this week I'll be in AC, so I've been busy as hell and haven't had the time to come on here. But, I have some time now, so I figured I'd share some thoughts.
So, here I go.
1) Firing John Tortorella.
Do I think it's the right move? As you might imagine, no, I do not. Why?
Well, look at the team we put out this season. We started the year with Kreider-Boyle-Pyatt as our 3rd line, which is in all honesty, two fourth liners and a kid who just wasn't ready for the NHL (he proved so in the minors while the league was in a lockout). Now, despite no training camp or preseason, and a whole cast of new skaters, we managed to make the playoffs as a 6 seed. Not too bad.
We won a first round matchup against a higher seed, and then got destroyed by a true Stanley Cup contender. Look at the Bruins, and then look at us. The difference in depth and talent is massive. Look at their fourth line in games 4-5, and then look at ours. Paille, Campbell, Thornton, etc. On the other hand, we were playing guys like Newbury and Haley. I don't see how you can blame a coach for not defeating a team when the other team is deeper, stronger, more skilled, and better balanced.
I do not think Torts is some amazing coach that should be kept at all costs. However, I would like to see what he could do with this current team given a full training camp and offseason. Now, we're going to hire another coach, which is fine, and people will use that as the excuse for us not being good enough to win, if that future comes to pass. It'll be another "throwaway year" if we don't win, because we have a new coach.
I just don't see the fairness is some of the criticisms thrown Tortorella's way. We don't have a right handed shot for the powerplay, and anyone with enough sense to see that knows that no powerplay in the league is going to be consistently good without strong point shots OR incredibly talent down low. We had neither. I also don't understand the criticism that he doesn't play young players, especially when people discuss Miller and Kreider.
Both those young players proved that they weren't ready to be NHL players early on. Their lack of production and defensive ability was alarming. However, guys like McDonagh, Stepan, Hagelin, Moore, and even Del Zotto, are all young kids who have come here and played serious minutes under Torts, and thrived. I fail to see how someone can complain that Torts wont play kids when his forward and defensemen that get the most minutes each night (Stepan and McDonagh), are both kids.
So, in conclusion, I would have preferred to see Torts get another year, but I guess that wont happen now. I don't blame him for this team losing to a better and deeper Bruins team, especially when in 3 of the 5 games the Bruins could control line match-ups.
2) Other coaches.
I seem to have a different opinion on other coaches than most people do at BSB. When I ask people who they believe are the best coaches in the NHL, they mention guys like Mike Babcock, Dan Bylsma, Joel Quenneville, etc. Yet, what I see, are coaches that are lucky enough to have amazing talents on their teams. Babcock has had the pleasure of coaching guys like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom during his tenure in Detroit. Bylsma has coached guys like Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Letang, Neal, Iginla, and so on. Quenneville has coached Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Kane, Seabrook, and Keith.
When people discuss John Tortorella's cup winning season, some say that the TBL won despite him, not because of him. That they won because of the players they had, not because of the coach. I don't disagree with that logic. What I disagree with is the people who claim that John Tortorella only won a cup because of players, yet give credit to guys like Babcock, Byslma, and Quenneville for winning the cup, despite the fact that they have BETTER teams that Torts did.
What coach wins Stanley Cup in today's NHL without a great team? Look at all of the recent cup winners. All great teams, including the TBL team that won with Torts as their head coach.
So if you're going to strip Torts of any credit of his team winning the Stanley Cup because he had players like Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, and Boyle, strip credit from Babcock, Quenneville, Julien, and Bylsma as well. Fair is fair.
3) This is the big one. Rick Nash.
Now, I'm sure this will rile up all those Rick Nash apologists, but before you all bring out your illogical arguments, hear me out.
What did this season teach us about Rick?
Is he an amazing player that is really fun to watch? Hell yeah.
Is he an elite, top ten guy, like many have suggested? Not even close.
Let's face it, and be honest. What was the reason for the Nash trade? I was told it was because the team we had two years ago wasn't good enough to win the cup, despite the fact that they went further in the playoffs then the team we had this year did. I was told that the reason for the trade was to acquire CONSISTENT goal scoring, because guys like Dubinsky and Anisimov could not provide that.
Yet, here we are, May 30th, out of the playoffs in the 2nd round. Did Nash play badly? No, he did not. But did he provide the consistent goal scoring that we were promised, that I was told he would?
Well, ONE goal in TWELVE games. The only consistency there is a lack of goal scoring. And not only that, but what, 5 points? Less than half a point per game. Now, his play was not as bad as his production suggests, and I would not argue so. HOWEVER, he did not provide the consistency that he was supposed to. If we argue that the reason for the trade was to acquire consistent goal scoring come playoff time, then the trade was an ABSOLUTE FAILURE. If you want to argue that the goal of the trade was to acquire some really pretty regular season goals and decent playoff play, then I guess it was a success. Your call.
In my mind, he did not do what we needed him to, and I'm tired of the excuses. But you know, I can deal with the lack of production, I really can. He played decently, teams gave him a lot of attention, and it was his first playoff experience as a NYR. I'll ignore the fact that guys with less playoff experience like Zucs out performed him, and the fact that his own Columbus teammate Brassard significantly outperformed him, and I'll ignore the fact that he was outscored by the likes of Asham, Boyle, Girardi, and Pyatt.
The problem isn't the lack of production. The problem is his attitude about it. In his mind, he played "good" in the playoffs. That's what pisses me off. That he is happy with his 5 point and 1 goal in 12 games playoff performance. If he came out, stated how angry he was with his performance, and said that he would work harder to improve, I'd be okay. But he seems content, and that's what bothers me.
4) Onto my last thought of the day, Glen Sather.
Let me put it this way. If it were up to me, he would have been fired 5 years ago. During his conference call he made some statement that the goal every year is to win the Stanley Cup, and part of the reason for Torts being fired was because the team failed to meet this goal.
But why does Glen Sather avoid taking blame for the team's failure? I quote the NY Daily News:
Sather has now been president and general manager for 13 years. He says that every time his team fails to win a Stanley Cup, it fails. Yet he is the architect of this failure; of a franchise that has won only five playoff series during his tenure, and never reached the Finals.
And you know, that's the truth. Since Glen Sather got here, how many coaches have we gone through? 6? 7? And every single one of them has failed to reach Glen Sather's goal. Yet how does he keep his job?
How come he is not fired for failing to meet his own goal, time after time? How come he receives no punishment for failing to put out a team good enough to win the Stanley Cup year after year. Compare the Rangers roster to Chicago, Pitt, LA, Boston. Are they as good? Absolutely not. Yet every couple of years we fire a different coach, so Glen Sather can continue to have scape-goats for his failures.
It's insane. Glen Sather is the guy who had us start the year with two fourth lines, not John Tortorella. Glen Sather is the guy who still thinks it's 1984, and doesn't understand that you need depth to win in today's NHL. Instead, he continues to go after a shiny toy every off-season, disregarding team chemistry, balance, and depth. And in conjunction, he has to sign his yearly goon, rather than attempting to put together a team with four lines than can all skate fast, play two-way hockey, and score. Two years in a row now, our fourth line has been dominated in the playoffs, and it has resulted in our exit both times. Glen Sather is the problem, not our coaches.
Since I like my numbers, here's a couple that should be fun for you.
1) "Too Small" for the NHL Mats Zuccarello was 2nd on our team in points during the playoffs.
2) John Tortorella had the HIGHEST winning percentage of any NYR coach since Mike Keenan. In other words, by winning percentage, John Tortorella was the best coach the NYR have had since they won the cup.
3) Tom Renney had the 2nd highest.
4) Among all NYR coaches in the history of the team, John Tortorella has the 3rd highest winning %, behind only Mike Keenan in 93-94, and Emile Francis in 74-75.
5) Since Glen Sather's hiring as GM, the coach with the lowest winning % for the NYR is, in fact, Glen Sather.
6) Rick Nash was tied for 9th on our team in goals this post-season.
7) Over the past two seasons, the NYR's have won 3 playoff series. That is 60% of all playoff series the NYR have won in Glen Sather's tenure as GM. In other words, Glen Sather has orchestrated a team that has won 5 playoff series in 13 years. John Tortorella has won 3 playoff series in 4 years. If you want to determine who the problem is, look no further than here.
8) Over the past two seasons, the Rangers, and shitty Torts, have a winning % of .635. Currently employed NHL coaches with a winning % with their current team higher than that: SIX.
So, that's all for today. That was fun to get off my chest. I can't wait to read the same tired responses that make no sense! Missed all you guys!