Why don't we get it out of the way at the top, the New York Rangers are not firing John Tortorella. At least not this season.
And you know what? They shouldn't.
Fact of the matter is, bringing in a new coach right now doesn't fix anything. A new coach and a new system with a team that's unbalanced due to injuries in an already unbalanced lockout shortened season? That's completely counterproductive to help the Rangers make the playoffs this year -- which happens to be why people want Tortorella fired, because they don't think the Rangers are going to make the playoffs.
It just doesn't make any sense right now, and to be honest it might not make sense in a non-shortened season. Making a snap decision on most anything based off of this shortened season probably isn't good for the long-term health of the team. Sure, we speculated about Brad Richards being bought out, but decisions that are cap-driven have to be made sooner rather than later, which is the only reason why we talked about it in the first place.
If any coach has earned the right to see his team through this early-season slump it's Tortorella. As much as fans don't like to hear it, and as much as last year's performance raised the expectations of this team (as it should have), this year was always going to be a "make the playoffs and run" type of season.
There are simply too many variables, too many unknowns. Injuries can mount and kill a team, a suspension can throw things one way or another, a usually short slump can be catastrophic with just 48 games to play. But that doesn't mean the system is broken, nor does it mean the players are tuning out the coach. Losses don't equal a team throwing in the towel, even though it feels that way.
You know what coach has the best opportunity to turn things around? Tortorella. A perfect example was during Monday's practice when he threw the team off the ice after being displeased with the team's effort.
Here's a great quote from Tortorella thanks to the fine work of Andrew Gross:
"I think it's a matter of staying with it and taking it day by day," Tortorella said. "There's a tremendous amount of expectations put on this team, we can't get involved in that. You also have to handle them (expectations) correctly when you're having a little bit of a jam here. I think if you don't handle the pressure the proper way, I think you get in the way, I think it binds you. I think this is a team that needs something good to happen to it and try to gain some confidence back. You certainly have to play the right way. I don't think we've played the right way consistently enough and if we concentrate on doing that, I think good things will come our way, and we'll get some traction and gain some confidence. I have full confidence in the team they're going to handle things the right way."
The message Tortorella tried getting across to the team? Don't panic. You know what would happen if the Rangers fired Tortorella? They would panic.
There's no need for management to rock the ship. This team has the talent to overcome this, they will find the light at the end of the tunnel.
But firing Tortorella isn't the way to get there.