With Gaborik Out, Tortorella Needs to Stick to a Plan
John Tortorella is deservedly a Jack Adams candidate for coach of the year this season. He's finally bestowed an identity to the Rangers and has steadied the ship through wave after wave of injuries. He's successfully handed the leadership reigns to the young core of Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marc Staal. All the while employing one of the youngest defensive corps in the league.
But for all his successes, Tortorella has had one major flaw this season - his inability to keep his hand off the blender.
The Rangers have had more line combinations than anyone cares to even try to recall. Partially this has been out of necessity due to injuries and poor performances. But there's been times where Torts has taken a good thing and tried (and failed) to make it better by mixing and matching new combinations.
Just leave it be.
Throughout the year, there have only been two lines who have had any sort of chemistry: the 'Pack line of Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Dubinsky and the trio of Wojtek Wolski, Derek Stepan, and Mats Zuccarello. Now that the Rangers are once again going not have the services of Marian Gaborik (not that they really have all season) Torts needs to stick to his guns and keep those six players together. Constantly shuffling lines and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle is a fools errand. It hasn't worked all season and there's no reason to believe anything will suddenly change now.
The Rangers have an identity, they believe in one another, and they fight for one another. They've handled adversity all season long on the road to becoming a team. The only thing missing is chemistry and that's something that needs to be allowed to progress on its own. I'm sure Torts has his reasons and in reality, a fan has no grounds to question a professional coach. But from the outside looking in, it seems like he has a good thing starting him in the face that for one reason or another, he isn't seeing.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to email me canyonofblueshirts (at) gmail.com.