Rangers coach John Tortorella has been fired, the team announced.
BREAKING NEWS: The #NYR have relieved John Tortorella of his coaching duties...details to follow— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 29, 2013
The Rangers season came to an end over the weekend when the Bruins won Game 5 of their second-round series with New York, 3-1. That would have been perceived as a premature exit when the season began.
With a new superstar in the fold in Rick Nash, the Rangers were one of the early favorites to make the Stanley Cup Finals from the Eastern Conference. And though they finished the season respectably in second place in the Atlantic Division, it was clear when they faced the Bruins that they were no match for the elite teams in the conference.
Tortorella's defensive style, which relied heavily on blocking shots, seemed to turn some of his best players off. The team dealt away one of its most gifted forwards in Marian Gaborik at the trading deadline after it appeared as though Gaborik and Tortorella didn't see eye-to-eye. Tortorella also demoted one of the team's highest-paid players, Brad Richards, to the fourth line and made him a healthy scratch in the final two games of the second-round series against the B's.
Tortorella admitted after the Bruins series that he needed to do a better job of getting his best players to play well in big moments. In that regard, he failed. And now he's out of a job.