by PATRICK ROBERTSON Staff Writer
The New York Rangers are in a very bad situation after their 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs elimination. Their coach, John Tortorella was fired and two of their star players, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, both have to undergo labrum surgery and will be out four to five months.
The 54-year-old Tortorella, known for his stubborn style both with players and the media, led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins. The Rangers were eliminated in Game 5.
“It wasn’t one thing,” Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said, declining to elaborate on the reason. “I think I made the right decision so we can move forward in another direction.”
It was Sathers’s final desicion that kicked Tortorella out of his job.
Whether Tortorella’s abrasive personality was ultimately his undoing is not immediately clear, but there were a few players who made telling remarks during the Rangers’ break-up day on Monday.
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist gave a surprisingly lukewarm “we’ll see” when asked about signing a long-term contract extension with the Rangers. The 31-year-old goaltender has been stellar in leading the team in recent years, but has rarely received the type of offensive support needed.
If the Rangers lose their goalie, their coach, become riddled with injuries, and stay on an emotional low because of their elimination, they will have a horrible season next year.
“Even with the loss of Callahan, the Rangers will struggl. Add in all of the other things and next year will be a huge disappointment,” said freshman Cameron Browne.
The team announced that both Callahan and Hagelin both underwent surgery for left shoulder labrum tears. That means the earliest they could return might be at the tail-end of training camp. The latest could be three weeks into the 2013-14 regular season.
Rangers fans may remember that Marian Gaborik had a torn labrum fixed in his right shoulder before last season. The lockout kept him from missing a game, but in November of last year (about five months after his surgery), he had not started on contact drills yet. His timetable was also reportedly five to six months for a full recovery.
Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky both were interested in taking over for John Tortorella as the next coach of the Rangers, but then even more bad news for Rangers fans arose.
Gretzky issued a statement saying that it is “very unlikely” he would coach the Rangers.
What is unfortunate for the Rangers is that Messier is not a good choice for head coach.
Messier has almost no experience as a coach and will not be able to control all of this emotion that the Rangers have right now.
Freshman Frankie Rocca said, “I don’t think the Rangers should let Messier be the coach. He doesn’t have enough experience and will not be the strong leader that the Rangers need.”
It is unknown whether Messier made his intentions known directly to the Rangers general manager in the last few days, but Sather did approach Messier a decade ago and asked him to coach while he was still playing in New York.
So what does everyone think? Will the Rangers have a rough season next year or will the pull themselves together and make a run for the Cup?