It's no secret that the New York Rangers have gotten off to a sluggish start to the 2013 season, being 8-7-2 (18 points), but why has the fan base all of a sudden completely turned on the coach?
Just because the team didn't race out to a hot start and take the early command of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in a shortened season where the Rangers came in considered to be Stanley Cup contenders?
Don't forget — John Tortorella has a good track record as a head coach in the NHL, which is why he even made it to New York in the first place. Also, they don't pick just anyone to possibly head an Olympic roster.
Perhaps the fans feel that Tortorella has overstayed his welcome as the head coach of the New York Rangers. We're not sure why they'd think that way, given his track record.
He's a great coach. As a head coach, he has a career record of 383-309-38-63 with seven playoff appearances, three division titles and, oh yeah, a Stanley Cup.
Coaches with those credentials don't just fall in your lap. Rangers fans should see themselves lucky to have him. In the big picture, just think of what he's done.
Last season's team didn't have much star power. Besides Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards on the offensive end, it was a bunch of role guys. They all did their assignments throughout the year, and the team went to the Eastern Conference Finals. This year, a large part of that roster is gone, and a lot of what has been brought in has been sidelined with injuries.
Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, Aaron Asham, Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Darroll Powe and soon to be Ryan McDonagh have all missed action with injuries. Even with that, the team is one win away from being in the playoff picture.
Although injures are never an excuse, it's remarkable what Tortorella has been able to get out of his team despite being without some of its better players.
Part of that is motivation. He's one of the best in the business when it comes to motivation, which is why he's so successful. Players know he has their back — just think of his recent presser after the hit McDonagh received from Max Pacioretty — which makes them want to perform for him.
Therefore, when he doesn't get what he's expecting out of his players, he has no problem letting them know it. Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle have all seen the bench of various points this year — in moves that didn't seem smart at the time — and it has caused them all to want to get back on the ice and prove their coach wrong.
It's that attitude why Torts is and will be a successful coach. It's only a matter of time until this team starts winning, and when it does, all the "Fire Torts" chats you've heard throughout the city and on social media will be gone.
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