Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that Glen Sather had no intention of firing John Tortorella after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins until a large contingent of players made it clear during their exit interviews that their head coach's "overbearing personality" was the reason for the team's lack of success this season.
While no ultimatums were given, Brooks adds that Henrik Lundqvist public non-commital to signing an extension with the Rangers was done to give a voice to the players frustration.
…if the players were so fed up with Torts and he was the problem, why did they finish the season on a 10-3-1 run and then bomb the Capitals in a Game 7? I'm not saying that they weren't frustrated with him, but I find it interesting that they finally began to live up to expectations after Sather's trade deadline moves. Isn't that more an indictment on the players underperforming up until that point than the head coach?
…to me, it looks like some of the players who had disappointing seasons and playoffs decided stabbing their coach in the back was more productive than looking at themselves in the mirror. Guess being coddled is more important than having a coach who got them to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1997. If you remember, Renney was a players coach. How'd that work out?
…maybe the Hagelin "stinks" comment had more of a negative impact with the players than I anticipated. Or we're finding out just how much influence Lundqvist has on the decision making of the Rangers organization. BTW, there will be a ton of pressure on Lundqvist to perform this season or all of his success will be attributed to Tortorella's system.
Meanwhile, during Glen Sather's conference call on the Tortorella firing yesterday, he briefly discussed Brad Richards being a healthy scratch in Games 4 & 5 against the Bruins saying it was an "organizational decision" and that he will decide on whether or not the Rangers will use their final amnesty buyout on Richards during their organizational meetings in June.
Teams can begin using their amnesty buyouts 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Finals ends.
Here's Sather's conference call in its entirety…
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
….with Tortorella's outburst to the media after Game 4 about the Richards scratch and now this from Sather, you have to wonder if the word to send the Rangers alternate captain to the press box came from above and didn't sit well with the head coach, possibly causing some additional internal friction.
…i really can't see a scenario in which Richards survives. You can pretty much count on Broadway Brad becoming Bon Voyage Brad before the draft. The Rangers can open up some valuable cap space with the buyout and, while I initially hoped the Rangers would give him one more year to prove himself, it's not worth the risk of him becoming ineligible for the amnesty because of injury.