After a rough start to this lockout shortened season, there were plenty of calls from Rangers fans for John Tortorella's head.
He's lost the room, the players have given up on him and he's too stubborn were reasons given.
Apparently, Rangers fans forgot that he had guided the Blueshirts to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1997 just seven months prior and 35 games during an abbreviated season is not really the greatest indicator of a head coach's worth.
And to prove that, the Rangers finished on a 10-3-1 run in the final month of the season to claim the sixth seed and have now advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the second straight season under Tortorella.
Still think the players have given up on him? Still think Lindy Ruff is a better fit? Still think he should be fired?
Sure, Torts is terrible at adapting and his absolute refusal to change offensive strategy is maddening sometimes. But his players are willing to run through a wall for him. He's a great motivator, who gets the most out of his players in the big games. His 5-1 record in Game 7s proves that.
If he's able to get his team through a Bruins team that many feel could be the best team in the Eastern Conference, not only will Torts be back next season, he may have a permanent office at MSG until he feels like hanging them up.
I mean, the Dolans kept Isiah Thomas within the organization for FIVE years and he didn't have a fraction of the success Tortorella has had. Actually he didn't have any.
Tortorella's blue collar approach makes him the perfect coach for a Rangers team that had the reputation of being a country club for way too and the City of New York. He has single-handedly changed the organizational strategy from buying the best free agents on the market (ok they still do that) to actually trying to build a winner from within by giving the young talent a chance to develop at the NHL level. Something that was almost taboo just six years ago.
So I say this to Rangers fans, enjoy what you have in Tortorella. There are plenty of fan bases who would beg to have a guy like this behind the bench of their team.
And man are his press conferences entertaining. Here's last night's…
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