Torts Has ‘Damaged’ Relationship With Richards; Regrets How It Played Out
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers have moved on from John Tortorella, and Torts has moved on from them.
Alain Vigneault is in charge of the Blueshirts now, while Tortorella — who coached the Rangers from 2008-2013 — is beginning a new era in Vancouver.
Tortorella was let go by New York on May 29, shortly after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs.
The outspoken coach still has scars from his Manhattan days, most notably his fractured relationship with center Brad Richards, who he demoted and ultimately benched during the playoffs last season.
“It kills me, it kills me,” Tortorella told TSN. “That kid there … that kid there, I grew up with him. I learned a lot from him in Tampa. We grew up together in Tampa. I don’t know where (the relationship) went — see, now you got me talking about him — but yeah, it’s been damaged.”
Tortorella also told the network that he hasn’t spoken to the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner in months.
The Boston native, of course, coached Tampa Bay from 2000-2008, winning the Stanley Cup in 2004 behind the stellar play of Richards.
Tortorella regrets how it played out with the 33-year-old.
“Yeah, that’s one, that’s a big one,” the coach told TSN. “When the game’s done, relationships are all you have left. That’s important to me. That’s a tough one for me.”
The 55-year-old also admitted that he was very surprised when he learned that some of his Rangers players were not too fond of his coaching style.
“No one came to me and said, ‘God, you’re kicking the hell out of us, you’ve got to back off,’ and that kind of caught me back,” Tortorella told the network.
As for his sudden firing? He’s still trying to figure that one out.
“I’m not sure exactly what happened,” Tortorella said. “My general manager told me, ‘You lost the team, you’re outta here.'”
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