NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In a span of five days, John Tortorella went from out of the playoffs to out of a job.
The feisty and combative coach was fired by the New York Rangers on Wednesday after four-plus seasons behind the bench and four trips to the postseason.
Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather was vague when pressed for reasons why Tortorella was let go. But multiple reports said the push to move on actually came from the players’ exit meetings.
A source told the New York Daily News that “multiple players” and some “top guys” wanted the coach gone. According to the New York Post, “Sather had no intention of dismissing Tortorella … until a critical mass of players informed the GM that the coach’s overbearing personality had become a roadblock to success.”
There were “no ultimatums issued,” though the message was that Tortorella “had become the problem rather than the solution,” the Post reported. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist aired out his feelings about a “deteriorating dynamic” between Tortorella and the Rangers players, according to the paper.
Sather made it clear during a conference call that it wasn’t just one thing or particular incident that led to the somewhat unexpected dismissal.
“I am very appreciative of what Torts has done here,” Sather said. “We had an evaluation at the end of the year like we always do. Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. I felt that this was the decision that had to be made to go forward.
“I think he was a little bit shocked, but he is a gentleman and he took it very well.”
The Rangers’ announcement came shortly after WFAN host Mike Francesa broke the news live on the radio.