The New York Rangers have fired head coach John Tortorella after the team’s disappointing exit in the Eastern Conference semifinals on the weekend.
The Rangers were manhandled by the Boston Bruins 4-1 in the series, and the team announced the dismissal of the brash 54 year old on Wednesday.
Tortorella spent five years behind the bench at Madison Square Garden, guiding his team into the playoffs on four different occasions.
The outspoken coach led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals in 2012 only to lose to the New Jersey Devils in six games.
The announcement may have come as a surprise to some, but there were a few tell-tale signs that New York was coming apart at the seams.
Tortorella benched assistant captain Brad Richards for the last two games of the series against the Bruins.
And Richards recently revealed that his relationship with the coach that he’d won the Stanley Cup with in Tampa Bay was not what it used to be.
“Obviously it’s just another thing in a relationship that will never change now,” he said. “But I want to play hockey and that’s all I’m worried about. Relationships come and go.”
Tortorella was defiant after New York’s playoff exit four days ago, saying that the team had not regressed and didn’t view the year as a failure.
However, goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist disagreed with his coach’s opinion and said that the team fell short of its goals.
“It’s a step back,” he admitted. “We were in the conference finals last year and we had high expectations of ourselves this season.
“It didn’t go our way so yeah, it was a step back.”
New York general manager Glen Sather has scheduled a conference call for later on Wednesday and it’s not yet known if a replacement will be named at that time.
The New York Rangers fired coach John Tortorella as they look to find the right man to lead them to their first Stanley Cup since 1994.