by Patrick Hoffman on 03/17/13 at 06:41 PM ET
With the New York Rangers on a three game losing streak, many Blueshirts' fans are clamoring to have team head coach John Tortorella fired.
While it is typical for fans to overreact and make impulse decisions, it is a somewhat understandable feeling. After making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and getting Rick Nash during the off-season, many fans thought that the team had the makings of getting to the next level and once again being a Stanley Cup contender.
Unfortunately, these same fans have been let down. As of this writing, the team is tenth in the conference and three points out of the eighth spot. What is even worse for Rangers' fans is that the New York Islanders currently have one more point than their favorite hocckey team.
This is not the way it was supposed to be this season. The Blueshirts were supposed to be one of the best teams in both the East and the NHL and instead, are flirting with the possibility that they might not make the postseason at all.
While it is on the players to perform and produce, it is understandable that some of the blame must be placed on Tortorella. There is no doubt that while playing a defense-first system is smart, the team that Tortorella has includes several high-end forwards who might be being held back.
When it comes to goal scorers, players like Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan and even Derek Stepan should be scoring more. They might be playing well on the defensive side of the puck but offensively, they have been underwhelming.
With all of that said, he should not be fired. With the success he had last season and a shortened schedule, general manager Glen Sather's leash on Tortorella has to at least extend into next season. Next season, Tortorella will have a full training camp to work with lines, potential new offensive systems and anything else that he did not have time to do during this year's shortened training camp.
Secondly, Tortorella is still being positive this season and is saying all the right things:
“Well I think a lot of our guys understand how we go about our business, and that’s each day at a time. I’m not even looking at the standings. I try not to. I know everybody does because there’s so much talk about it. But I think you can take care of your business each and every day and things will fall into place, and that’s the way we’ve gone about it here for the past three or four years. And our leadership group I think falls in behind the coaching staff in that thinking. So it doesn’t matter where we’re at right now. There’s a lot of games to be played. A lot of things can change good and bad.
No, this season has not gone the way that the team's fans wanted it to but right now, they must give Tortorella some more time and may be even a chance to change the offense up a bit. This Rangers' team was 11th in the league last season in goals scored and this season, features many of the same players that were on last year's roster.
Should some blame be placed on Tortorella for the team's shortcomings so far this season? Absolutely.
Does Tortorella need to be fired? As of right now and for this season at least, no.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.