NEW YORK RANGERS: Blueshirts Extend Tortorella's Deal. But He's No Company Man.
Eliminated by the Capitals...again. So, where does the team who's never been beyond the second round of the playoffs under Glen Sather go from here? Let's try this for starters; Don't blow it! Mr. Glen Sather.., Now that you have a solid core, don't go trading them away for more fossils and Hockey's disabled vets.
Enter John Tortorella. Whether you like him or not, I feel like he's exerted much more influence on Glen Sather than Glen has on Coach. Even Stevie Wonder could have seen that the General Manager of the Rangers hitched up the same old wagon, year after year, to a revolving team of nags ready for the glue factory. If you think that's exaggerating things a bit..., ask yourself when was the last time we were better than a seventh place seed under Sather? Now ask yourself when was the first time?
If it weren't for John Tortorella, many of the kids who got promoted and played extremely well would have been gone at the trade deadline. I'm convinced of that. Glen Sather did hire the man responsible for drafting the current talent pool though. I cede him that. He replaced Don Maloney with Gordie Clark and the drafting has indeed gotten better; evidenced by this year's pool. But Sather would have surely sent them packing considering all the injuries the Rangers were sustaining as last season's trade-deadline approached. And he surely would have committed us to even more salary-cap hell.
So, when we look at the Rangers now, there's the team we started out the season with and Glen Sather's original idea of a good time. Then there is the team we finished up with; the young, spry team of Blueshirts, that kept the team afloat in the face of all those said injuries, and the one's who have Coach Tort's stamp all over them. This is a classic, Glass Half Full/Half Empty scenario.
I'm Glass Half Full, and have a vested interest in Coach Tort's vision. It's Glen Sather I don't trust. But now that Coach Torts has a new three year pact (was that ever made official?), I couldn't be happier to have someone behind the bench who can and does exert influence on Glen Sather. Tom Renney never could. He was subservient. Not Coach Torts - He's no Company Man.
Behind the scenes, I believe Torts is the one calling all the on-ice shots now. It's not because Glen Sather has all of a sudden become an imp. No, ...it's because Coach Torts is just that bullish about what he's preaching. The Ranger GM isn't just handing over day laborers to the Coaches anymore and expecting them to figure things out. Do you think Coach Torts would operate like that? He'd quit first. He now has a list of needs for Glen Sather to fill. Because there's only one plan in place at the moment; - And that's Tortorella's! I've never heard Glen Sather speak of a plan. Maybe that's because he doesn't have to. But ever since Coach Torts got here, it's all he's talked about. And for as long as Coach insists his demands on Sather be met and Sather obliges, we'll be better for it.
If Jim Dolan continues to refuse to hold Glen Sather accountable for his record, or even request that he speak with the Media...ever!... then, Coach Tortorella is the perfect coach to have in the fold, if indeed we're stuck with Sather for eternity.