As with past recent-vintage Rangers teams, high-paid free agents have disappointed, even though these particular guys (Gomez, Drury, Redden) never felt like flashy, celeb-first acquisitions a la Fleury or Lindros, and indeed, were acquired more for their particular skill sets (Gomez, winning pedigree and assists, Drury, winning pedigree and grit, Redden – oops – defense) than first-team all-star caliber (problem is, they’re paid like all-stars).
The CW for days has been that former Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld, who has coached the Rangers’ AHL team in Hartford and is currently in the NY front office, will step in to finish out the season (Hartford’s current coach is second-year man Ken Gernander). Then, of course, you have to wonder if they’ll keep the unexciting hockey lifer (as they did with Renney) or feel obligated to go after Pat Quinn or another “name” (which has hardly been the trend in the NHL of late, Todd McLellan and Bruce Boudreau being the most recent examples).
John Tortorella would seem the obvious choice (Bob McKenzie is saying so on TSN), so much so that you have to wonder if they’re hiring him (or should I say, re-hiring – he was an assistant back in ’99-’00, including four games as the interim head coach) right now. ‘Cause if you were just promoting from within you could announce it on the spot.
Tortorella’s last stint with the club is also the last time the Rangers fired their GM (Neil Smith) and coach (John Muckler) at the same time; Glen Sather’s been there ever since.
Did this franchise really once employ Ron Low and Bryan Trottier? Good times.
And I almost 100 percent certainly can’t decide which is more delightful, the thought of seeing Torts again during a Flyers playoff series, or the thought of Torts and Larry Brooks seeing each other every day.
Update 2: This also means the Flyers’ John Stevens is the longest-tenured coach in the division, and third in the entire Eastern Conference. This has been noted by Rich Hoffman, though for all I know he did his research here.