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OTG POLL

Have the Rangers turned the corner?

No, still fundamentally flawed
Too early to tell
Yes, absolutely

Previous Polls
 INJURY REPORT
Henrik Lundqvist 12/5
Will not play tonight due to the flu
 
Mika Zibanejad 12/5
Not travelling with the team, but did manage to get on the stationary bike today
 
  MORE INJURY NEWS...
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
CAPTION THIS
Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

Best Of:
2014-15 ~ 2013-14
2012-13 ~ 2011-12
2010-11 ~ 2009-10

RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

  MORE RUMORS...

Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Bill Regan - 1908
Ted Hampson - 1936
Dave Richardson - 1940
Steve Richmond - 1959
Dave Gagner - 1964

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

PAT HANNIGAN
(1960-1962)
  Born: Mar 5 - 1936  
  Pos: Left Wing  
  GP: 109  
  G: 19  
  A: 23  
  Pts: 42  
  PIMs: 58  
 

Change As Good As A Holiday?
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - February 24, 2009

Reading the comments from many fans after yesterday's firing of Tom Renney, and one might come away with the feeling that the season is suddenly saved, and the Rangers are once again a playoff contender. After spirally towards the bottom of the playoff picture with ten losses in the last twelve games, it's clear that "Torts" (as John Tortorella is affectionately known) has his work cut out for him.

While many commentators have chosen to recognize what Tom Renney has done for the Rangers, others have taken the chance to fire shots at General Manager Glen Sather and the roster he has assembled, claiming his selections, not coaching philosophy were the reasons for the failure on the ice.

Whatever the reason, the new man behind the bench, will have little option, but to work with the roster in place, which will mean only limited ability to hold players accountable, and few options (other than rearranging the lines) if things don't click.

Why is that you say? Well mainly because there's not a lot of depth in Hartford knocking on the door, with veterans (but borderline NHLers) Patrick Rissmiller, Jeff Fahey and P.A. Parenteau leading the Pack to their recent success.

If all of Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Nikolai Zherdev, Markus Naslund, Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden, Dan Girardi and Dmitri Kalinin continue to struggle, who is going to fill the massive amount of ice time that they've been playing?

The reality is that coaches today have few weapons if any to deploy. Already handicapped by a 23 man limit and waivers that were introduced in the 1995 CBA, coaches and GMs had their power even further eroded by the Salary Cap and re-entry waivers.

Now a decision to send a player to Hartford will likely result in a final decision on the status of the player with the club, with no chance at a reprieve. Players who get sent down are unlikely to be seen again any time soon, because teams don't want to run the risk of filling up valuable cap space with players who aren't even playing for the team.

Add to that Glen Sather's choice to blow almost his entire Cap budget this year, (and a large portion of it over the next several years) and there doesn't appear to be any help on the horizon for a coach stuck with players not performing.

So what can John Tortorella realistically do? Well he can change the philosohphy, perhaps allow players to take more risk, to change the approach to the game, and most of all to try and perhaps bully or threaten some of those very underperformers.

There's some suggestion that this could work in the short term, particularly for underachieving teams. Mike Keenan made a career (albeit often through relatively brief stays) of this very approach...Michel Therrien also generated some short term success by being an assertive coach. Others like Pat Quinn and Pat Burns were known for the assertiveness, as is current Devils coach Brent Sutter.

There's also a belief that coach changes can generate a bounce in play, simply by being a new voice, though if this year's crop of changes (see below) are any indication, that's by no means a certainty.

There are some examples in recent years where it has worked though. Last season the Capitals fired Glen Hanlon after the team got off to it's slowest ever start, and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau, who guided the team to an improbable late season run and a second round loss to the Flyers.

Lou Lamoriello has twice replaced his man behind the bench late in the season as well and appeared in the post season leading his team, though in the last instance he fired current Bruins head coach Claude Julien with the team sitting fairly strongly at 102 points...and while he did lead the Devils to a 4-0 sweep over the Rangers in 2005-06, he promptly lost in the second round.

On the whole however, the affect of a coach change appears to be fairly minimal when done in the middle of the year, which perhaps explains why there has been relatively fewer firings during the season on the whole. It certainly hasn't worked for the Rangers on the last few occasions, where Colin Campbell (replaced by John Muckler), Bryan Trottier (replaced by Glen Sather) and Sather himself have all left their teams out of a playoff position...something that didn't change despite the changes behind the bench.

2008-09 Coaching Changes
Oct 16th CHI - Denis Savard replaced by Joel Quenneville
- 1-2-1 before the change (.375)
- Lost 1st game after change in shootout 3-4 @ Blues
- Went 2-1-2 in first five after change
- Went 6-1-3 in first ten after change
- 33-14-7 since change (.676)

Nov 14th TBL - Barry Melrose replaced by Rick Tocchet
- 5-7-4 before the change (.438)
- Lost 1st game after change in shootout 2-3 @ Hurricanes
- Went 1-1-3 in first five after change
- Went 1-5-4 in first ten after change
- 15-21-8 since change (.432)

Dec 3rd CAR - Peter Laviolette replaced by Paul Maurice
- 12-11-2 before the change (.520)
- Lost 1st game after change 2-5 vs. Penguins
- Went 1-1-3 in first five after change
- Went 4-3-3 in first ten after change
- 19-14-3 since change (.577)

Feb 2nd OTT - Craig Hartsburg replaced by Cory Clouston
- 17-24-7 before the change (.427)
- Lost 1st game after change 0-1 vs. Kings
- Went 3-1-1 in first five after change
- Went 5-3-2 in first ten after change
- 5-3-2 since change (.600)

Feb 15th PIT - Michel Therrien replaced by Dan Bylsma
- 27-25-5 before the change (.518)
- Lost 1st game after change in shootout 2-3 @ Islanders
- 2-1-1 since change (.625)

Previous Mid-Season Coaching Changes
2007-08 - Bryan Murray was brought in to get the Ottawa Senators to the promised land, but ends up getting a ticket out of town, being replaced by Craig Hartsburg...who himself lasts just under a year. Murray has the Senators firing on all cylinders in October, but his charges lose the plot afterwards and end up costing him his job. The Senators meekly leave the post season with a 4-0 first round loss to the Penguins, whom they defeated the previous year.

2007-08 - Don Waddell fires Bob Hartley after an 0-6-0 start and steps behind the bench himself. He manages to get a .500 team out of his charges, but finishes as a seller, replacing himself after the season is over.

2006-07 - Lou Lamoriello fires Claude Julien with a week to go in the regular season, with the Devils sitting first in the Atlantic and having won their fourth in the past five games. The Devils win their first round matchup with the Lightning and lose 4-1 to the Senators...losing in the second round under Lamoriello for the second straight season

2006-07 - Andy Murray replaces Mike Kitchen in December, and guides the team to nine games over .500, but not enough to overcome the damage already done. Murray continues to coach the Blues this season, but they are currently still out of the playoff picture in Murray's third season with the team.

2006-07 - Ken Hitchcock replaces Gerard Gallant in Columbus, just over a month into the season, but manages to only keep his team near the .500 mark under his leadership. 2007-08 the team finishes two games under .500, though they are in playoff contention for the first time ever this season.

2006-07 Blackhawks legend Denis Savard replaces Trent Yawney behind the bench of a young Chicago team and finishes his first season as a head coach 24-30-7. He gets the Blackhawks into positive territory in his second season, but they fall just short of a playoff spot, and Savard lasts only four games into his third year.

2006-07 Hitchcock gets fired from the Flyers after the team falls apart with injuries and some would say the mismanagement of GM Bob Clarke. Hitchcock gets hired soon after by the Blue Jackets, and the Flyers AHL farm team coach takes over and weathers a brutal season (21-42-11) in his first year coaching an NHL franchise. Stevens makes amends in his second year though, guiding a surprising Flyers team to the Eastern Conference Finals, before they lose to the Penguins.



Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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