John Tortorella

Shut Up And Coach

Far be it for me, a fan and part time Rangers commentator to give the most successful US born NHL coach advice. I mean we’re talking about John Tortorella, not some rookie who has never even been in an NHL playoff game, let alone won the Stanley Cup. A guy who has worked in New York before, a guy who you would expect, knows a thing or to about how to build a successful team.

But with that said, I speak not from complete ignorance, but from spending the past twelve plus years closely following the New York Rangers, and I’ve seen this kind of thing before and I can tell you…it ain’t gonna work.

I refer in this case, to Tortorella’s call to the Blueshirts faithful to stop disrespecting Donald Brashear. Specifically, Torts wants the Rangers fans to stop booing the 37 year old enforcer.

I’m telling you now John, it may work to some extent on the ice and in the lockerroom where you have direct control over the player’s and the roles they play on the team, but out here in the real world, the only thing that’s going to stop the masses ripping into Brashear is time and results.

And no, it’s not the media that has somehow coerced the populace into jeering your main man, but a track record of cheap shots that culminated in the loss of a player who did earn the fans’ respect, Blair Betts.

He’s not even being booed because Glen Sather awarded him $1.4M a year for two years, not that far off Brandon Dubinsky‘s numbers when all things were said and done. And yes, I do understand the different market positions of UFA’s vs. RFA’s with no arbitration rights, but it’s still a lot of money for a guy who was a healthy scratch for more than a handful of games with the Washington Capitals.

The reason that he’s being booed is because of his past record. He’s being booed for those games against the Philadelphia Flyers where he would take cheapshots at the Rangers’ stars, prompting a guy like Brendan Shanahan to have to drop the gloves. He’s being booed of course for his late hit to Blair Betts in the playoffs last season, a hit that ended the Rangers career of a guy who had earned the respect of the fans.

John, you of all people should know that respect has to be earned, and that is something that Brashear will have to work through himself, and the best contribution you can make is to build a team that works hard and win. Do that, and the fans will focus on the success, and not the bad blood with one of your players.

Bottom line, I suggest you take your own advice, shut up and coach.

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