Welcome back to the NHL “Torts”.
The Rangers looked better at times last night, and Wade Redden even scored his first goal since October…on the power play no less, but the result was the same. A 2-1 Shootout loss to the Maple Leafs makes John Tortorella the fourth replacement coach this year to lose his debut in a shootout. He was the sixth one replaced so far this season.
Tortorella is not 0-3-1-1 as the head coach of the Rangers, including an 0-3-1 stretch to finish out the 1999-00 season as interim coach after John Muckler was fired.
Interestingly enough players like Petr Prucha and Colton Orr turned in strong performances, though Scott Gomez and Chris Drury continued to struggle…the former turning the puck over numerous times in the game. Markus Naslund even dropped the gloves, in his first fight since the 90s.
While the focus continues to be on the new coach, the old one had a few words to say about the team, including regrets that he didn’t push harder to resign Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan, admitting he was the one standing in the way of Shanahan’s return. He also suggested that Drury and Gomez weren’t up to the task of leading the team, and that he should’ve been harder on his players. You can read more in the Bergen Record, NY Post and Newsday.
It’s also remarkable how much vitriol has been directed towards GM Glen Sather. And while Sather deserves blame too for the Rangers woes, it’s been remarkable that no one in the media has been pointing out that Renney also appeared to have run out of ideas.
They’ll get a chance to make amends tonight, and perhaps earn Tortorella his first win against the Florida Panthers.
The Wolf Pack looked thoroughly outplayed by the Penguins, but came away with a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh’s farm team in Scranton. Matt Zaba turned away 39 of the 40 shots he faced, and Greg Moorescored short handed and on the power play in the third period as the Pack made the most of their opportunities (3 goals on 5 shots in the final 20 minutes). Sean Avery also picked up his first goal since suiting up for the Pack and now has 2 points in six games.
It was the Pack’s fourth win in a row, the first time they’ve accomplished that feat all season.