Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Former Lightning coach Tortorella fired by Rangers

NEW YORK — John Tortorella was defiant earlier in the week, stating that the Rangers didn't take a step back when they were knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round. General manager Glen Sather thought otherwise and fired the combative coach on Wednesday.

Tortorella was let go four days after the Rangers' season ended with a Game 5 loss to the Bruins.

"I came up with the decision that I really needed to do something to improve our team going forward," Sather said. "Every coach has a shelf life. I've told every guy that I've hired that at some point in time this is going to change. Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup and we didn't achieve that goal this year. I had to make a decision, so I did."

Sather didn't name a replacement but hopes to have a new coach by the June 30 NHL draft.

Tortorella, 54, was dismissed with one year left on his contract. In 319 regular-season games with New York, including a four-game run at the end of the 1999-2000 season, he went 171-118-1-29. Since his first game with the Rangers (Feb. 25, 2009), Tortorella's club had the fourth-best record in the East (.589). But he was 19-25 in the postseason, reaching the playoffs in four of five seasons.

Tortorella, hired to replace Tom Renney, achieved success with the Rangers but couldn't match the Cup title he earned in 2004 with the Lightning before being let go after the 2007-08 season.

On Monday, Tortorella said his club wasn't emotionally ready to take on Boston after getting past Washington. "I don't think our mind-set was ready to play another series and to the level you need to be at," he said. "It didn't have a playoff atmosphere."

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