By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
You ever seen that coach in the movies or in cartoons that’s always yelling, telling his players they’re terrible, and making lots of wild hand motions? Well, that’s not too far off from how John Tortorella, the now former coach of the New York Rangers hockey team, behaved.
While no official reasons have been listed as to why he was fired on May 29th, just four days after the Rangers were eliminated in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Tortorella was very well-known for having a rough personality both in public and behind closed doors.
The team president and general manager, Glen Sather, says that Tortorella was “shocked” when he heard the news. Sather says, “Every coach has a shelf life. I’ve told every guy 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 the goal this year. I had to make the decision, and so I did.”
As far as “shelf life” – how long something lasts before it’s no longer fresh – Tortorella did lead the Rangers to 171 victories after replacing Tom Renney in 2009. However, momentum has apparently been going downhill, and many are looking to Henrik Lundqvist as being a major reason for the loss of faith in Tortorella’s leadership. See, Lundqvist is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, which is given to the best goalies, and he expressed, “It’s been a lot of fun. I have one more year on the contract. I’m just focused on – well, right now, I’m trying to get over this year – but we’ll see. I’ll talk to my agent and take it from there.” It sounds like he wants to play somewhere else…
Sather dismisses those comments as being important to his firing of Tortorella, saying, “It didn’t have anything to do with it. We plan on signing Henrik to a long-term contract, so I’m not going to make any public comments about negotiations, but it had nothing to do with the decision that I made.” However, it’s also known that Tortorella had issues with the well-respected veteran center, Brad Richards, who he moved to the bench and then scratched. Even though they used to have a successful relationship when they won a Stanley Cup together with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, Richards now says, “Relationships come and go.”
While we may never know the exact reason for his firing, it can’t possibly help that he wasn’t getting along with two very important players. Is there a moral of the story? Well, whether it’s hockey or school, you should get along with your superiors – whether it’s your teacher, your boss, or your parents – and try to build positive relationships with your teammates, classmates, and friends. Do that, and success will be much more likely to follow. If it doesn’t, and failure knocks on your door, at least you’ll have people willing to cheer you on rather than looking at you like you’re the problem that needs solving.