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(sports) Rangers Fire John Tortorella

The LONE Ranger

John+Tortorella+2012+Bridgestone+NHL+Winter+Sxyg0dIRIFsl– VIA USA Today –
The New York Rangers fired coach John Tortorella on Wednesday after the team took a step back this season.

Last season, the Rangers won the Eastern Conference regular-season title and went to the conference finals.

This season, they finished sixth, even though expectations were high after they acquired Rick Nash in the offseason.

Though they upset the Washington Capitals in the first round, they were handled pretty easily by the Boston Bruins in a five-game loss in the conference semifinals.

After the series, Tortorella said: “There was never a lack of effort with the club. At the beginning of the series, I think there was a lack of awareness of how high you have to be as you go to the second round with your level of play. And as we went on, I thought we got better.”

The move is expected to be the first of several during the offseason for the Rangers. They are expected to buy out the remaining seven years of Brad Richards’ nine-year, $60 million contract.

The Nash trade actually hurt the Rangers at the beginning of the season because they dealt some heart-and-soul players such as Brandon Dubinsky. So did the loss of defenseman Marc Staal with an eye injury.

The Rangers improved after trading Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore and made the playoffs.

If the Rangers are looking for a veteran coach to replace Tortorella, a former Stanley Cup winner, Alain Vigneault and Lindy Ruff are available.

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