GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 30: Head coach John Tortorella of the New York Rangers during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 30, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Rangers last Saturday dropped New York out of the playoffs and put John Tortorella out of a job.
Tortorella was fired as head coach of the Blueshirts on Wednesday, five days after they were eliminated by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Torts’ pack-it-in style of hockey and notoriously prickly attitude toward the media rubbed many the wrong way, but B’s head coach Claude Julien does not expect Tortorella to be unemployed for long.
“Sure I do. I said it all along, I said it before the series started, I like Torts,” Julien said Thursday, according to ESPN.com’s James Murphy. “Torts has his personality and when you respect a person for who he is — and I know he has a lot of qualities. His teams made the playoffs four out of the last five years. He made it to the conference finals last year. He’s won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay.
“You know what? How could you not respect a guy like that? He’ll be back in the league. But do I feel for him? Sure I do, because nobody likes to lose his job, especially situations where you’re into the second round and you made the playoffs four out of the last five years. For some reason, it doesn’t work out. But I have all the faith in the world that he’ll be back because good coaches are hard to find.”
Tortorella, who grew up in Massachusetts and played college hockey at the University of Maine, has reached the postseason eight times but advanced past the second round just twice, including winning a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004.
His Rangers finished 26-18-4 in this year’s lockout-shortened season, defeating Washington in seven games in the first round before falling to Boston in five.