While Mike is still recouping from hopefully just a serious case of MSG agida let's review the end of coach clueless - a major milestone in Rangers history. Reactions to the firing of Tom Renney have been mixed across the NHL and in Rangerland.
The three main camps of thought regarding his firing are these:
- Renney was a winning coach and terrific guy who just didn't have the quality players and the personality to get his team to play good hockey this year. He was a victim of GM Glen Sather's poor decision making regarding the construction of the roster.
- Renney was a terrific coach and a decent, classy guy who brought respectability back to the Rangers. He was the victim of high paid underachieving veterans who didn't produce.
- Renney may be a nice guy and good defensive coach, but it was obvious that he was clueless on how to coach offensive hockey, much less build even an average powerplay. His mistreatment of Petr Prucha was criminal. He deserved to be fired for his team's poor performance on the ice.
Mike has used the old Italian expression, "The fish stinks from the head," several times (here, here, and here) at the Ranger Pundit to indicate his displeasure with how Glen Sather (The Stealth GM) and James Dolan (The Absentee Owner) have been running the team.
Ken Campbell at The Hockey News uses a variation of that expression to illustrate Reason #1 for Renney's demise.
Campbell's Cuts: Renney takes fall for Sather's mistakes --
In fact, you could easily argue that Renney has been the best coach the Rangers have had since Colin Campbell, who last was behind the Rangers bench 11 years ago. He communicated well with the players, got the most out of many of them, including Jaromir Jagr, and instilled in the team a system of disciplined defensive play.
But the fish rots from the head down and that’s the case with the Rangers. Like most unsuccessful organizations, they are top-heavy with problems starting with a meddlesome chairman and then moving down to Sather, whose philosophy since joining the Rangers in 2000 is to throw money around and see what works.
Firing Renney was a cop-out and won’t help this team --
It’s a shame a guy like Tom Renney has to pay for the incompetence of others. But that’s just how things go sometimes. If at first you don’t succeed, simply blame somebody else. If that doesn’t work, fire them. That’s how GMs the world over have been doing business for eons. No reason that Glen Sather’s mantra should be any different. In almost eight years as a general manager of the Rangers, Slats has shown none of the aptitude that made him one of the most successful coaches in NHL history. Far from it, in fact.
Rangers make Renney walk the plank --
Renney's a really nice guy and a good hockey mind, but his team this season has been brutal since a great early season stretch. New York was the best team in the NHL 13 games in at 10-2-1, but has since gone 21-21-6, an 82-point pace, and have done it by the skin of their teeth. Nine of their wins this season have come in the shootout, more than any other NHL team, and without winning those coin flips, they'd be well out of playoff position right now.
And, all the while, Renney's become more and more unpopular with the team's fan base. (They're not exactly upset right now.)
That stems back to last season, when the Blueshirts were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, and GM Glen Sather's ugly off-season roster makeover didn't help matters much. This is a poorly constructed team playing poorly, one with more boat anchor contracts than likely any other in the NHL...
If Renney's gone, Sather should be next --
Before we examine Monday's firing of New York Rangers coach Tom Renney, let us first ponder this question: Is there a more overrated person in the entire game of hockey than Rangers GM Glen Sather? ...
Renney deserves some of the blame, naturally. Did he do enough to coax offense from this group? Should he have used Petr Prucha more? Did he use Redden too much? Was he too stuck in using Sather's highly paid players as opposed to using lesser players who might have produced more?
Sure, those might have been contributing factors. So, yeah, go ahead, fire your coach. What better way to try to cover your own mess than by placing it at the feet of someone else...
Rangers Lose, Fire Renney --
Tom Renney has been fired. Well, now the players have absolutely no excuse. I don't want to hear about it. It's all on them now, they have to start playing and prove their worth. It's always easy to get rid of the coach and staff - right or wrong. You can't get rid of "High Priced Under Achievers" in a salary cap league. Glen Sather probably had no choice, even though anyone who knows hockey will tell you it's all on the players...
I will say this, if you believe it was Renney's fault - you're dreaming. Players play, players skate, players hit, and in the end - players have to score. I hope they prove me wrong!
Finally.. Renney gets The Axe! --
Renney is a good coach, although he lost this group somewhere along the way... But objectively, does anyone actually think this is an elite or even decent team right now? Without Henrik, this is a 10 or 11 seed...
Gomez has been a total bust - 12 goals! The guy is so ineffective on a nightly basis its laughable, with his toe loops and axels... Redden's skills have diminished to a point where he isn't a top 6 d-man on a good team... Naslund is a shell of his prior self, as is Drury, who has NEVER been a front line forward... Dubinsky has been ravaged by the soph jinx and Staal is looking every bit his 20 years lately... Its obvious that Renney is the victim of these circumstances... He will get another NHL job, as he knows the game quite well...
You Bet Your Job - Part 1 --
I'm thinking those two bench minor penalties were the proverbial straws which broke the llama's back. And I'll tell you why.
Dis-ir-regardless what Renney would have you believe, those mistakes were not the fault of any player, be he dressed or a healthy scratch...
But if Perry Pearn is indeed the architect of NYR's anemic power play since the lockout... and if his continued presence the past 18 months was due to fierce loyalty by Renney when Pearn clearly deserved to be sacked, then Tom can look at Pearn as one of the anchored chains which dragged the dapper bench boss below sea level...
Sather Charts New Rangers Future --
Sather seemed as perplexed as anyone over the fact that the Seventh Avenue skaters looked like a sleek, well-oiled machine in the early going and then just about everything went wrong.
I asked him if he could pinpoint what that "something" was when he declared that "something happened."
"I don't have any conclusive answer," he replied. "We lost our zip. Maybe it was an earlier game with Toronto when we blew a two-goal lead late in the game; or possibly a loss to Washington. In any event, we all have to take responsibility." ...
Ill go on record, Im HAPPY the guy is gone. Good bye, see you later, dont let the door hit you on the way out.
People are confusing his classy nature with his ability to coach, and I see a major distinction there.
In my personal opinion, Tom Renney was a HIGHLY overrated coach here who had rode the coat tails of Jaromir Jagr these past years. Without Jagr his complete ineptitude behind the bench really showed in spades...