When we put off our countdown of the top 5 most annoying New York Rangers we had yet to name number one. It’s very fitting that as we resume this countdown, this time bristling while we wait for next season, the number one guy on this list has already lost his job with the Rangers. Coach John Tortorella was the most annoying New York Ranger by a landslide.
His antics bled into the team and determined their identity. Torts is the reason that players like Callahan made this list. Fittingly, though, his antics are also what got him fired. He is always screaming and scowling from behind the bench and in front of reporters. As a fan of the NBA’s Gregg Popovich, I normally like this sort of thing. Reporters need to be kept on their game, so I’m fine with harsh answers to dumb questions. However, Torts took this to obnoxious levels. Popovich can give icy answers without making it seem like he’s creating a personal battle with the reporters. Tortorella often made things personal, called out specific reporters for little reason and in general took all of his frustration out on the press. After a while it smacks of poor sportsmanship and excuse-making. As a Caps fan, hearing all of this on a daily basis just makes it feel like I have to take time out of each day to hate the Rangers, and I do. Then by the time a Caps/Rags game actually comes along it feels like I’ve been stewing for weeks, and I have. It’s a good recipe for hard feelings.
This is the primary reason John was the most annoying New York Ranger for the last couple years, because you had to hear his obnoxious drama before the game even started and well after it finished. Many of the guys donning the actual sweaters were annoying, but at least they played the game and disappeared into the ether after it finished.
Tortorella is a good coach who just has a shelf-life at every stop. He won a cup in Tampa, and that will always bring him respect. You don’t always know what you’re going to get from a Tortorella team, but you know his guys are going to play tough. They are going to defend the hell out of their end of the ice, and they aren’t going to give you anything.
After Torts lost his job in New York, a lot of media were harping on the negatives that he brings to the table. As a Caps fan, I’m very used to explaining these things to anything with ears. However, I felt his positives got short-changed. People have since asked me if I’m sad he got fired, on the basis that you should always root for rival teams to hang onto bad coaches too long. This is entirely my mantra (Jason Garrett, stay right where you are, baby), but Torts scares me as a Caps fan. He’s gotten the best of the Caps for two straight years now, but the effect on the psyche has been worse than the effect on the scoreboard.
Torts is tough and angry. For the past two years, he’s reminded me that my team is not. Good riddance, John.