Rangers coach John Tortorella is not a man known for holding back his emotions, and after New York fell just short of the playoffs, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout on Sunday, very few players escaped his criticism.
"I wasn't crazy about the room," Tortorella told the New York Post. "I'm not indicting [captain] Chris Drury or [alternate captain] Ryan Callahan or the leadership group, but I think some people need to be weeded out."
Beyond just talking about character and the core group of Blueshirts, Torts was even willing to call out the Rangers’ leading scorer, winger Marian Gaborik.
"Gabby is a legitimate star, but I don't like the way he plays in big games," Tortorella told the Post. "I look back at that and think I should have changed the lines [in Sunday’s loss], but I kept on hoping and hoping, hoping that Erik [Christensen] would make a play, hoping that Gabby would make a big play."
Tortorella hoped for the one big play from his top offensive unit, but despite a remarkable performance by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers came up short. The inability of their star to come up big may have been the reason the Rangers couldn’t survive the winner-take-all tilt in Philadelphia, but it was the issues with chemistry, leadership and character that put them in a must-win situation to begin with.
The Rangers have had some major reshuffling the past two offseasons, but if they don’t want to find themselves on the outside of the playoff party looking in next season, they may have to do it again.
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