Renney Fired: What Took So Long?

New York Rangers’ General Manager Glen Sather has finally canned head coach Tom Renney. What took so long? Renney was as offensive-minded as a Quaker and this should have been done six weeks ago when there was still a chance of salvaging the hockey season. Renney’s replacement, John Tortorella, will light a fire under this tepid team, but it won’t be enough (and Pat Quinn would have been a better choice).

Six weeks ago it would have made sense for the Rangers to be trade-deadlines buyers, but with just twenty-one games left and not enough time to build a new offense the Rangers should proceed to step two: rebuilding. They need to do as baseball’s Oakland As did last year and simply admit that this team isn’t good enough to compete for a championship. At best this is a number six seed, not good enough to get past the gritty Bruins, the lockdown Devils, or the hungry Flyers, and surely not a serious challenge to the iron of the West: the Wings, Sharks, and Flames.

The smart move would be to write off the campaign and see if they can unload a few really bad salaries and gain salary cap space for next year, especially those of Chris Drury, Paul Mara, and Wade Redden. Drury needs to be in an open offense where he can poach and play wave-by defense (Ducks?) and the lumbering Mara needs to be some place where he doesn’t have to skate (like perched in front of a soft goal tender such as Chris Osgood). As for Redden, get a bucket of pucks for him—anything to lose that awful contract.

Step three is to see what some of the young guys are made of—Zherdev, Voros, Prucha, Sjostrom ... and build around Markus Naslund until help arrives next year. And to do that, step four needs to happen: Glen Sather should be shown the door as well. This is his team, not Renney’s, and Sather simply doesn’t know how to evaluate talent in the new NHL.

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