It’s hard to fire a good coach over recent bad form.
But that’s what the NHL’s New York Rangers have done lately.
The Rangers sacked coach Tom Renney after the team went through a stretch where they played below .500 hockey.
The Rangers started off the year 10-1-2 last October and were near the top of the Atlantic division for several months.
As of last week they’re third in the division and a mere seventh in the Eastern Conference. With a trio of teams less than five points behind them they could easily miss the playoffs altogether.
The firing looks bad first of all because the team has lost its edge: most notably in the scoring department.
Guys like Centre Chris Drury and Defenseman Wade Redden have contributed little in this area and in general of late.
Secondly Renney has done a good job with the Rangers to this point. In the last three seasons he has taken the Rangers to the playoffs. They made it as far as the conference semi-finals in the last two.
He doesn’t have a bad replacement in John Tortorella, the man best remembered for taking the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004.
But Renney shouldn’t have been let go when goalie Henrik Lundqvist has blossomed under his watch and the team has been a perennial contender.
With his resume it’s unlikely he’ll be unemployed for long and a range of teams would take his services including bottom clubs like the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay.
Ultimately the Rangers are in trouble because of who’s on the ice. Its unfortunate the guy off of it has to take the blame for them.