According to various sources, Head Coach Tom Renney has been fired. Renney and Assistant Perry Pearn were let go while Assistant Mike Pelino and Benoit Allaire were retained.
With around 20 games remaining in the season, this is a bit of a surprising move. Not to say that the Rangers didn't need a change at the helm, as they did, but what can be changed so late in the season?
The system will not change so late, which is most likely why Pelino was retained. What needs to change is the attitude and who could bring that to this squad?
Here are a few potential candidates:
Mike Pelino - Pelino has been a favorite of the players and was the only coach retained from the staff. Mike has worked the penalty kill and offense and may thrive with the ability to take the reigns. He is, however, a player's coach and will not necessarily be the motivator this group needs.
Jim Schoenfeld - Schoenfeld is the most likely choice next to Pelino because of his connection with the team as an executive and his former coaching history. He is less of a player's coach than Pelino, but still not a loud locker room presence.
Mark Messier - I am going out on a limb here, but could this be the beginning of the changing of the guard? Now that Messier, Leetch, Richter, and Graves are retired, couldn't you see them beginning to take over the organization? And what better motivator than "The Captain?"
John Tortorella - The polar opposite of Renney. He is a strong willed individual that doesn't accept slack in play. Certainly not a player's coach, "Torts" demands respect and has always longed to return to the Big Apple.
I have to admit I am disappointed. Since the lockout, I have been impressed by Renney's thoughtful and professional approach to his position. He was also very accessible to the media and was clearly a very prepared coach.
In the NHL, no coaching job is safe, but I would have hoped that Renney received a little more time and a more cohesive cast to work with.
Wherever he takes the next step in his career, I am sure he will be successful.
UPDATE: To hear about how Renney sunk the final nail into his own coffin, see Blueshirt Bulletin+ -- click here for our story, with quotes from Renney, Drury, and Lundqvist (BB+ monthly users click here).