RANGERS LET RENNEY GO AFTER 10TH LOSS IN 12 GAMES
TSN.CA STAFF 2/23/2009 1:13:19 PM
The struggling New York Rangers have fired head coach Tom Renney with 21 games left in the NHL season.
The last straw came after the Rangers' 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, which handed New York its tenth loss in 12 games (2-7-3).
Rangers' assistant coach Parry Pearn was given his pink slip as well, however fellow assistant Mike Pelino was retained along with goalie coach Benoit Allaire.
Renney's replacement was not announced however on NHL Live! on Monday, TSN Insider Bob McKenzie speculated that NHL on TSN analyst and former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Tortorella could likely take over as the Blueshirts next bench boss. The New York Post is speculating that former New Jersey Devils' coach Jim Schoenfeld, who works in the Rangers' front office, could be the choice.
Tortorella is still under contract to the Lightning, so the Rangers would have to ask permission to speak to him. The Stanley Cup-winning coach had a short stint behind the Rangers bench in the 1999-2000 season, when he spent four games as head coach after working the rest of the year as an assistant. He went 0-3-1 to close out the season. He briefly assumed the head coaching role after John Muckler was fired. Tortorella left for Tampa the next season when Neil Smith was fired as general manager in New York and Glen Sather was brought in to replace him.
The Rangers are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but they sit only two points ahead of ninth-place Carolina in a tight playoff race.
In an interesting sidenote, all four NHL teams that opened the NHL season in Europe have now fired their head coaches this season. In addition to Renney, other coaches to get the axe are the Penguins' Michel Therrien, the Lightning's Barry Melrose and the Senators' Craig Hartsburg.
Those teams were part of the NHL's move to generate interest overseas by holding regular season games in Prague, Czech Republic and Stockholm, Sweden to kick off the 2008-09 campaign.
Renney, who turns 54 on March 1, was in his sixth season with the team.
He was originally named to the Rangers coaching staff as an assistant in 2003 after spending time as the team's Director of Player Personnel and Vice President of player development. Renney was then appointed as the team's interim head coach for the final 20 games of the 03-04 season replacing the team's current general manager Glen Sather behind the bench.
Renney was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams award as the league's top coach in his first year as New York finished sixth in the Eastern Conference and a first round playoff sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers.
Prior to his time in the Big Apple, Renney cut his teeth with Hockey Canada, helping the team capture a silver medal at the Lillehammer, Olympics in Norway in 1994. He also coached for Canada at 10 World Hockey Championships, capturing three gold, three silver and two bronze medals in the process.
Renney then got his first NHL head coaching job with the Vancouver Canucks, where he was behind the bench from the 1996-97 season to midway through the 1997-98 season, when he was fired and replaced by Mike Keenan.
The Rangers are 31-23-7 this season.
Can't remember who, but I seem to recall some media-type saying that if Renney was fired from the Rags, he would be high on Shero's list to replace Bylsma after the season.