Too much have been made of these last four losses. And ok, outside of the 1-0 loss in Boston – always a tough assignment – they were bad.
But to ask for Tom Renney’s head for this outrage is ridiculous.
In his fourth full season as Rangers head coach, Renney brought back the pride of the Rangers organization. After missing the playoffs seven years and having poor choices behind the bench, the Blueshirts found a man, who knows how to handle a dressing room, the media, and the pressures that come with being on Broadway. He is organized, smart and stands behind his players.
Plus he made the playoffs for three years in a row and won two rounds. Just for that reason alone, Renney deserves the season.
To make a change now, means general manager Glen Sather will probably take a candidate from inside of the organization, one subscribes to the same defensive philosophy as Renney. That means the same lack of scoring problems will arise from time to time. Right now, the Rangers do not have a No. 1 finisher, like a Jaromir Jagr, so it’s the coach’s job to win with what he has. The Blueshirts won’t win the 5-4 games. They were built from the beginning to grind out the 2-1 matchups.
But that means they will also be playoff tested, since many of those games end up as low scoring affairs. Renney knows this and he also knows all he has to do is finish in the top eight. With his defensive system and Henrik Lundqvist in goal, the Rangers have a chance win any round. As of today, the Rangers are sitting in sixth place, 10 games over .500. It’s true they are five points out of the playoffs, but they are six points behind the Devils for first in the tight Eastern Conference.
Also remember, the Rangers are owned by Madison Square Garden, an organization which says loyal to its soldiers. Isiah Thomas got shown the door after five years of bad basketball and $13 million sexual harassment loss. Glen Sather stayed in his job despite missing the playoffs his first four seasons. Renney had four bad games.
Maybe, though, the Garden loyalty will get rewarded. Two years ago, Tom Coughlin faced the ax with the Giants, but he was given the chance to turn around the team. Coughlin won the Super Bowl the next season. That’s not to say, Renney will win the Stanley Cup this season, but he could surprise people in the playoffs.
It just doesn’t make sense to ask for Renney’s head right now. Sure he makes his mistakes, but he feels his message is getting through. In today’s NY Post, Renney told Larry Brooks he felt his job is safe.
“It’s a question that has an inevitability to it regarding anyone’s shelf life, but I do believe they’re listening to me,” said Renney in the Post. “I do not believe it’s reached the point where the message has become redundant.
“I know this group [of players]. I firmly believe they want to do well for the organization, themselves and the coaching staff, but I’m not sure that they know how, and that’s generally what the conversation just now was about.
“I don’t believe that a change is being considered and with the relationship I have with the organization, I think I would be aware of it if that were the case. I don’t sense we’re anywhere near that.”
If the Rangers miss the playoffs this season, then the Rangers may make a change. It would give Sather a chance to hire someone from outside the organization, and time to come up with their own system. But as of right now, Renney’s job seems to be safe. And rightfully so.