NY Sports Day

Don’t Let Tom Twist in the Wind

It’s never easy firing a coach. And now it may be time for the Rangers to change leadership behind the bench. After last night’s loss in St. Louis, things may have gotten to the point where Tom Renney’s time has come and gone.

No matter what the coach’s future will be, the Rangers need to do the right thing. Instead of letting “Renney Watch” hang over the team for a weeks, they need to make a decision and live with it. Either let Renney go and replace him with another coach – most likely being assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld – or publically announce that Renney is the Rangers coach for the rest of the season and live with the decision.

Any other move will lead to continued speculation, negative chants from the Garden rafters, and ultimately more losses, since the players will become more tuned out to their coach.

Last summer we saw this with the Mets decision on Willie Randolph. Instead of giving their manager the thumbs up or ultimate dismissal, the team waivered, until being put in a position where firing him made him a sympathetic figure. Randolph was let go on the west coast after managing the Mets to a win. After being fired after the game, the press release came out at 3:17 a.m. Eastern Time. All that did was manage to infuriate the media, because it was missed in the morning papers, while keeping many sports writers up the night trying to get the story on the websites.

If the Mets made a quick decision on Randolph, it could be argued the team would have made the playoffs in 2008. Instead of 30 days of questions about their manager, the players would have moved on, and you would think the team would have one a few more games.

This is why the Rangers need to make a quick decision. As “Renney Watch” intensifies and more and more non -hockey reporters come to the Garden, the players will get questions about the status of their coach, which will probably translate to more losses on the ice, as the inquisitions will weigh upon them. The only way of stopping this vicious cycle will be when general manager Glen Sather or Garden chairman James Dolan makes a public announcement about the status of Renney.

Besides, Renney deserves better than twisting in the wind. Starting right before the lockout, the coach has brought dignity and grace back to the franchise. He has been the face of the organization, while Sather sat back on his high perch, shunning the public spotlight. The coach of the Rangers needs to be treated the same way he treated everyone he encountered as coach of the Blueshirts.

That’s why the Garden needs to do something. They need to say Renney is their man or put someone in whom they will stand behind. They can’t let Renney stand out there naked to take abuse from the New York crowd. It would be wrong, could torpedo the Rangers season, and ultimately makes Dolan and Sather look like fools.


  1. mhurley

    February 17, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Well said Joe.

    Many in the hockey world see the situation as Sather’s fault. Pierre LeBrun at ESPN wrote as much last week and both Keith Jones and Brian Engblom said as much last night. Sather should be the one fired and Renney moved into his place. But we knew that won’t happen because Dolan has his head up his a$$ and is clueless about how to own a hockey club.

    If it were up to some Ranger fans like myself, they would like to see Sather’s bad signings go as well. But unfortunately they have limited or no movement contracts. I have heard through sources that the “leaders” on the team have done a end run around Renney and have gone to Sather and requested Renney be replaced.

    If Sather does man up and support Renney, I would like to see those heartless and gutless players squirm for the rest of the season. I hope they beg to bought out or traded. If bringing back Avery makes these a$$holes uncomfortable, they deserve it.

    Tom’s only problem is that he has been too nice (and can’t solve the powerplay).

  2. Johnny Angel

    February 18, 2009 at 10:13 am

    MHurley – nice post, and I agree with what you’re saying, but isn’t it Tom Renny’s job TO solve the power play? I mean, that is what coaches do, right?

    Tom Renny is a good coach and he deserves a better fate than the one that he is going to wind up with. He’s gotta figure out a way to get the puck in the net on the power play. It’s killing them right now. How does Montreal wind up with Matthew Schneider? He would have been great back at the Garden and perhaps just what the Rangers need to wake up the power play. Maybe Glen was too busy playing golf to be on the phone trying to work out a deal.

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