Rangers fire Bryan Trottier

Jan. 29, 2003 at 8:47 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

NEW YORK, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The New York Rangers fired first-year coach Bryan Trottier Wednesday after three dismal losses dropped the team with the NHL's highest payroll to 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

General Manager Glen Sather made the announcement, citing a "lack of accountability and discipline."

No immediate successor was named. Both of Trottier's assistants, Jim Schoenfeld and Terry O'Reilly, have NHL coaching experience.

The Rangers are last in the Atlantic Division with a 21-26-6-1 record. They won five of six games earlier this month to climb within two games of .500 but sandwiched a pair of losses to lowly Atlanta around Sunday's 7-2 pasting at the hands of Washington.

"I hope this turns this team around and gets us into the playoffs and gets some success from a lot of people who have been making mistakes," Sather said. "All of the players have to be held accountable.

"The old cliche is you can't fire 20 players. It's not an escape way to get out of it, but it's a way to try and help everyone redeem themselves."

Trottier, 46, came to New York after four seasons as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche. But he never won over Rangers' fans, who remember him as a member of four Stanley Cup championship teams with the rival New York Islanders in the 1980s.

Trottier also won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins and another as an Avalanche assistant coach.

While Trottier had no previous head coaching experience before Sather hired him last June, the Rangers also have played long stretches without several key regulars.

Center Bobby Holik, who signed a five-year, $45 million contract in the offseason, missed 18 games with a hip injury. Superstar Pavel Bure has missed 24 games and remains sidelined following left knee surgery. Two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch has been out since early December with a bruised ankle. And goaltender Mike Richter suffered a season-ending concussion on Nov. 5.

But with the Rangers on their way to missing the playoffs for an unprecedented sixth straight season, Trottier took the fall.

"I think it's easy to have 20-20 (vision) in this situation. At the time I hired Bryan Trottier, I thought he was capable of doing the job," Sather said. "They way he handled himself, I thought he'd be a great match for us. It just didn't work out for us. This might not be the right group for him."

Trottier became the seventh NHL coach fired this season, following San Jose's Darryl Sutter, Calgary's Greg Gilbert, Colorado's Bob Hartley, Atlanta's Curt Fraser, Columbus' Dave King and Montreal's Michel Therrien.

Trottier's successor will become the Rangers' fifth coach in six seasons and third since Sather became general manager in June 2000.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories