There were serious rumblings that Henrik Lundqvist was one of the New York Rangers’ anonymous “top players” who called for the firing of John Tortorella, but the star goalie told the New York Post that wasn’t the case on Wednesday.
“I know there is some speculation regarding Torts being fired, but let’s be clear on one thing,” Lundqvist said via an e-mail. “It’s not my call who the coach should be for the New York Rangers.”
“I would never put pressure on the management on decisions like that. I’m just a player. My focus is to play the game and do the best I can on the ice. Whatever [happens] off the ice, I leave to our great staff we have working for this club.”
Of course, there’s always the possibility that he didn’t say Tortorella shouldn’t be fired, either. Perhaps he provided deafening silence on the matter instead?
(The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman cited an unnamed source that said Lundqvist’s comments “changed everything.”)
Beyond being the team’s go-to guy, the 31-year-old’s comments (or maybe lack of praise?) carry extra weight because he’s in the final year of his current deal. He insisted that the head coach in charge doesn’t affect his contract status, however.
“It has no impact for me on who the coach is when it comes to my contract,” Lundqvist said. “I love everything about the New York Rangers. I love the fans. I love the organization.”
“I hope we can work something out when it is time to do so.”
Beyond that, there are plenty of candidates who might have said something – or worse things – than Lundqvist, anyway. Perhaps the guy who made a $12 million salary yet was a healthy scratch for the Rangers’ final two playoff games did some venting?