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New York Rangers coach John Tortorella

New York Rangers fire coach John Tortorella

NEW YORK – The Rangers have fired coach John Tortorella, four days after New York was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Tortorella was unexpectedly dismissed Wednesday with one-year left on his contract. He led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals last year and into the second round this year before New York was eliminated in five games by the Boston Bruins.

The combative coach, who was hired to replace Tom Renney in February 2009, achieved some success with the Rangers but couldn’t match the Stanley Cup title he earned in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Last season, Tortorella led the Rangers to 51 wins – the second-most in franchise history – and 109 points before they were beaten by New Jersey in the conference finals. Tortorella got the Rangers back into the playoffs in this lockout-shortened season, and New York outlasted Washington in seven games in the first round of the playoffs before being knocked out by Boston.

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