This summer, the New York Rangers looked deep inside their organization...and decided that head coach John Tortorella had to go for the team to take the next step.
A little over six months later, Tortorella's new team is rapidly climbing the Western Conference standings, and the Rangers are mired in a season-long slump that has them on the playoff bubble in the East.
Does it follow that New York made a huge mistake? To answer that, we turn to our experts, Dave Lozo and Adrian Dater:
Lozo starts us off with a brief summation of his position and a polite request for Dater's take:
But not only does Dater disagree, he decides to cripple Lozo's ability to respond with a preemptive strike:
Lozo decides to respond to Dater's factual argument rather than stooping to a simple trade of insults. Yeah, I thought it was a bad idea too.
Unsurprisingly, Dater takes advantage of the soft play:
Hmm. If only there were an impartial third party who could step in and give Lozo a moment to catch his breath and make it clear to him that he needs to up his game. And it would probably be most authoritative coming from somebody witty, urbane, devastatingly handsome...oh, hi!
And it seems to help.
What about the Rangers' record of late? Injuries or not injuries?
As the official scorer of this match, that seems inconclusive. What else have we got?
How about some insight as to how Vigneault's Rangers compare with Tortorella's team?
Lozo started slowly, but he rallies nicely here. How will Dater respond?
This seems like a bit of a dead end; what else have you got, Dater?
Good points for both sides, but aren't we losing track of the real question?
It's always dangerous interjecting when Dater's fired up, but fortunately I know something he doesn't know:
But Dater isn't debating with me, he's debating with Lozo and he knows it. And he has a secret weapon:
That would be Larry Brooks, the New York Post reporter who was probably Tortorella's biggest critic during his time in New York.
Can Lozo recover?
This is getting ugly. If only some innocent bystander would wander through and give Lozo a bit of cover...why, what's this?
Thanks, Lozo. Any closing thoughts, Dater?
So, who wins this debate? It's pretty clear. Lozo declared victory when that's clearly my job, plus Dater got more personal shots in, which is the real reason we do this. Also, Dater is moderating next week, so I have every incentive to give him the decision here.