Any coach or manager with few exceptions, say, perhaps Connie Mack when he owned and managed the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 seasons, tends to be an extended slump or bad season away from the risk of sudden unemployment. John Tortorella is not at that brink yet, regardless of the increasing calls for the Rangers coach's ouster on numerous Internet message boards. The Rangers are struggling after reaching the Eastern Conference final last season. But Tortorella, behind the Rangers' bench since Feb. 23, 2009, has not had his voice tuned out in the dressing room and that's a crucial indicator of a coach's real status. Tortorella still has enough influential supporters in the room, with captain Ryan Callahan and veteran center Brad Richards being prominent. That's never set in stone, though, as players tend to support their teammates. So Tortorella's relationship with Marian Gaborik bears watching. Gaborik, who surpassed 40 goals twice in his first three seasons with the Rangers, has been inconsistent and, while he has said the right things, clearly was not thrilled with Tortorella's long experiment of switching him from right to left wing. Gaborik does have a limited no-trade clause in his five-year $37.5 million contract, which expires after next season, and the Rangers do seem to be gauging possible interest in him. Another veteran very popular among his teammates but struggling this season is center Brian Boyle.
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