It was, by any standard you care to use, one of the most bizarre hirings of an NHL coach.
As soon as the New York Rangers fired Tom Renney on Monday, they had a deal in place for ex-Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella to take over. But it took some seven hours and a flurry of complex and confusing behind-the-scenes activity before Ranger boss Glen Sather could confirm Tortorella was free and clear to join the Blueshirts.
Tortorella was still being paid by the Lightning and it initially appeared that perhaps the proper protocol had not been followed by the Rangers in hiring him. But it turned out that Tortorella was given written permission in June by the Lightning to seek employment elsewhere and that permission was never revoked.
But in a surprising twist, sources say there may have been other potentially "inappropriate" contact between the Ranger organization and members of the Lightning. The league is investigating and while there has been much discussion between all involved parties, it's not out of the question that the Lightning will file formal tampering charges against the Rangers.
But whatever it is, it isn't enough to prevent Tortorella from taking over as the Rangers' new head coach.