As the games get more and more important down the stretch, John Tortorella will also be looking to shorten the bench. Which was never more evident than with J.T. Miller (7:08) and Chris Kreider's (3:23) ice time during the Rangers 4-2 win last night.
Tortorella addressed that concern after the game...
"Quite honestly, I'm worried about the two kids. Not that I'm upset with them. I just think the stakes are high. We play so many close games. I just have to watch how they go through games. And do I trust them? I up in the air with it. Because quite honestly I don't want to mess with their development. But the stakes are too high right now. We'll see where we go with it."
...i think the trust level with Miller is much higher than with Kreider. And after listening to this quote, I really think the best thing for everyone involved is to send Kreider back to the Whale. And for the first time all year, I won't kill Torts for it. Because you know what? He's right. There's no margin for error right now. The Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot and, let's be honest, Kreider hasn't exactly lit it up this season in the AHL or NHL. So get him some pressure minutes with the Whale as they make their own run for a playoff spot then get Asham and his much needed toughness back in the line-up and let's make a real run at this thing.
...as far as Miller goes, I think it'll be a feeling out process for Torts. If the rookie is going well he'll get his minutes, if not, he'll get Bickel's seat at the end of the bench. Nothing wrong with a 20-year old getting limited minutes, especially if the team is going well, during a dog fight for a playoff berth. Assuming the Red Wings younger players aren't going to get 20 minutes a night down the stretch either.
Here's the rest of Tortorella's post game presser...
Kevin, I don't agree with your assessment. I think Miller takes way more chances than Kreider with the puck in his defensive zone. In the past several games I can recall at least 3-4 times that he either tried to move the puck up the middle with a pass or tried to skate around an opponent and had the puck taken away. Those are the plays that are going to result in goals by the other team. Ever since Kreider came up he has been doing what they have asked him to do - play big. Take the body and keep the puck moving. He, as well as Miller, have a lot to learn, but I am more concerned about a Miller mistake resulting in an opponents goal than a Kreider one.
Now, everyone here knows I'm not a fan of Kreider. He's pretty much been my whipping boy since I joined this blog in January.
He's a gifted offensive player. Has speed...very good wrist shot.....
But that doesn't make you an every day NHL player. While has picked his physical play..some..not a lot....he still does not use his body properly...and his hockey instincts are lacking.
Kreider supporters will point to the Philly game as an example why he should stay up. I will use a play from that game as a reason why not.....
Kreider was in front of the net...he had his big body screening the goaltender. Hard to make a save when you can't see right? The shot was taken from the point....and what did Kreider do?
Did he stand still and continue to screen the goalie?
Did he continue to screen the goalie and try to deflect the shot coming in?
He did none of those. Kreider moved out of the way and to the side and allowed the goalie to make the play with his glove hand.
The NBC Sports announcer called him out on it. To paraphrase the call..."Cmon Chris Kreider..you can't make plays from the side..you have to stay in front of the shot..try for the deflection".
It's the little things with this kid. Bad routes to the puck...out of position...doesnt take the body consistently....doesn't use his big frame properly(won't stay in front of the net for a deflection on a slapshot).....
Send him down to the AHL and keep him there. He need to work many facets of his game.
I am going to be real honest right here, JT Miller has been dreadful the last couple of games. He hasn't been scoring in months, but now he is turning the puck over in our own zone and not really providing the team much grit either recently. I think it is time for him to go back to the AHL, and try and help the Whale on their playoff run and maybe get his touch back along the way, but he is not helping the team right all.
In terms of Kreider, I really saw no reason for him to get 3 minutes last night? Tell me did anyone see a glaring mistake? A bad penalty he took? Honestly since he came up he has been a different player, using the body, taking a ton of shots and trying very hard in the defensive zone, but it is not just trying hard right now that the Rangers need. He needs to fully learn the system, which he wont get a chance to do until preseason next year. So I am fine with him being sent down as well as I said last night. But, if you are looking at the two of these guys side by side, right now if we had to keep one up, I definitely take Kreider who has been playing a pretty solid game I felt since he came back up.
Never should have called Kreider back up. Haley should have stayed and added some toughness to the lineup. Hell, whatever happened to Ben Ferreiro? He came in, played a couple of decent games and then was unceremoniously ushered out the door. This lineup needs toughness and some intimidation to it. Not another speedster.
I wasn't sure they'd send Kreider down at this point, but there you go. Sounds like that's what may be coming and it doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. Josh6(?) called it last night during the game.
Miller, I don't know. His play has been down and, like Torts says, the stakes are high.
For the same reason, I doubt whether Fast can come in and compete at this level. This is quickly becoming playoff hockey, especially because the race is so tight.
You guys all flip flop every week. I hate to say it, but none of has any clue how to properly develop a prospect. Not only is every player different, but you have no idea how a guy behaves/plays in practice and what they are asked to do by the coaching staff. I haven't seen the Rangers ruin anyone in a while. Prucha was awesome, but he was a flash in the pan for his own reasons. Torts is gonna do his thing. Krieder will be fine. He hasn't earned shit in this league.
I think everyone should be worried about what the fuck to do with Hamrlik and the 6th D spot. Sure, he plugged a hole, but now it's leaking again...Gilroy?
@TheNYRBlog cutting back on Gabby & Richards ice time is doing the trick. Who da thunk it?
I agree that Krieder's would probably be best served with some steady minutes with the Whale, but where is this toughness you keep referring to with Asham? Have we seen him add ANY grit? He's completely unnoticeable in or out of the lineup.
I've said this time and time again. Everyone said the same thing when Tortorella limited Del Zotto's minutes and then ultimately sent him to the AHL. Everyone insisted Del Zotto's confidence was ruined. Instead, he has developed into a much more complete, consistent player, had 40 points last season, and has been arguably the team's best defenseman this season. He did the same thing with Lecavalier in Tampa, and that worked out as well. Being coach goes beyond the scope of what we see on an MSG broadcast; I'm 99.9% sure that Tortorella spoke at length with boys guys and explained his reasoning for what he is doing while still motivating and encouraging them. Training camp and the early months of the season is the window for young players to screw up, because at that point it's negligible on its impact on the standings long-term. Right now the Rangers can't afford that. Every single game is one that dramatically impacts where the team is at. It's unfortunate but that's what the reality is. If you want someone to yell at, yell at the owners for the shortened season. Coaches have to make due with what they were handed.
Exactly why he's a lousy coach. He does not give you an opportunity to succeed. Make a mistake and you are benched or sent down. It affects the whole team, adding more minutes and pressure to the few who must now play more, it impedes confidence and growth those who are benched, it creates frustration and resentment to those who are healty scratches who must watch their replacements sit on the bench the whole game. Who wants to play for a coach like this?
Kreider should stay up...lest we forget his game against Philthy? He was our "Asham." Cleared the crease against Montreal, too.
what nonsense from torts..."doesn't want to mess with their developement." HE ALREADY HAS! no way to build confidence by sitting them and yoyoing them back and forth to hartford. this team is not winning the stanley cup this year! so play them and let them gain valuable minutes for the future. the ghosts of rick middleton, tony amonte, and other PROSPECTS that the rangers had no patience with haunt us 50-year-fans regularly. LET THEM PLAY!
@TheNYRBlog I completely disagree with you on kreider. What mistake did he make last night? Boyle made two glaring mistakes mr -11
@McPhee21 What about Miller? Is he more advanced? Miller gives away the puck in his defensive zone way more often. Miller loves to take chances.
@Josh6 Well said.
@giammarcor This lineup needs to score goals and you won't get that from Haley. Boyle, Powe and Pyatt are supposed to be the tough guys. And they don't score at all.
@AG_Blue Unless management feels like this team can win the cup this year or make it deep into the playoffs then why further delay Miller's and Kreider's development? So, big deal, they make the playoffs and get knocked out in the first round by Pittsburgh. I would rather these guys learn to play playoff-type games. I saw Kreider step up last year in the playoffs. Yes, he gave the puck to Ovechkin and that cost us, but he isn't the only one to make mistakes. Sending him down now makes no sense. This team needs goals and he and Miller are more likely to score than the clowns they will bring up. I guess Torts is just trying to save his job. Wonderful.
@AG_Blue If we do send them both down, I really feel we need to make a move if we want to compete this year for a guy like glencross
@brian2686 I run a blog, of course I know how to develop a prospect.
It's not Asham. Torts has put the muzzle on the physical, "tough" players. Asham, Mashinster..even Haley when he was up at times.
Goal scorers score....checkers check...and muckers muck. Let the tough guys do what they do....fight, protect and intimidate.
@Herman_NYRBlog But what is this team's issue? Scoring goals. The way I see it, Torts is trying to save his job. i don't think he is doing things for the long term success of the organization. If Kreider could play with the team during the playoffs last year, and contribute, why can't he do it now? Maybe being on the NYC/Hartford back and forth has slowed down his progress.
@Herman_NYRBlog Del Zotto a complete player? woah calm down there
@Herman_NYRBlog Thank you for the sanity! All this talk of Torts "destroying" the kids and benching them for every little mistake is complete nonsense!! His methods completely ruined kids like Stepan, Hagelin, Del Zotto, McDonagh on the Rangers and Brad Richards on the Lightning didn't it? If it were a regular season, he would be letting the kids play through these mistakes, but since there's 13 games left and they do not yet have a playoff spot locked down, he wants to give the team the best chance to win. Seems like it worked OK last night.
@Rex_Havok So you want Kreider to stay up to be the Rangers enforcer?
@rangerfan1960 The handling of Kreider this season has been a joke. Which is why I say just send him to the Whale. Makes no sense having him on the roster to play three minutes on the 4th line.
@me295 If team is playing well and Torts isn't going to trust him, why keep him on the roster?
I would have no problem sending Miller down with Kreider. Lately, Miller has become a turnover machine.
Agreed. In fact, I've been somewhat waiting to see if they send one or both of them down thinking that it could be an indication that a move is coming.
@KevinDeLury in his last stint as a Ranger he has shown toughness, something this team sorely needs. And unfortunately it's not coming from guys like Asham
@TheNYRBlog I just dont understand why he does not trust him. he has done a 180 in the defensive zone.
And more importantly, Torts sees it too. :)
@McPhee21 That's what I see.
ps~ props on the profile pic
@me295 I think if a team was interested they would have no problem moving either of them.
@TheNYRBlog Agreed with that. They need PT. You think they were showcasing Boyle and Pyatt last night?
@me295 I'm with u on that. No reason he shouldn't be getting time over Pyatt and Boyle, but if he's not & they're winning send him to Whale.