During his post practice press conference yesterday John Tortorella hit on two major items that Rangers fans have been concerned about during the team's inconsistent start to the season: Pressure and Toughness.
Torts on the team not living up to the pressures of being a Cup favorite...
"My message to the team is don't panic...There’s a tremendous amount of expectations put on this team, we can’t get involved in that. You also have to handle them correctly when you’re having a little bit of a jam here. I think if you don’t handle the pressure the proper way, I think you get in the way, I think it binds you. I think this is a team that needs something good to happen to it and try to gain some confidence back. You certainly have to play the right way. I don’t think we’ve played the right way consistently enough and if we concentrate on doing that, I think good things will come our way, and we’ll get some traction and gain some confidence. I have full confidence in the team they’re going to handle things the right way.”
...in my 36 years as a New York sports fan, nothing derails a season like high expectations. From the Rangers to the Giants to the Mets. Whenever one of my teams is picked to contend for a championship it's the ultimate death blow. Obviously it's all mental. Not sure if the Rangers feel as though because they're considered a serious threat to win the Cup that teams will just bow down to them so they don't need to work as hard or what. But whatever it is, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
...to be honest I'd love to see them own the expectations. Go into the games with a little swagger knowing that they're the better team and no one's going to get in the way on their road to the Cup. A little cockiness will do this team a world of good.
In the wake of the Ryan McDonagh incident, Torts responded to a question regarding the Rangers lack of response in Montreal...
"What are you asking, did they go out and go beat him up or something? Is that what you want to happen? Our team was fine. Our team was fine. You have to remember, we are trying to win a hockey game. I read a couple of comments about how you guys get carried away with that stuff. I have full faith in the toughness of our team and how we're going to handle those type of situations."
...actually Torts that's exactly what I wanted to happen. Yes, I know it was a 1-0 game and an instigator would have negated the power play, but sometimes the message sent means more than the two points. A retaliation on Pacioretty puts the rest of the league on notice. If you take liberties with Rangers players, you will be dealt with accordingly. I can guarantee you the Habs were more than aware of the Rangers lack of a response to the Lucic hit on Nash. A Pacioretty pummeling would have made it less likely that future opponents will feel comfortable taking a run at the Blueshirts.
...and I hate to say this, because I always try to take players and coaches at their word, but I call B.S. on Torts here. He has preached camaraderie and standing up for your fellow teammate since Day 1 with the Rangers, it must be burning him up inside to see this team's lack of guts.
Although, with the way Staal was talking after practice maybe they do have something up their sleeves...
Staal on Patches hit on McD, "you don't forget about that stuff" said he knows they play again this season ( one more time, right?)— Patrick Kearns (@PatrickKearns) February 25, 2013
The Rangers play the Canadiens again on March 30th.
...i don't know, to me it has to be done immediately after the infraction or it loses its meaning. Especially when the next meeting is over a month away. At the end of March, I'm going to be more worried about this team trying to make the playoffs not waging some vendetta against the Canadiens.
Jesse Spector at the Sporting News has a piece on preventing the "frontier justice" I'm suggesting which includes a quote from yours truly.
Here's the rest of his presser...
A number of injured players including Dan Girardi discussed their ailments...
You can also watch the videos at Blueshirts United.
Guys, remember that time DZ was sucker punched by Kopecky and then while the refs were taking him to the box, Rupp just grabbed him and bashed his face in while everybody watched? That was awesome. Not exactly comparable to the McDonagh hit (suckering and a boarding hit are different things), but that was a great reaction right there, lucky Rupper was on the ice at the time.
@coontzbloontz -- listen to Joe's commentary where he translates Rupp's actions into these words: "You can't take those types of liberties with our players."
he totally dodged the question. win the game AND send the message to the league that we can be pushed around without fear of retaliation? wow. that seems kinda dumb, coach.
God, I'm so friggin sick of all this talk about the Pacioretty hit on McDonagh. Would it have been good for someone to have responded then and there, absolutely. But look at the friggin video again! He got hit, fell down, and was back up again in the play within 2 seconds. The only one who realized it was boarding was Biron. NOBODY saw it happen until after the play was over. So what, you want Bickel or Mashinter to come out 4 shifts later and take a dumb penalty? You really think Pacioretty is going to oblige them in a fight? And the Lucic hit had nothing to do with it. That didn't even look bad, sure he got his elbow up a bit, it was not a brutal elbow to the head. I totally agree they need more toughness, but it's not after the play, it's during the game. Where are the big hits from Mashinter and Bickel when they're on the ice. Kreider's thrown more hits than those 2, and that's not saying much. Yes, they are easy to play against, but it's not because they don't retaliate after a player gets hit, it's because they are the ones initiating the need for retaliation by the other teams.
@gravey94 Like everything else on this blog, it;s getting way over analyzed and blown out of proportion. The Rangers just need to get their heads out of their asses, don't believe the hype, and really get back to work. Hopefully this string of losses has shown them that
@gravey94 -- don't get so sick. Yours is a good reminder though, these things happen damn fast.
@AG_Blue Ha! Maybe I'll take a Pepto! I really think if McDonagh stayed on the ice for a minute or so, Someone might have gone over to Pacioretty, most likely Pyatt but who knows. He just got up and back in the play real quick.
I agree that they just need something good to happen. They've hit a lot of posts, missed a lot of chances, they just need something to go their way. In the meantime, they have their work cutout remembering to forecheck, take the body, and play 60 minutes of hockey.
It's not to late too retaliate on Pacioretty. We play the habs again on March 30th. I want on home run on this guy... I want him to land in the parking lot.
Are the Rangers going to retaliate against Pacioretty and the Habs the same way the retaliated against the Pens and Oprik after he nearly decapitated Kreider?
@McPhee21 @AG_Blue It's just irresponsible and stupid to try to retaliate for a clean hit like that one. That's something that needs to be removed from the game - overreacting to clean hits. If you can get a nice clean hit on him during a game, sure, go ahead, but running wild will just lead to more bad penalties and more bad blood.
@McPhee21 @AG_Blue Dude, seriously shove it up your ass. Claiming I'm ignorant isn't a viable argument. All I'm saying is the Kreider hit was clean, and it would be stupid to try and run Orpik and get a stupid penalty when you can hit him clean as payback. You're just saying really obvious shit right now that had nothing to do with what I said. Normally I don't have a problem with comments on this blog, but telling me I don't understand hockey? Fuck you, man.
You are wrong on so many levels its amazing. Do you even understand why Nash is hurt? It wasnt just the Lucic hit(which wasn't all that bad)....it was a combination of hits that Nash took prior to that Boston game. Nash has been blasted, cleanly for the most part, at least 5 or 6 times for the most part. It doesn't matter if the hit was clean or not...big hits like that will take a toll on a player. You don't want your skilled players taking that kind of punishment.
You do realize that big, clean hits can end careers right? Or cause a talented player to miss significant time?? But as long as its clean, if you were the coach, you would be ok with your skilled players getting hammered?? Because you don't want to cause "bad blood" with the other team??..lol
You do not have an understanding of the physical side of hockey.
Btw...great line: "Last year, Pacioretty would have been pummeled quicker than Glen Sather hanging up the phone on Bob Gainey after getting him to agree on the Scott Gomez trade."
While the lack of response is one thing, it's not the biggest thing. The fact that their power play is a virtual guarantee to the opposing team that the Rangers will not score for the next two minutes is the bigger issue. Teams will take liberties when your power play is useless, because they don't pay on the scoreboard. There's no bigger deterrent than a good PP...which this team SHOULD have. Sullivan's PP schemes have been the pinnacle of inefficiency. When the other team isn't killing their penalty, they're busy killing it for them. Holding the puck, while the 4 other guys stand in one spot and the PKers fill the lanes is ridiculous. If you're not making the PKers move, you're not going to be successful. If you don't put pucks to the net and outman them down low, you're not going to be successful. If you don't hit the net when you have an open lane (Del Zotto), you're not going to be successful. PP should be the most basic of all hockey situations, yet we somehow can't even get that right. If any part of my job function was performed at 10% efficiency, I'd be gone. Note to Sully, count your blessings.
@MikeMone Nailed it.
@MikeMone Great point. Scoring every single time isn't realistic, but putting pressure on the PK unit and forcing the goalie to make some saves will lead to a little momentum. The way it's set up right now, it seems like the shorthanded team gets more shots on its PK than the Rangers get on the power play. It's ridiculous. They should just play Hags-Stepan-Callahan as the forwards with Staal-Stralman at the points. The forwards who play the point are liabilities for shorthanded chances. DZ and Richards need to be kept off the power play until further notice, since they can't hit the net.
@jtf1218 Richie's problem right now is that he's not making good decisions with the puck. That's his strength. He went through this last year, too. I know we'll see better from him. Guys just have to put pucks in the net. We're last in the conference in total goals for. PP is a big part of that, but they need to be better at finishing chances. Hank needs to be a bit more focused as well. We're currently 11th in GA, not bad, but must improve. We're 23rd in G/G, only 7 teams worse than us...and only 1 of those 7 resides in our conference. Not good. The good news is, we're only 2 pts out of the eighth seed with games in hand on Philly and Tampa. We're also only 6 pts back of Toronto, NJ, & Boston. We have games in hand over the first 2 (3 & 2 games respectively). Boston has only played 15 games total so far. Like Torts says, it's no time to panic, but it's time to get going and start putting in a full 60 that's for sure. Oh, just one last gripe: WHY THE HELL DO WE STILL USE GABBY IN SHOOTOUTS??? What is he 20% for his career?? Give a kid (JT, Krieder, Thomas, Mash) a chance, the goalies don't know there strengths and tendencies yet...advantage = kid.
Kevin, I couldn't agree with you more. Bickel or Machinter should have been sent out to deal with Pachiorelly the nexttime he was on the ice. Don Cherry stated on his show (coaches corner) on Saturday that the Rangers are a very easy team to play against and he was absolutely correct. What this team does not have is a real inforcer like a John Scott or Colton Orr to be played against guys who think that they can take liberties against players without retaliation.
Like you, I'm sick of seeing skilled players on the Rangers pushed around without retaliation.
@scrangersfan Neither Scott nor Orr are the answer, as proven by both being sent elsewhere. Total team toughness is what we're after. When it's guys like Dubi stepping in (he couldn't fight for anything, but he was game). We need more of that sort of grit. And is it just me? But... Where in the world is Brendan Sandiego, er Shanahan? Last season we couldn't go a day without a player fine or suspension. This year... ::crickets:: Hey Brendan: Pach leaves his feet to hit a player with his back to him, and follows through with his forearm to the back of Mac's head, smashing his face into the glass. What part about that is not, at the least, a fineable offense? ::crickets:: Brendan? ::crickets:: Brendan?
@scrangersfan In Brooks' article today, he says after the Pacioretty hit on MCD neither Bickel nor Mashinter were ever put out against the Habs forward once for the rest of the game. Terrible job by Torts.
@KevinDeLury Agreed,other teams pick up on those things and its open season on te Rangers. I hate to see them lose games and get roughed up at the same time. Got to bring up McIlrath even if he is not ready.He is more then ready with hes fists and it can only help at this time.
What is he suppose to say? He doesn't have faith? Torts with most of these guys were in the ECF last year built on their toughness. Losing Prust, Fedentenko, Dubinsky, Anisimov, and Rupp. Replacing then with Powe, Pyatt, Asham, Halpern, and Nash looks like just as much toughness added, that left. I still think their troubles are conditioning.
Torts' condoning of the inaction seems to confirm a few people's suspicions that players are thinking twice about coming to the defense of a teammate in fear of drawing a penalty, which Torts will reward with a benching. It's human nature to be selfish, and in that instant after an incident occurs, if a guy is worried about how his actions might affect his icetime, he's going to hesitate and the moment to retaliate will pass. Torts needs to let things like this go. Dumbass too many men penalties and crappy defensive zone coverage by Gaborik and Richards should result in benchings though. Kevin's right about revenge a month later, it doesn't matter. Unless you're in the first game of a home and home with a team, the reaction needs to be quick.
Torts is WAY off on this one. At this point in the season, sending the message to your teammates that you got there back and to your opponent that you will not tolerate being effed with is way more important than two points in the standings.
"Not sure if the Rangers feel as though because they're considered a serious threat to win the Cup that teams will just bow down to them so they don't need to work as hard or what" huh wha? :)talking of injuries, when's Sauer coming back to jump anyone messing with the rangers?
@ForEachNYR Unfortunately, there's a better chance of Sauer never playing another game than him coming back this year. The former, while it sucks for the team, is better for his long-term health.
@ForEachNYR Was thinking maybe some complacency has set in. I wouldn't count on Sauer this season.
@KevinDeLury yea not really counting on him. But 2 years ago when we were in the same kind of position as we are right now (not sticking up for eachother) Sauer was one of the first to respond and stand up for his teammates, turning the rangers into what they were last year. Even though he mostly got his ass kicked but he didn't care! Mess with a ranger, and you mess with all of them :)
@ForEachNYR @KevinDeLury That's the point there. Total team toughness. We don't need some knuckle-dragging enforcer running around punching people, as some have suggested. To further that though, an effective PP, will go a long way toward stopping some of the nonsense...and at far decreased risk of personal injury. Just sayin'...
@TheNYRBlog somebody needs to fill Prust's and Dubi's shoes, Prust is obvious,but Dubi stood up for his teammates more than people remember
@fargas30 @TheNYRBlog http://t.co/a6UmPNFYlV just one example, watch Dubi tell off Carcillo in the box