Yesterday, John Tortorella once again jumbled the Rangers line-up as he demoted Marian Gaborik to the fourth line. But before he did so, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record reports that the two had a 12-minute conversation on the ice before practice...
"It did not appear heated but it did appear Tortorella was explaining his thinking to Gaborik as well as appearing to try to coax more out of Gaborik’s game. Again, since neither would disclose what was said, this is supposition. But Tortorella was animated at times, raising his arms and motioning. Only toward the latter half of the discussion did it seem to become that with Gaborik appearing to give his opinion."
Gross had this quote from Gaborik on Tortorella saying he needs to be more engaged and test opponents...
“Yeah, I have to make a difference. Just overall bring my game to another level. Just try to have something happen right away off the get go. Just be more engaged and get something going right away, if it’s a good play or a chance. I just have to get my legs going right away and things can happen.”
While Tortorella wouldn't discuss his conversation with Gaborik, he did explain why he demoted the sniper...
“Yeah, there’s a lot of changes within our lines. It’s trying to find some balance within some other lines too. I don’t know what they’re going to be tomorrow. Zucc’s playing tomorrow but I don’t know what the lines are going to be.”
...Torts has taken a lot of heat in the blog's comment section lately, but he deserves a ton of credit for being a man and discussing the demotion with Gaborik. While I'm sure he's still disappointed, it must have been easier to swallow for Gaborik after the conversation. And as we all know, if Gaborik has one good shift Torts will immediately re-shuffle the entire line-up anyway.
...and this is the perfect example as to why I disagree with some Rangers fans' assessment that the team has tuned Torts out. The guy cares about the success of the Rangers franchise and its players. There is no way the team doesn't recognize or appreciate that. It has been exactly 33 games since the Eastern Conference Finals. And while the act of a coach like Torts gets tired real quick when things aren't going according to plan, I refuse to believe the players have given up on him this quickly. Just remember, he's the one who changed the culture around here. There are little to no kids in the line-up without him and it was his system that got the Rangers to within two wins of the Stanley Cup Finals as well as Gaborik two 40+ goal seasons. So, to the Torts haters, be prepared for him to be back behind the bench next year no matter how this season ends. He deserves the chance to right this ship under normal circumstances.
It's simple... people need to compartmentalize this teams play. It's called scapegoating... the goat changes all the time, richards, boyle, gaborik, torts. Like I said before, everybody is to blame in a team sport. Things aren't black and white, even thou some people believe that to be true.
torts said last season that we didnt have the talent on the team to play any other way than defensively. he said it many times. guess what? we sure as shit have the talent now and it seems that not only has the coach not changed the system to fit this year's roster, he's pulling players out of their natural positions. square peg, round hole.
@TheNYRBlog who's taking torts aside
At this point I think the majority of the fanbase has started a "fire Torts" initiative. Some speculation has some merit, some speculation is straight moronic. Realistically, though, like him or not, he will have his job unless the Rangers get off to another bad start next season. He could always get fired before that, but I think that's the most likely scenario
Torts is a good coach. His record proves that. End of story. And this year is not without some adapting. It's not the exact same system as last year, even if it's the same defense-first approach. Torts recognizes, obviously, that he has a different group of guys. This team has struggled from day one and it has snowballed. We don't want to keep pointing toward the shortened season, but that is the reality -- no training camp and a very different roster from last year. Hank had a bad start, but got it together. Richards and Gaborik cannot say the same. Now we're in the home stretch with all of these problems. So many people have come up short there's no point in casting blame. On the other hand, a few guys have really stepped up -- Stepan (there's no "H" in his name, people), Hagelin, and Del Zotto of late. There's still hope more guys will man up and put forth a better effort here. The conversation with Gaborik is just further evidence that Torts is doing his job. I am every bit as frustrated as the next guy, but there are no simple solutions. Give this team a proper training camp and we are a force to be reckoned with next year.
I don't think you can say that Torts isn't a good coach. Just from an empirical standpoint; he's won a cup, 51 wins last year, 24 road wins (which is pretty amazing), he's changed the culture here. Against what? 33 games as Kevin pointed out? And they're still 2 games over .500! You want proof that Torts has changed the culture here? We're bitching that this team is over. 500 and in the hunt to make the playoffs! In the Renny years that would bring a certain level of ecstasy to fans. He's had way to much success both pre- rangers and with the Rangers to write him off now. In fact it's just silly.
I just don't know if I'm willing to write this season off as a mulligan. Hank is in his prime NOW and barring injury, the road to the cup finals is going to go through Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future.
I think the best chance we have at going on a run, making the playoffs and challenging for the cup this year is to fire Torts. The "youth movement" of this team isn't going to leave if Torts gets fired. It's not like Sather is going to trade Step and McD because Torts isn't there telling him not to.
Lets take a breathe and call it the way it is......everyone says these things about Torts but here is the honesty.....he switches a 40 goal a year scorer to the opposite wing and expect what? Torts sets him up to fail.....and when he does he blames the player and not himself....Any Coach can not make a player what he is not..... you cant expect physical play and dress no physical players.... when u dress Pyatt every night and sit the players u have i question the " talent eye" cause its a disgrace...plenty of players have under preformed case and point was RUPP - Really Useless Physical Player dude sucked beyond words....another Stephan... and has never been in the dog house or in the suite watching the game..... but played every game.....cause Torts liked him.... thats BS.he s playing better and thats good but les be honest Torts has different standards for everyone even himself....Not once in the media has he taken Blame but sure throws his players under the bus every chance he gets...he is to arrogant and cocky.....and hasnt won a damn thing in NY if and key word is if.....he was the God of a coach then why did the players rebel in Tampa? He is doing the same thing here... u push ur best players u dont belittle them,,,,u show loyalty and honor and they will go through walls for u..... we have some good players but we also have the same type of players many who one word describes them best...... inconsistant....we need direction last yr we were physical and that opened up the ice....this year there is no enforce dressed regularly or even on the bench Asham is a good player physical has good hands as we seen the other night put him on a line with Gabby so he feels protected on the ice.... U cant have Nash defending himself on a vicious slash and Torts did nothing....since he isnt the one on the ice....he shows nothing and offers nothing....We had Boogard Gabby was a completely diffrent player we had Prust Gabby scored goal and was always picked on and blamed constantly for why the Rangers lose and its not only his fault...... It starts with the Coach!!!!!!!
I don't question Torts ability to coach up players or his ability to build an organization. This organization is much better talent-wise top to bottom than it was before Torts got here. He's added structure from the AHL up to the NHL. For that I applaud him and give him kudos. BUT ... I was just looking at Team scoring stats this years. Rangers dead last! If you compare the Rangers roster to some of the other teams' rosters, you would probably ask yourself "How the hell has that team scored more goals than us?????" I firmly believe it's the system the Rangers play that holds them back offensively. This system worked for last year's roster but it's not working for this year's roster. He has to adapt bit more to this year's roster. I don't put all blame on the coaching b/c if Torts felt he could trust this team defensively, I really believe he would allow them to open it up a bit more offensively. He's done it before. Look at tape of the Tampa team he coached to the Cup. Strong defensively but very creative and hard on the puck offensively. Just my opinion.
From my point of view, Torts is a total doucebag, but I've said many times I don't think he or his system is to blame for the way the team is playing. The problem is the play of Brad Richards and Marion Gaborik. If I were to knock Torts for anything, it would be not benching Gaborik sooner.
@TheNYRBlog lol u never had a boss u didn't like eh? Let me tell ya the worst thing in the world is when boss u can't stand pulls u aside.
I understand everything you said, but this still is BS. First, Torts shouldn't have to constantly coddle and baby Gaborik. Gaborik knows what he has to do. Now, whether there is an injury slowing him up or something, who knows? Still, he is bringing little or nothing to each game. And Torts, with all of the talent he has, should have made adjustments to his system to get more goal scoring chances and ultimately more goals. The PP sucks and he can't get that figured out after how many seasons? I look at the organization Pittsburgh has and the moves they are making at the trade deadline. They could very well be the next Cup winner. Meanwhile, we're still tap dancing around tons of problems with the Rangers, who may limp into the playoffs at best. Yes, we have a right to be mad as fans. This season has been a disgrace and someone needs to be held accountable.
@TheNYRBlog kev you have to be kidding , gaby on the 4 line with a team that can't score. please get rid of the coach.
It seems this years team needs to learn the distaste of loosing , they do have enough talent to win but they don't want it bad enough, yet
@TheNYRBlog dude , did you read the article? you think that's a positive? Torts' is punishing Gaborik on the 4 line and Gaborik let him know
@TheNYRBlog Kevin 1st of all that's an old trick after beating someone down to use reverse psychology actions speak louder then words
I think it would be cool if Slats came down to the room and told everyone, inlcuding the coach "no one is getting traded this season. we think we can win with the guys we have. we have faith in you. go win."
then if they don't make the playoffs, can torts over the summer.
@ivanricov well, you sure cant change the whole team if the team is to blame, right? what does upper mgmt usually do in this situation when its the whole team that is to blame?
i dont think everyone is to blame. tell that to step, hags and cally that work their asses off and play like they care.
@IcyCup We dont have much more talent than last year man. We added nash and subtracted good players. We added ONE very talented player. Not enough to change a system, and defense wins in the playoffs anyway. Ask Washington and Pittsburg.
most of the fire Torts speculation is moronic, as evidenced in the comments section on this blog
@AnnoyingJoe you can come up with a shittier point of reference to anything in life i.e. tom renney days as a comparison. that doesnt mean that we should just settle for how things are.
@tomcat1075 I completely disagree with the move but I appreciate the fact that Torts cares enough to discuss it with Gabby. It won't last.
@MrRanger94 Yes I think it's a positive that Torts communicates the reason for a demotion like that to one of his players.
@IcyCup Im not fundamentally disagreeing with you, im just using more patience and perspective than you right now. Thats all.
@IcyCup Ok, that's three guys, who Im sure have all made mistakes. Hank played poorly some games. Stepan started slowly. It's all relative. And while I agree with changing things like a coach when you can't change the whole team, I believe this isn't the case yet, we are in the playoffs, it's not like we are in last place. You can't fire a coach because of a lockout shortened season 33 games removed from a great playoff run. You need more time to asses. If they miss the playoffs, and start off poorly next year, then im sure everyone will be agreeing with you, as will I.
@AG_Blue Indeed... it's a bit naive to put none, or all, of the blame on Tortorella. The entire team is not performing to expectations, and I'm a firm believer that Torts is not the cause of it. Rather, older guys (ahem, Richards, Gab) couldn't get going quickly and lost their momentum, snowballing into a complete failure to skate competitively. Also, offseason roster shake-ups changed the landscape of the line-up and the chemistry of the team. These are not the kind of problems that can be coached out of a team with a short camp and 48 games. Tortorella will likely need another 48 games next season to see if he can turn it around... if not, we need a replacement
@TheNYRBlog yeah bro he did the same to Redden just b4 banishment, this was no pat on the back - this was a heated disagreement...
@IcyCup Cally, Girardi, Hank are the only UFA that need to be signed that year. We will have players up from the Whale to fill in the other roles. I think you are overreacting. Gabi will not be back or will be getting a lot less if he is even here. Im not worried.
@ivanricov there isnt enough time left. once again, people fail to notice that after next season, this team will have some major major roster changes due to the cap and so many people becoming UFAs and RFAs. there isnt enough time left. we're talking 100 reuglar season games.
see? 3 forwards, 1 d-man and no goalies.
@tygalpin @AG_Blue @coontzbloontz i'm not speculating that Torts will actually lose his job. I don't think he's going anywhere unless we miss the playoffs this year AND have a lousy start to next year.
I just wouldn't mind it if he DID get fired. Now.
I don't even think that it's all his fault, or even mostly his fault. The same way that you pull your goalie down if you're down 3-0 after the first 10 minutes. The whole team isn't playing well, so you shake things up.
Also, I think they guys a jerk and and sick of looking at his face.
@coontzbloontz how much time do you think the rangers have? dont you know the clock is ticking on the team becoming UFAs or RFAs and going in to a cap hell? HELLO. 48 games this season, then 48 more next season? how much rope does he get? this is insane.
@IcyCup I understand your frustration Icy... one could argue as AnnoyingJoe has that torts has raised our expectations, and one could argue your point that once he raised them, we are now not living up to them. Blame and praise all wrapped up in one man? Interesting.
@ivanricov so much potential on this team. we could be terrorizing teams. that is what is so frustrating to me. what's holding them back then? i think it could be the system. the coach. sheesh. add a PP coach. that's not gonna happen though. and why? the coach.
@ivanricov @IcyCup hey thanks! Actually I think it's a great comparison. Their record and position right more is exactly where they always we with Renney. Then we were happy. Now, we're bitching. Why? Because expectations have raised, and a lot of that has to do with torts.
@IcyCup you have the right to feel that we should fire him now, and I respect your opinion but I don't agree with you. Time will tell what smarter hockey minds will decide, and all we can do is watch the games and engage in debate and enjoy this sport. Im rooting for torts and this team and will not be bitching (at least not yet)... LETS GO RANGERS!
@IcyCup yet you are the one bitching and not me...
@ivanricov what's your basis of comparison for perspective? yourself? you think that there is all the time in the world and that this coach deserves more rope. there's no one person to blame and no one way to fix things. sounds to me like a perfect recipe for endless bitching. enjoy that.