One comment I have seen in excess this past weekend is that the Rangers players have tuned John Tortorella out. That his brash style has worn thin on the Blueshirts and he's lost the room.
Well, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record, who is with the team and in the locker room on an almost daily basis, disagrees...
"I still do not see or believe that Tortorella has lost this team. First, he has too many supporters in the room, most importantly Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan, who, along with Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist, are the two most important voices on the team right now. I’m not seeing a coach on the verge of losing his job (though, it could be said, every coach, everywhere, is on the verge of losing his or her job). I don’t think Tortorella is actually in trouble until he misses the playoffs, then gets off to a bad start the following season."
...i think most of what Gross is saying is true. I feel the vast majority of the team is still with Torts. They recognize that his system helped lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals and he is dedicated to making this team and franchise a winner. And if the new guys aren't buying in, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out because you're doing the team no good. Now having said that, I wouldn't be shocked if he's losing or has lost players such as Gaborik and Boyle, who he's governed with an iron fist instead of nurturing with encouraging words. Torts's tone after these last two loses has been much softer, so maybe he's realizing he needs to relax on the rhetoric he displayed after the Buffalo loss and start building up their confidence which must be waning after this tough stretch.
...as for the fans who are ready to run Torts out of town, it has been exactly 27 games since the Rangers were in the Eastern Conference Finals. 27! And you're ready to give up on the guy. I'm sorry, he is one of the biggest reasons the Rangers have so much home grown talent in the line-up and why they made it so far last season. And for that reason, he deserves the opportunity to figure it out and turn this around. Which may only happen after he looks in the mirror, realizes that this isn't last year's team and makes the proper adjustments.
One person who has absolutely had enough of the losing is Henrik Lundqvist, who apparently was none too happy after the Rangers latest loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday (via Gross)...
"As far as going around the post-game dressing room, let me describe the scene waiting to talk to Henrik Lundqvist. He was clearly and rightfully furious after the game, probably a combination at himself and at his teammates. Before talking to the media, he had his back to us, getting stuff together in his locker, tossing dirty clothes around, slamming some sneakers into his large goalie’s bag. There was a broken-in-half goalie stick on a shelf nearby."
...in all my years watching and rooting for New York sports teams, I've never seen a player who took losing as hard as Lundqvist. I can't even imagine the personal hell he is going through or how his teammates can continue to put forth these lackluster efforts knowing how dedicated and committed that man is to winning.
I'll probably get bashed for this, but if Lundqvist is pissed, he should look in the mirror. I know we spend almost the entire game in Buffalo in the box, but in all too many games this season, Hank has given up a soft goal on one of the first few shots he's faced (and in some instances more than one softie). I don't expect him to stop everything and of course the rest of the team bears responsibility, but this season's Hank isn't anywhere near last season's Hank, and he needs to play better. A lot better.
Cally and Duby: 2004
Staal and Sauer: 2005
Del Zotto and Stepan: 2008
Ah, I think the youth movement and the commitment to home-grown talent started long before Trots came to town! Everyone who is saying "calm down" is also forgetting how many contracts will be up in two years...So yeah, lets sit around and and wait another twenty games and then fire Torts so then we can have a slow start next season because the players are learning a new system.
Also, some of the talk about being a contender for the next 6-8 years is laughable considering that no one can predict how picks will develop (look at Prucha, Cherepanov, Grachev, and Sanguinetti).
@TheNYRBlog Well done Kevin...to borrow a phrase "you gotta believe". If Torts isn't worried then neither am I ... Sorta true;)
The system sucks so bad it got the Rangers 109 points last season and 2 wins from the Cup without their best sniper being able to shoot. Last I checked, you typically have to score more goals than your opponent does. And typically scoring 1 goal per game is not going to cut it. They get 30 shots per game (good for 9th in the league), Pittsburgh gets 30.2. Doesn't sound like an offense limiting system to me. Enough already!!!
As far as Gaborik is concerned, I will agree that moving him to LW failed. But you know what, he's 31 years old and he's been in the league 12 years. Are you really going to try to tell me that he's just going to sit there and pout about not playing RW instead of being a man and going to Torts to say "I don't feel comfortable here, move me back to RW." Really?? That's everyone's theory on why Torts "lost" Gabby, because that would be the only possible explanation. Sounds pretty ridiculous to me too. He's getting 18+ minutes per game and he's in a horrendous slump. It friggin' happens in EVERY sport!!
Finally, stop with the whining about Kreider. I am so hoping this kid turns into the superstar he looks like he can be and I'm sure he will get there. But it seems pretty obvious why he was sent down. The "mistakes" he was making were due to being timid, not brash mistakes. That's the HUGE difference between him and guys like Miller, Hagelin, and MDZ. They told him to watch Hags because he made mistakes, sometimes dumb ones, but it didn't affect his next shift. For Kreider, it did. He would make a mistake and then be afraid to take a chance the next time. You don't see that behavior from the other 3 I mentioned and THAT'S what Kreider needs to get through. Miller makes completely bone-headed mistakes sometimes, but he still comes back with confidence and even tries the same play again! A little time in the Whale will hopefully get Kreider to that point too and then he will take off!
The team needs to play better and Torts needs to be better, but they are FAR from needing wholesale changes with the coach or team.
@TheNYRBlog I sincerely hope you are right about Torts. But I cannot understand the lack of effort if they are giving for this coach.
Fans need to realize he did coach a team last year to within one game of the Stanley Cup final! And I have to say the games are still much more exciting than they were with Renney in charge. I hope Lundqvist gets the support he needs. He is up for resigning after next season and this is a player that wants, more than anything, to win a Cup.
Then they need to start playing like they care.......Last year's team had a very strong will to win, we will not b denied....not this year's team, up to this point....It can still change but it's got to start right now...if we want to get into the playoffs tonight's game is a must win as is tomorrow's game with the Devils...Lets hope they turn it around.....LETS GO RANGERS
@TheNYRBlog he can prove it, by acting like a coach and get a big win tonight
@TheNYRBlog So Richards supports Torts by playing they he has? I'd hate to see the way he plays after he turns on him.
@TheNYRBlog I'm not in the room so I'll defer to Grossman on that. 27 games, great line and great point. NYR fans can be a fickle bunch, eh?
%s I think every %s fan out on the ledge shud read your blog today. Might put things into perspective for them.
@TheNYRBlog you tell them, Kevin!
@TheNYRBlog Torts needs to adjust a tad better to the team he has. If not trade those that do not fit.
It's not losing faith in torts and his system. It is realizing that his grinding system does not work with the players that are in the locker room. We have so many guys that thrive in open space that its time to open up the ice and let our stars be stars. Also kreider would thrive in that system...
@kicker75 Couldn't disagree more. From day 1 all he has said is we're playing the kids and that is exactly what has happened.
@CaptCally24 He really needs to look at himself in the mirror and realize this is not last year's team.
@NYRfan46 LOL! Good point.
@hockeyangrybird Gross is in that room, so he knows more than anyone. Guy led them to ECF last year & everyone's ready to jump ship, unreal.
@DavidSchantz COuldn't agree more. This isn't last year's team.
@slapshot13j It might not be you losing faith in Torts but plenty fans have.
@kicker75 True, I was looking at it as we lost in Game 6 with one potential game left as Game 7.
@TheNYRBlog in my days as a player and coach my guys won games we should have lost . We won on desire and passion . If you played you know
@TheNYRBlog if these guys could find some heart and play with passion we might be a better team .
@KevinDeLury @slapshot13j i think he needs to implement more of his "safe is death" system into this team. not fully because i think shot blocking is important, but there's gotta be a little more gitty up in their game. i remember when torts got here he was billed as this hard coach that loved to take chances...and then he never did! they gotta unleash the hounds here pretty soon.
@KevinDeLury also Larry brooks said the rangers are trying to trade Gaborik by the deadline, and are actively looking to make a trade
Completely agree with his point about kreider being compared to Gaborik.... Both were set up to fail by torts...
@AnnoyingJoe @KevinDeLury @slapshot13j gabby can't score on a penalty shot! I know the natural wing deal has messed with him, but he's only got a year left and if we can upgrade by sending him somewhere else I think it should be looked at. We'll have to trade him at the deadline next year for probably far less value anyway!
@PenaltySh0t @slapshot13j @GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG @KevinDeLury maybe the Habs will trade suban for gabby?!? :)