An average shift in the NHL is usually anywhere between 45-60 seconds. So when Ryan McDonagh was out there for a three minute and four second marathon shift in overtime, I guess we can all understand why his clearing attempt was off the mark leading to a delay of game penalty that eventually cost the Rangers the game.
But now the question is, why the heck was he out there so long? Katie Carrera at the Washington Post breaks it down...
"McDonagh’s never-ending shift started with 4:05 gone in overtime and the Capitals’ top line pressing for a goal. The Capitals’ second line of Martin Erat, Mike Ribeiro and Brouwer extended the time in the offensive zone, forcing New York to ice the puck. A fresh third unit of Perreault, Chimera and Fehr took over, churning through another shift in the Rangers’ end until Lundqvist froze the puck.
When Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom and Johansson emerged from the bench for the faceoff, McDonagh, whom Rangers Coach John Tortorella matches against the opponent’s top line, remained on the ice. Washington’s stars executed another dominant shift with three shots on goal until McDonagh shot the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt."
John Tortorella did take a timeout after the Rangers iced the puck.
...listen, I get that there was a timeout thrown in there and Torts wants either or both McD or Girardi on the ice against Ovechkin. But sometimes when you're on the road you can't get the match-up you want and you have to trust the other players on your team to get the job done. You don't leave a guy on the ice for a three plus minute shift. You'd think Torts would have learned from burning his key players out in last year's playoffs. I guess not.
So how did McDonagh take his late game gaffe? Not very well as John Giannone reported on the MSG post game that he's never seen a player so upset or emotionally involved after a game and that McDonagh had to go to the trainers room to gain his composure before speaking to the media.
#NYR Emotions high in Rangers room after loss. Ryan McDonagh clearly very upset. Fighting back tears during interviews.— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) May 4, 2013
Here's said interview...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
...there's no crying in hockey. Sorry I had to.
...in all seriousness, after watching this, if McDonagh's teamates don't do everything they can to try and pick him up tomorrow night they deserve to be swept in this series. Just when I thought my opinion of McDonagh couldn't get any higher, to see how distraught he was after this game and how much winning means to the Rangers defenseman just elevated him to another level.
I'm a Caps fan, but I really, really felt for McDonagh after that penalty..between him, Callahan, and Girardi, those three bring the blood and guts every night, and manage to play at a level beyond their natural talent. And I fully agree with many of those here - this one is on the coach, not the player. Fatigue makes cowards of us all, and while McDonagh is no coward, his fatigue level at the end of that shift was more than just a contributing factor to that error. Whatever he was doing on the ice for over a three minute shift in OVERTIME is beyond me.
Im sorry but to me this is all on Torts. This is how he has coached this team from the start whether its forwards or D. Less than half the players on the team get a regular shift and it shows.
Players like Girardi, McD, Staal, Cally, etc are the only guys allowed on the ice in the majority of game situations and end up burning out with too long shifts against the best players in the league. Meanwhile, those outside the "trusted" group are constantly too afraid to make a single mistake because they fear being benched so they end up being too conservative when they do get on the ice.
The end result is a team that occasionally punches WAY above its weight (see last season), but more often than not ends up being less effective than they should.
I dont really want to join in on the "Fire Torts" bandwagon but to be honest this is a problem Ive had with him for a long time. The guy preaches accountability but it only seems to extend as far as the players.
He has not trusted at least 1/3 of every roster in the last 4 seasons. At some point you have to question if he is capable of coaching in the salary cap era, where every team has to have lower calibre players on their roster in order to fit under the cap. Every season a new roster comes around but its the same situation-top players burnt out, lower players scared. If he cant learn to trust his players then I dont see how this team can win the big prize.
Im definitely no hockey genius, and I know for a fact I wouldnt know the first thing about coaching an NHL team, but Ive been watching hockey at various levels for more than 20 years and Ive never seen a team that doesnt use its players to the best of their abilities be successful.
Sorry for the essay but these last 2 games have really got to me.
I'm not gonna give the dude shit for fighting back tears, it shows he actually cares. I appreciate that greatly.
Mcdonagh and Stepan should be assistants. They should have 3 A's and one C. I kno most teams dont but that is the way it should be
Torts should get fired. It's not just that he made a bad, unorthodox coaching decision that lost them the game. It's that he doesn't show trust in his players. What kind of message does it send to the other 4 D-men when he simply won't let them play against Ovie? What kind of confidence does that instill?. He pulls this in all facets of his coaching and low and behold, the Rangers as a team lack confidence and swagger. It's obvious what's going on here. Will it take a sweep for Sather to see it?
Torts says he'd put McD back on for long OT shift "10 times out of 10."
I do not blame McDonagh at all. He is one of the of few bright spot during the season. coaches must go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. Trade Richards for Gaborik..
The never ending story with John Tortorella. He NEVER learns from his mistakes, and he flat out refuses to do something different. Seeing McD like that was painful to watch, you can tell they went to win, but they just can't pull it off...
The best thing that could come out of an early exit is Torts being canned. Screw giving him a chance when he has a full training camp, it'll just be more of the same BS next season too (line changes, benching certain players, etc). Its over, we need a fresh start. Take a look at the caps, Oates has instilled a new life in that team which was lifeless under Hunter and during most of Boudreau's tenure.
So you are sticking with him being tired so he flipped it over the glass? Got it. At least admit that if he flips it off the glass and goes for a change no one would blink an eye about his shift time. And more Stu Bickel in playoffs last year = Stanley Cup finals? Just want to make sure I am understanding.
What was the reason for the two Caps players flipping it over the glass? Accidents happen, McD got two under the puck. I love how him doing that is torts fault. Were there any other shifts that were too long in the game?I feel like you are just reaching for some excuse as to why the penalty happened. Also a 3:04 shift with a timeout in between is not a 3:04 shift. And I'm pretty sure you are blaming torts for burning out his players in the playoffs last year. He brought the team to the conference finals. Would love to hear you talk about torts overworking his players after a game 7 win or talk about shift times after any win. Its the playoffs, leave it all on the ice. Just too much reaching for answers and looking for someone to blame in this article. If Hank had another bad game this article would be an analysis of torts playing him too many games straight leading into the playoffs.
So what happens if Torts changes out McDonagh and you now have Stralman and DelZotto or Eminger out there and Ovechkin promptly blows past one of them to score the winning goal? I guarantee people would be crucifying Torts for not having a top pair against him. He flipped a puck over the boards because he got under it, not because he was exhausted. It happens.
I don't blame McDonagh or any of the players...We have been blaming the players for 20 years...I don't love Tortarella, but don't blame him either....the chemestry of the players is ALWAYS missing some key components...ie PP point man/good faceoff man/big strong d-man. SATHER !!!!!
It's absolutely ridiculous to overwork a guy like that. In that situation you bite the bullet and put someone else out against their top line. To sum it up, wearing McDonagh down before Ovechkin came off the bench is a coaching error. Put someone else out there and hope for the best, it really is that simple.
All that said he still flipped the puck over the glass, and with how the momentum of the game was going- I believe many people the feeling the game wasn't going to last another 2 minutes.
- By the way I'm loving this new comment format.
i think there were two icings and they were caught in their own zone and couldnt get a line change. at least thats how i remember it.
We can sit back the morning after and finger point and say, "We shoulda done this, we shoulda done that", but what it really comes down to is this: this team cannot score. One goal in two games? Pathetic.
McD has nothing to be ashamed of. If they could actually score on the PP, they wouldn't have been in that position. It was thanks to McD that they were even able to keep the game tied at that point.
@craig_atherton Completely agree with your thoughts here. It was mentioned earlier on this blog how the support players aren't scoring. When they're getting less than 10 minutes of ice time a game, it's going to be hard for them to do that.
It's a self-fulfilling prophecy by Torts: Torts doesn't think they can play so he limits their ice time, they know Torts doesn't trust them so they don't want to make a mistake, they play tight trying not to make any mistakes, they under perform, Torts is confirmed in his belief that they cannot play.
See I would love to see players like Asham, Pyatt, and Powe lining up against Ovi. Just grind that line down, put the body on the Cap's better players, and if you can get a goal with them, it's going to rally the whole team. Asham might be a grinder, but he has also shown here and there that he has a wicked shot.
And of course, I would much rather have a fresh Rick Nash in the third period than an exhausted one because Torts rotated his first two lines the whole game.
@tygalpin Yea definitely more than Richards, who probably went out for a great dinner after because he doesnt give a crap... I still think the problems from this team stem from him.... He should not be an assistant. Choose between Mcdonagh and Stepan and move on from there. The playoffs are just showing in the last week... richards picked on weak competition.... BUYOUT
Still trying to understand how a coaching decision lost the game? I will spell out what I think your argument and please tell me if I'm right or wrong. You are saying that torts left in McD too long and because he was so tired he accidentally flipped the puck over the glass and a less tired player wouldn't have done that so it's torts fault? I'd like to point out that two capitals players did it earlier in the game and I highly doubt it was related to them being so tired that they did it.
@NH_NYR_88 Should make the rest of the defensemen feel good about themselves.
@ATCRyan I like him, but I'm still in favor of Tortorella being replaced as long as there is a worthy replacement, otherwise he stays.
@TheRealNaks I don't think he flipped it over the boards on purpose, but when you're tired you get careless. And yes, I think Bickel getting more shifts (he was a +2 last season) would have helped guys like McD and Girardi to be fresher for the Devils series.
@TheRealNaks Take the blinders off! Tortorella is constantly out coached, he has no game plan except go straight ahead and he plays half his bench for a large part of games. Now comes the part where you tell us about the Cup he won about 100 years ago! The PP has gotten progressively worse since he has been here and his constant quick line changes do not afford any chemistry to develop. He needs to go and he can take Richards with him.
@TheRealNaks He brought the #1 team in the Eastern Conference to the Conference Finals and lost to the #6 seed because his players were burned out after he refused to roll all four lines and all six defensemen. That's not reaching for excuses, it's a fact.
And I have defended Torts on this blog time and again, going as far as saying he shouldn't be fired even if they didn't make the playoffs this year.
McD was on the ice for a 3:04 shift. I can guarantee you no other Rangers player came even close to a two minute shift during the game.
Is this play the only reason they lost? Of course not, but it ultimately led to the winning goal and is something I felt was appropriate to analyze.
@gravey94 I highly doubt that one shift Ovechkin would have blown past Stral, MDZ or whoever else. a player that's been out for 2+ minutes has to be slow and exhausted, and essentially used up. Torts needs to learn to trust his other men, especially the great game Stralman played yesterday.
@gravey94 Again it comes dow to Tortorella! Becasue for the last 4 years he has no trust in certain players and does not attempt to gain the trust of half his bench he puts the team in jeopardy becasue players burn out. He relies on 2 1/2 lines and 3 D-men. You can't win that way and they won't. He needs to be fired after the Rangers lose in 5!
@gravey94 It shouldn't have come to that. If Tortorella wants McDonagh out there for the top line so bad then he shouldn't have kept him out there so long. I'm not saying any of that excuses a delay of game penalty, however...
@gravey94 Not sure how anyone could criticize Torts for taking a player out who just played a 2:50 shift. They're on the road, you can't always get the match-up you want.
@NH_NYR_88 Yeah, the new comment platform is great.
@GeorgeGrigorian Torts actually changed out Girardi for Stralman right before the McD penalty. McD should have been taken out as well.
Even if he cant play Asham and co against the top line, at least let them have some time grinding out shifts against lines 2-4. If they can just hold those lines down and eat up some minutes then they're doing the job that the team needs. Our special teams are pretty much made up of the top 2 lines so they need to be able to have more time off 5 on 5. Its no wonder that guys like McD, Cally and Stepan cant get it done on the PP since they're playing major minutes in every other situation through the game.
Im sick of watching half a team limp through games totally exhausted while role players and prospects watch from the bench. If Torts isnt going to play them anyway we might as well have blow-up dolls or chimpanzees warming the pine and spend the extra cap space on 2 lines of superstars, at least that way we get what we pay for.
@TheRealNaks This is not what is being said. What is being said is that this particular incident is exemplary of the way Tortorella has handled the team all season. He wears out his five favorite horses while underplaying and undermining the rest of the team. You can't win a Stanley Cup by playing two lines. It takes a whole team.
@TheRealNaks Well i f your point is that may be over the top to blame an entire game on one bad play and the coaching decision that may or may not have affected it, that's fair. But my point was a bigger one - perhaps better said by Craig Atherton in another comment - Torts only trusts half his roster, and that rears its ugly head in many ways. Leaving a gassed McD on ice in an OT is one of many examples of what happens when a coach shows no confidence in half his bench. It's not a way to win.
You guys are talking like there's some sort of silver bullet alternative to over working these top players. Like I said before was your solution to last years failure to play guys like Bickel more? I don't have blinders on, I'm not opposed to getting a new coach. But the torts played McD too long to the point where he shot the puck over the glass argument is not valid. And last years run might have ended because they ran out of gas, I just don't think there is a simple answer to that problem like roll all the lines.
Love this blog btw just wanted to share my opinion. Clearly steaming over yesterday.
I'm with you all the way Kevin. This kid doesn't know what he is talking about. Wait until he is a fan for 50 yeas like me and see futility after futility every year.One cup in 72 years for a team with unlimited resources is not acceptable.
@TheRealNaks No worries. Keep the comments coming. I love good debate. Especially when I'm fuming after a tough loss like yesterday. lol
I think unlike last year, the defense is much deeper and Torts follied by not having faith that a guy like Moore couldn't get the job done on Ovechkin in overtime.
This kid does know what he's talking about these are all just opinions anyway no one is right or wrong. Just because you have been around for a while and experienced all this grief doesn't mean you know more. Also you should feel lucky most people go their whole lives without seeing their team win a cup.
Thinking you have all the answers (fire him trade that) is ignorant. Ill be the first to admit I don't know what the fix is.