After last night's 4-3 overtime win, John Tortorella defended Brad Richards and his decision to bench the Rangers alternate captain...
...Tortorella is 100% correct with his assessment that Richards does himself and the Rangers team no good playing on the fourth line. And with how poorly he's played, he doesn't deserve a spot in the top nine. Having said that, I think this series against the Bruins and an absolutely terrible match-up for Zuccarello and the Rangers might be better off with Richards and his playoff experience playing on the third line than the Hobbit. But as I said last night, real hard to change the line-up after a big win.
...this interview is vintage Torts. Amazing job deflecting the embarrassment of being a healthy scratch away from Richards and putting the focus on himself by saying the word "ass" in front of the media. Amazing how easily distracted the fourth pillar is.
Speaking of Richards, Katie Strang at ESPN.com describes the pros and cons of buying him out this offseason...
"The Cap Advantage Recapture Rule in the new CBA.
That rule penalizes a team with a player on a deal seven years or more in the event of early retirement for the "cap advantage" the team received while the player's salary was more than his cap hit.
In Richards' case, the Rangers would be penalized $5.6 million if he retired during the offseason in 2017, $8.5 million in '18 and a whopping $17 million in '19.
The Rangers would not be subject to these penalties if they exercise a buyout this summer or next. If they wait until next summer to buy out Richards, they run the risk of him sustaining an injury while playing during the 2013-14 season. Teams are not allowed to buy out an injured player."
...while I've been behind the idea of giving Richards another season before deciding to buy him out, if he were to injure himself next season the Rangers would be royally screwed. Solely for cap purposes, it might make more sense to amnesty Richards this offseason. God knows they could use the additional cap space ($13.5 million next season). Not sure even a guaranteed bounce back season from Richards would be worth the risk of not being able to buy him out if injured.
...any chance Richards voids his contract by retiring this summer ala Naslund?
Here's Tortorella's full post game presser...
Here's the players post game...
To watch video at Blueshirts United, click here.
Torts eyeballed a certain individual during that whole segment, obviously thet wrote something and he gave them an eff you rundown of his decision
Last night, we saw an awesome ass trick: Tuukka fell on his, Hank saved ours and Torts told the media to kiss his. Perfection.
Even if BR retired at the end of this season, we'd still have a $10 mil recapture penalty. It would be spread out between next season and 2019-20, costing us about $1.5 per season
Why are you so down on Zucc every chance you get? I could understand last season when he didn't fully match the American play style. But he literally does everything he's been asked to do and more. Zucc has been awesome. He makes great passes down low and on the half boards, he gets to loose pucks, he slips past checkers. He and Stepan are the two best passers on the team. He blocks shots. He's playing nasty. He doesn't back down... Yeah sure, sometimes he goes to finish his check and bounces off or doesn't deliver a crushing hit, but why the fuck do you expect that from him? I really feel like you aren't watching the games. Richards has been a mess all over the ice. no urgency, no confidence. His passes are blocked or deflected. Anytime he gets checked or checks someone, he slips and falls over. He just looks sloppy overall. Zucc hasn't played a bad game all playoffs and Richards hasn't played a good one. What the fuck is up with the Zucc hate man? As you can see, it drives me insane when he is discounted because he doesn't deliver a big hit every time he finishes his check. Last time I checked, Cally is the only one who does that on the Rangers. I can't wait for Zucc to score a game winner or make a great play next game so you have no choice but to give him a positive write-up.
I will 100% be petty and tell you 'I told you so' when he does. (If he sucks, I will conveniently be absent from comment)
Ok. I feel better now. Sorry for yelling.
I'm with you Kevin on the buy out all the way, and as I've learned more about the stipulations I've changed my opinion from giving this proven professional another year to break out or buy out to buy him out this summer, don't take the risk, mostly because it was a ridiculous contract to begin with.
I disagree with you on the Hobbit. He's been much more involved than Richey (granted he's had a bigger role) and is palyting with passion and heart. If any one of those nice passes was converted last night you're write up would be different.
After Tort's comments last night I can't hate the guy, in fact right now, even if just for a moment I'm in love with the guy. That was classic! He frustrates me though as (is often the case) when he finally did some of the things I've been screaming about all series they look like a different team and pull off an exciting win. LGR
Hate the rule about not being able to buy out an injured player. Also - isn't his cap hit more like 6-7mil?
I was in favor of giving him another year but the injury risk changes that. We may have to do it this year cause no matter what you have to do it the next cause u can't have him for another 7-8 tying up cap space.
The thing is we signed Richards cause we need a number one center. So we have to find a replacement for him. Not sure if Stepan is a number-1 but even if he is then we need a number-2 to replace him. And please don't give me lindberg cause even if he becomes a stud & I have seen to many Ranger prospects be nothing but 3rd & 4th line players to annoint him just yet. Plus it will take him a year or 2 to develop into a 1 or 2 center especially w-Torts as the coach.
No chance he retirs. Don Fehr is in charge now & Naslnd would not have retired if Fehr was running the union then.
I also want to point out that EASports' prediction of Richards winning the Conn Smythe with 26 points might not happen.
Richards over MZA? Lol I almost thought you turned that corner. dude has an elephant heart compared to whatever makes Richards tick. Not having roughnecks like newberry and Haley in the lineup since game one has been the bad matchup. You remember how richards lumbers up and down the ice, right?
Richards has never done this team any good apart from being "clutch," the very same excuse used to justify Drury.
If we had anyone who could finish in this series, Zucc would have 3 or 4 points by now. He has been one of the only bright spots of our forecheck and he has made some excellent passes from behind the goal line to open men in the slot but the finish hasn't been there. Tough call to make, kind of glad I don't have to be the one to do it.
Are you suggesting moving Richard to the wing? or moving Boyle? I think if Richards is going to come back, wing could be a good spot for him, just to remove some of the defensive responsibility from his shoulders. Let him focus on getting his play-making back.
But as much as Zucc may be struggling to put up points, I think he's showing tremendous heart, determination, and confidence, and his play hasn't really warranted being pulled from the line-up.
If the Rangers were able to pull out that win last night, with everyone talking about the confidence and resolve in the locker room heading to OT, do we question if this group even needs Richards' leadership?
Sad to say, but the Rangers need to move on for the reasons noted. Can't take that kind of a risk with Richards. I'm shocked at how things turned out.
Saying Richards could replace Zucc is a stretch. Yeah Zucc is only 5'7" but his speed, vision and jam far outweigh anything Richards can bring to the lineup. Bringing a struggling superstar into an elimination game doesn't make any sense imo.
@brian2686 LOL! I have come around big time on Zucc these last two months, but I just feel the Bruins are a bad match-up for him. Having said that, if the Rangers can some how defy the odds and win this series, I like him big time in the Rangers line-up against the Pens.
@Betweentheworlds you & I have been maybe the only proponents of bringing Richards back but I also have changed my mind cause of the injury thing.
@ThrSage What about Brassard as a #2 center?
@ThrSage Agreed. This is actually a compliment and not a criticism but Step (at least in the old game) is your 3rd line center. I believe this because he is a great defensive player who has some offensive skills, especially as a playmaker. You can argue that with a little more finishing talent he could fill the roll as a first line center but on a championship team his roll would best be served on the 3rd IMHO. I understand why Richey was given such a ridiculous contract. We needed a playmaker as nobody could feed Gabby his first season (and he still netted 42), but he was the best UFA in the weakest market in a decade. I never thought he was that great, but then again my standards were pretty high having grown up with Ratelle, then the Mess era followed by The Great One.
@Zelrio I literallt spit out my coffee laughing at that post...Efin hilarious!!!!
@_Jack kinda like a 3 legged dog
@Zelrio Not to excuse the lack of production in general, but several of the young players have had good things to say about Richards as a mentor.
And the goal with 6.6 seconds left in game 5 against Washington last year was pretty, well, clutch. Not to mention it was probably the most exciting moment I've had at the Garden.
Again, I'm not saying this means they shouldn't necessarily buy him out (although I'm personally not a fan of the "but he MIGHT get injured" reason, especially since Richie isn't injury prone), but it really annoys me how some Ranger fans have such selective memories when it comes to players they do/don't particularly like. Just sayin'.
@SA24 I disagree I am a Hobbit fan but he has been outmuscled way to much in this series.
@Josh6 How'd you guess?
@ATCRyan I hear you. I just feel the Bruins have been a bad match-up for Zucc.
Ya know thats a good point. Brassard was a high pick w-a high ceiling so he could become that w-Step & Brassard as 1&2 then if Linverg comes along then ur pretty small down the middle. However its a good point.
Beetween the worlds...I hear ya in the Center position. I grew up during the same era tbough ratelle was a litte b4 my time. They had traded him for Espo by the time I became a fan in 77. Like u I believed for a long time U neede 2-really good/Great Centers. Trottier/Sutter Greatzky/Messier, Lemiux/Francis, Sakic/Forsberg but then the game changed. I think u can win a cup w-2-good not great Centers. Look at the most Cup winners. If u aren't great down the middle then u have to have a great defense core & Goalie. We have that.
@ThrSage @Zelrio Did he win that with TB that year? That was a great season for him and he use to step in up in the playoffs - like he was pretty good last year but not conn Smyth material. BTW Richey was a minus player pretty much every year of his career. Even when he got 91 points he was a minus 12 or something like that. I'm not a huge believer in +/- especially when you get a lot of your points on the PP but consistant patterns are telling - just saying
Queensbee....I have made all the same points & the way Richards is talked about in the comments angers me as well. I don't understand the hate. Criticize the guys plays cause he deserves it but he is a good guy & a leader. Some people here treat him as if he is Terrel Owens or something.
@KevinDeLury @Josh6 but yes, if richards were to be guaranteed to put up 70 points next year it still would not be worth it. He is going to digress at one point, and we are going to be stuck. Also, I doubt he bounces back like that and puts up 70 points... at least in the Rangers system he is worn down from all the games he has played it appears
@ThrSage I'm a big fan of Richards the person. I've said it before but his efforts after Sandy were really amazing and he rules. I also appreciate his move to the Rangers and what he brought the last couple of years. He had a bad year of hockey this year and I doubt he'd argue with you about it. He may or may not have a few good years left in him but he certainly will not last until his contract runs out. Rangers really have no choice but to buy him out and based on this season I don't think it is worth risking that he stay healthy next year. I won't be upset if he stays another year but I would not hold my breath. I hope he lands on his feet and would not be surprised to see him behind the bench someday. Anyway, no hate here for sure.
@Josh6 @KevinDeLury I disagree that a bounce back 70-pt season won't be worth it. It would cause we need a Center to win the Cup & we are going to be contenders next year but the injury thing changes my thinking. Bite the bullet now & use the Cap Space to resign our guys & maybe a 1 year deal on someone, then go hard after Malkin in 14.
Ur not crazy the guy is a proven playoff performer who will eventually find his game. Maybe its in game 5
@JoshKaye @ATCRyan @KevinDeLury That was one of my favorite moments from last night. Zucc gives up 14 inches and 76 pounds but ZERO heart. That clip should be shown to every young hockey player (and a few not so young ones).
That, and Stepan's unbelievably sexy steal off of Chara, followed by a slick wrap around. Step gives up 9 inches and 59 pounds, but he completely embarrases Chara on that one. I could watch that about 1000 more times.