First things first: Chris Drury was one of four Rangers on the ice during an optional practice (with Blair Betts, Colton Orr and Aaron Voros). He skated fine. It’s obviously a hand/wrist/arm injury, and he should play Game 3.
John Tortorella talked for a while. Some highlights:
“You’ve got to be really careful. The results are one thing. But I’ve said this before … it’s about momentum swings and how you’re playing. I think as a coach, you need to be honest with your group. No matter what happened over 60 minutes: how did you play that game? That’s the most important thing for me — as a club is to make sure we know how we’re playing, and we have a number of things to improve on.”
He is not happy or satisfied at all with the amount of time the Rangers have been in possession of the puck. I asked him about the play without the puck, in the defensive zone, where they’ve had 50 blocked shots in two games.
“I think we have fought and done some things,” Tortorella said. “I think we’ve handled the surges pretty well and what they’ve brought to us offensively. At times it’s them inflicting on us. At times we’ve done some stupid things with the puck in not giving ourselves a chance to control it and giving it back to them at bad pieces of ice. So we’ve scrambled back and tried to defend it, and when we haven’t, Hank’s made the saves. But we have to be better in all areas and especially that part of it, with the puck. We need to have the puck more.”
He said he thought Markus Naslund has “let his game go” meaning he’s relaxed after a rough start after the coaching change.
“I just think he’s let his game go. At least when I first started with him, when this staff started, I think there was a problem with the tempo, with teh speed. Whether it was just confusion about what we were doing, I don’t know … All I know is he’s skating much better. I think he’s much more confident with the puck, and he’s playing well away from the puck.”
And asked about Nik Zherdev’s underwhelming performance so far, Tortorella spoke generally at first, then about Zherdev.
“Our gamebreakers have to be better and Nik is a guy who can score a goal, and he can do that. It’s his first playoff series and this is part of th eprocess. It’s a learning experience for him, and it’s our responsibility as coaches to make him understand how hard you have to play — him and a number of other people … to clue him in.
“We need to figure out (how) to get some people better quickly.”
On Redden-Rozsival, who have taken over much of the responsibility vs. Alex Ovechkin:
“You guys are the ones giving them all that crap around here during the year. I didn’t see them all that time. But they have played some good hockey. … I think some of the experience they bring … I think Rozy, since he’s come back, has helped us keep the puck a little bit more, He makes an outlet, he doesn’t panic.
“As weve gone through this series we’ve stayed against them a little against some of their top people … They’ve done the job.”
“Every game you win, it’s going to be tougher to win the next one,” he said.
About the shot-blocking, and general defensive-zone play:
“I think we’re really good right now at playing in the middle of the ice. We have a lot more people in the lanes and because of htat we’re able to block a lot more shots. A lot of games will be decided in the slot, if you have traffic or no traffic. The first two games we’ve been really good on staying in the right lanes and coming up with big plays.
“I love it. I mean, we need it. Against this team, they have a lot of shooters and to have guys sacrifice their bodies is very important because they will get chances.”
TORONTO (April 19, 2009) - Boston Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic has been suspended for one game as a result of a blow to the head in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series last night against the Montreal Canadiens.
Lucic was assessed a match penalty for highsticking Montreal forward Maxim Lapierre at 15:28 of the third period.
“While it is unclear whether Lucic’s glove or stick makes contact with Lapierre, what is clear is that he delivered a reckless and forceful blow to the head of his opponent,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
Lucic’s suspension will be served on Monday night when the Bruins meet the Canadiens in Game Three of the series.