First well get the news out of the way, and come back in a little while with some John Tortorella quotes.
Chris Drury skated in practice and the Rangers did not recall anybody from Hartford, so it looks as if either he will play Game 4, or Aaron Voros will take his spot if he doesn’t.
The only other newsworthy info is that D Paul Mara did not practice. He appeared to get banged up during Game 3—don’t know if it was that bum shoulder he hurt late in the season—although he kept taking his shifts Monday night. You’d have to think the Rangers expect him to play, again, because they didn’t call up a defenseman from Hartford.
Drury, who took a couple of practice shifts in Mara’s spot just to fill holes, said he doesn’t know about Game 4.
“I repeat myself, but every day it feels better,” Drury said about the arm/wrist/hand injury that is still a state secret.
Asked if he is questionable for tomorrow’s game, Drury said, “I hope not,” although Tortorella said he’s day to day.
“The best I can say is it’s just day to day,” Drury also said. “That’s how I’m playing it. That’s how he’s playing it.
“Obviously I’d like to be doing more, helping us win more. I’ve been fortunate in my career not to be watching too much, but yeah, it’s definitely frustrating.”
Tortorella said, “Our team, they know one another and Chris is a big part of it and they want him part of it and they know how much he wants to be part of it … did I say ‘part of it’ enough? So I’m encouraged today as of practice.
“But sure everybody’s pulling for him. He’s likeable. He has a story line behind him, how hard he plays, and he’s a big part of the club as far if you want ot win. So if you’re thinking abou winning, you want him part of it, so I’m sure they’re pulling for him.”
Asked about whether the pressure has shifted onto the Rangers, Drury said, “I think of the old saying: pressure comes when you’re not prepared and I know we’re going to be prepared mentally and physically. If somebody said starting the series you’d be up 2-1 with Game 4 in your building, I think we’d take it.”
He’s right, you know. Kevin Lowe—a six-time Stanley Cup champion—used to say that there’s momentum swings within playoff games, but that momentum doesn’t carry over or swing from one game to the next.
If the Rangers win Game 4, they’ll be in the driver’s seat, up 3-1. If they lose Game 4 to go even at 2-2, they can still grab hold of the series by winning Game 5. One game has nothing to do with the next.
Tortorella, asked what he’d like to see better in Game 4, simply said, “defense.”
I asked him if, after watching the video, it was worse than he originally thought after the game, he said, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, but it was bad enough. And we’ve played good defense along the way here and we’ll be better tomorrow night.
“It was watching the puck. And we weren’t in bad position, but when you’re watching the puck you pull yourself out of position. Along with a number of other things, but we’ll try to cure those also tomorrow.”
About addressing the team about being up 2-1 after the loss:
“We are (up 2-1). You have to be real careful. You can’t get too high when you win and you can’t get too low when you lose. That’s what’s so great about the series; what’s so great about the National Hockey League playoffs, is that you get to do it again tomorrow night. As I’ve said, the’ve grabbed the momentum. We need to try to grab it back. And if you win a hockey game you can grab back momentum.”
“I think last night was one of our better games in generating some offense, some offensive-zone time. I give Washington some credit. I thought htey played well when we had some opportunities to make the next play, as we spent more time in their end zone. But we forgot about the other end.”
“We need to get a big play at a key time. … What if Ryan Callahan scores that goal and it’s 1-1? Maybe we feel a little bit better and have some confidence. But him not scoring and then, bang, they come down and score and we miss our coverage, you get knocked into a hole. So there are so many ebbs and flows of games, and surges, those are the key situations.
“Hopefully we get a big play, or a good bounce, a lucky bounce to give us a lead and maybe knock them back on their heels.”
Later, discussing Avery, he said “Sean’s been a pretty effective player. I don’t think we win this series of Sean’s the headline player, I’ll put it to you that way. But Sean’s been effective as far as forechecking and tips and rebounds in the blue. But I don’t think we’ll win the series if Sean Avery’s going to be our best offensive player.”
You guys have probably seen this before, or maybe not, but in February Alex Ovechkin nearly killed himself and Mike Green in a joyride in a utility cart. It’s scary how close he actually came to serious injury.
Somebody who’s been around a long time said yesterday: “The good thing is that Ovechkin hasn’t scored a goal. The bad thing is that Ovechkin hasn’t scored a goal.” I agree. The guy is bound to bust out.
Finally, that’s my photo from today. Just wanted to show you the beard that you couldn’t see on the video chat. Mangy, huh?