Here’s some early stuff from John Tortorella. Can’t put it all up because the lockerroom is opening in a few minutes.
On Game 7 in review:
“I looked at our Game 7 and that’s the way we need to play through the series, I thought. I thought we had more puck control. I thought we did a much better job in the neutral zone. But we fall short where, we have the puck quite a bit in the first two periods, but we still don’t create enough offense. I think we still ended up with probably seven or eight scoring chances in that game. …
“We still didn’t finish. We still didn’t make that last play,and that’s the big problem with our club. We all know that, that we’re an offensively challenged team.”
He said he thought biggest move of the series was the Capitals’ change to Varlamov.
On whether there’s not enough top-end talent, or whether the top-end guys not good enough?
“Both. I don’t want to step out of bounds because i’m not the manager of the club and we’re going to have, in two weeks, meetings regarding this. But I think I can step out and say I don’t think we have it totally as far as within our team, and I don’t think we got it totally from the people within our team.
“This is definitely going to be addressed.”
How much did the Sean Avery/Tortorella distractions around Games 4-5-6 impact the series? Here Tortorella finally copped a mea culpa … big time:
“My thing … it’s a bad mistake by me. I regret it. I think I put the New York Ranger organization in an embarrassing situation. I’m embarrassed by it. I am an intense person, which is a positive, but it also turns into a negative sometimes, and that turned into a negative for us. And I regret it. I didn’t want to talk about it the other day because I didn’t want it to be more of a distraction than it needed to be. Was it a distraction? Of course it was. How much it played into that next game, I don’t know, because I thought we played a good first period and I know I had capable coaches on that bench in Schoney.
“It can’t happen. It can’t happen. I preach discipline. I preach team concept. I am disciplined and I am a team-concept guy. I stepped out of bounds. I made a huge mistake. I made a huge mistake. Do I have warts? You’re God damned right I do, as all players do. We all make mistakes. But in that situation I am the head coach of the New York Rangers. At the time that that progressed through the game … and I’ll be honest with you, I was protecting my players, at least I felt I was at that point in time, but I did not do it correctly. I stepped way out of bounds.”
He said the referees told him they could have had the fan or fans removed. Tortorella said he had told security to remove the fan, accused him of spitting, and being beligerent. Thought the coach of the team asking security to get rid of him would be enough.
“Hey, listen. I am not backing off. That us my responsibility as a leader of men and a manager of that team at that point in time, that stepped out of bounds. How much it hurt, that’s for you guys to find out. I thought our team played well in teh first period.”
On the Avery benching:
“With Sean Avery, I would do it again. I would sit him out. I think there’s a misperception of how Sean and I get along. We get along great. And we are very honest with one another and we were very honest with one another after that situation. … I would do it again for the short-term and for long-term.
“I felt it was building up to that point, and I know that guy wants to help this team win. He’s not treated fairly in the league as far as on-ice play, some of the things that happen to him on the ice he’s not being treated fairly. He cares. He cares. But it was building up and …. I watched him and I gave him another opportunity (late in Game 4) to be out there and it blew up in my face. It wasn’t, ‘you screwed me, Sean. Me’ I just felt he couldn’t get control at that point in time. I have to look at short-term and also long-term as far as what we’re building as far as accountability. That’s what came into my decison there. And it was my decision. I discussed it with everybody in the organization. Some people didn’t want it to happen, they disagreed with me, but I felt I had to make that decision. That’s my decision.”
If he knows who he wants to stay and go:
“I have a pretty good idea of what’s here now. I don’t know the minor leagues. Jimmy and Glen have been great explaining to me … I don’t even know how to pronounce his name — I call him Artie (Anisimov). I liked the way he played in Game 7. I don’t think he was nervous. It’s a big body. I’m anxious to see him in camp.
“But as far as the people on the roster, I have a pretty good idea — and remember, I’m the coach, I’m not the manager of this team and I dom’t have all the figures as far as cap and what the contracts are — but as a coach I have a pretty good idea of what people are, who I’d like to keep and who I’d like to change.”
“To be honest, I can go through that roster and say, ‘He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone, I want him,’ You can do that as a coach, but it’s not that simple. You have cap problems, you have contracts that are here. Do you have any people that want to trade with you? I’ll go out on a limb and say, ‘Does Glen Sather want to change this team?’ You’re damn right he does. He knows some change needs to be made.”
“Do I envision as a coach what I’d like? Yeah. But it doesn’t happen that way. So that’s why we’re going to have these meetings.”
… more later.
The beard details are in the previous post. Check it out.