More from Torts:

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Will have player quotes in a bit. For now, you should know that Sean Avery’s injury at the end of Game 7 was just a charley horse. Blair Betts rode a stationary bike today, which is a good sign for a concussion victim. He had some things to say about the hit that caused it and the broken orbital bone.

Tortorella on how much of his style did we see down the stretch.

Long pause.

“I’d like our team to be — and I thought we showed signs of it in Game 7 as far as playing beneath the hashmarks, in behind the net, I thought we did a lot better job in the neutral zone. The style is, it’s having the puck. I just think we need the puck more. You need to take some chances, because I think we have a good enough goaltender that’s going to handle some of the breakdowns. When I first came here we pinched, in the neutral zone especially, and I backed off because I thought we were giving up (too much), I thought our reads weren’t there, I was concerned about the quickness because it’s a lot more difficult to do without the red line … But I still think that’s somethng I want to revisit when we go to camp. It was such a sprint, a two-month sprint: just how much can you give them? So we changed a little bit int he neutral zone and we definitely changed in Game 7, so I want to proceed a little bit more once you have that month (of camp) to really bring in a full team concept.”

How do you get a veteran with a big contract to buy in?

“You’ve got to coach them. It’s such a broad question that it’s tough to answer. But coaches don’t hate their players, and what I’ve learned along the way here is you’re not going to have a perfect team. And practically half your team, as far as a coach, you’re going to be pissed off about. … You need to coach them. We’re going to play under a team concept, one that I think is best fit for what we are, when we start camp and people are going to buy into it. That’s our job, to teach them.”

“Is there conflict along the way? I’ve always said that conflict is not a bad thing. Conflict, there must be some honesty coming out. Those are the things you work through as a coach and a player when you try to teach a veteran guy.”

On the feathers he’s ruffled internally and externally:

“I’m not trying to be an ass. I’m not going to do my job to keep it and make everybody happy. If I try to make everybody happy, I’m not doing my job correctly. I’ve never gone into a situation to try to keep my job. I’m going to do my job the best I can. And will it ruffle some feathers along the way? Yes, it will. And it’s going to continue to do that. But as long as we can do it as men and talk it out, I think relationships can grow strong that way.”

“It’s really not my business how you feel about me. I want to respect you and I want to do the best I can and give the information that I can, but I also have to worry about what is best for the hockey team.” 

On his players in general (I forgot the exact question):

“We’ve got some good guys here. For some guys the standard is going to have to be raised here. That’s my job, to raise the standard, and accountability is going to be a huge thing, holding people accountable. I think as we’ve gone through, they’ve begun to understand me and I’ve begun to understand them. Some of them may not like it, and may not like me. I struggle with some of the effort with some guys, and that’s going to be addressed today as we have our exit meetings. Again, it’s not a business where you want everybody to love you. It just can’t be done that way. … but as long as there’s a mutual respect, and I’m trying to do it respectfully.”

I asked him if the team needs to be in better condition in order to play his style:

“Yes. That starts right now when I meet the first player and describe our camp. Our camp is very heavily-laden, those first five or six days — because we have early  exhibition games and we may stink in those — there’s two days of testing on ice and it’s pretty heavy on conditioning the first five or six days. So that’s something an athlete can control. We put the heavy testing in those first two days because we’re not like football where we can bring them in in the summer and test them. So we need to hang it over their heads, because I don’t think any athlete wants to be embarrassed with the testing that we do, and so we want them to do their work in the summer — not to use camp to get in shape, to be in shape when you come to camp. It’s something you can control, and the way we want to play, the game comes easier to them when you’re in the top shape you can be.

“I’ll put it to you this way. I worry that some guys are tired now and we played one round. We played one round. That’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable. Some guys are tired. And you’re going to be tired, I know that. But you’ve got to be able to get it back every day if we want to do the things we want to do during the playoffs. So that’s what worries me the most, to see guys who are tired after playing 12-13 days and hardly practicing. That worries me.”

On the playoff series:

“I’m not sure how you’ll take it, but the best team won this series. They were a better team than us. That’s not running down our team. I’m just being honest with you. Do you find ways to upset teams? Yeah. When you’re an underdog there are always upsets. We had our opportunity. I felt Hank gave us the opportunity the way he played early in the series. And I will say, I felt Hank was part of the reason we didn’t, too. So he was great, but also struggled at key times, too. I’m not running him down. But I felt at 3-1 we needed to step up offensively and we didn’t and that’s my responsibility, getting it out of them, and it’s the players’ responsibility for not getting it done. Some of them weren’t able to, some of them couldn’t, some of them who I thought had the ability just didn’t.”

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23 Comments

  1. Wow, I hope every player read that and takes it to heart! I love that kind of brutal honesty. I would love it even more if he would have named more names. Light a fire now! Good stuff.

  2. By show of hands who thinks we trade gomez? Better question…who would want him at that cap hit? ANYONE?

  3. Gotta say…I like every word coming from Torts. Making it clear to us that he’s not an idiot and he knows full well there are guys who put on that jersey and didn’t give their all.

    Getting on them for their conditioning harkens back to Renney, though. And he’s right…if you’re burned out after one round, how can you expect to achieve any success?

    He didn’t name names, but he’s made it clear that there are some guys on this team who simply didn’t get it done this year. Some to an atrocious degree.

    Give me a full season with Torts and I’m confident we’ll see something a helluva lot better.

    Thanks for the heads up on today, Carp. Although I gotta say while the loss was heartbreaking to me…it was made ALOT easier to take seeing Martina give up two at the end of his game to send the Devils down.

    ****BREAKING NEWS********

    Gary Bettman seen dancing naked in the streets with an unidentified object wedged in his rear…saying something like “My Cindy and Ovary!! My Cindy and Ovary!!”

    ****UPDATE****

    The object has been identified as Colin Campbell.

    – Had to get that one out. Hope Ovechkin lays out Crosby in the next round…even though I now officially hate the showboating commie

  4. Love the honesty too. This guy is a corner stone of the franchise and is a keeper. Let’s hope he has a lot of say in personnel decisions.

  5. As far as the Ovechkin / Crosby rivalry … I’m actually looking for a very physical series in hopes that there will be lots of checking and hitting. I hope somebody (6-7 Hal Gill) knocks some sence into the Crazy O. I hope Cynthia get hit hard too. I never thought I would say this but I’m rooting for the Penguins to take out the Caps.

  6. Torts can say all he likes about personnel, the contracts may say more. Everyone, including Slats, knows this team needs firepower and speed. But what can be done?

  7. If Torts is really going to back up what he said today, and carry out that kind of hard nose attitude, then I fully expect to see a difference on the ice next year, regardless of who is on this team. If he is willing to really bench ANYONE who takes a shift or game off, that remains to be seen.

  8. Vitaly…I’m pretty conflicted. I hate the Pens and their idiot fans and the fact that the NHL has basically decided to put it’s full promotion and power behind the franchise that should have died the death it deserved before they gave Crosby to Mario.

    Prior to the Rangers-Caps series I’d have wanted nothing more than to see Ovechkin take Cindy’s head off.

    But after seeing 7 games of dirty play, whining about calls (and getting them, see Game 7) and ridiculous showboating from Ovechkin…I’m now conflicted. I’m terribly vexed!!

    I hate both teams…hate their fans…and hate the NHL for putting their all behind them.

    So…hope Ovechkin takes out Crosby and hope Gill takes out Ovechkin.

    And…I LOVE the fact that Tortorella is making it loud and clear that Sean Avery has been horrifically mistreated by the officials since his return. This needs to be repeated as much as needed until the NHL finally decides to properly call the game and not give Sean Avery a different set of rules to play by.

  9. if the SJO fits on

    This guy is definetley the Anti- Renney…He gives us fans the answers we want to hear…

    For some reason, I’m picutring Gomez enjoying the fact that he has an early vacation, with that stupid smile he has on his face after every loss…That pisses me off

    There are too many guys on this team that lack that fire and edge needed for any Stanley Cup contender…and Torts has got to either light that fire, or give these guys the boot and serious accountability

  10. “some of them who I thought had the ability just didn’t”

    clearly referring to Z, among others

  11. CJP … I can’t stand the Pens or their fans when we play them but I would like to see both teams take a pound of flesh from the show boats in this series.

  12. yan cant cook on

    wow thanks alot Carp. after reading all the quotes i felt like i was tors. where he said that some had the ability but could not get it done was a shot at Z and maybe rosi. Great work Carp thanks alot.

  13. Carp, Great work as always. Certainly liked what I read and am anxious to see how it all pans out next season. Could be a good mix of Fire & Ice.
    As for Pens & Caps. I hope the Caps (the cheap shot MF’s that they are)kick the hell out of the Pens. And get beat up themselves in the process. Then they go to Boston and meet their match and the Bruins take no prisoners (unless it’s to waterboard them before they cut their legs out from under them). I want to see Chara & Company turn AO into a pile of cheap caviar.
    OK now I got that off my chest. Back to work.

  14. This is going to be an interesting off-season, the way things are looking— we can only be a worse team next year.

  15. CJP- did you really refer to Ovie as a “showboating commie” ? Really? Very original.

  16. Carp – indeed, great stuff from Torts. I think he’s got a damn good read on this team – he’s agreeing with most of us here!

    Posted earlier in the other thread…Baumer – have to disagree with you on Rozi – he is ridiculously overpaid for what he produces. $5mm per year is almost Niedermayer/Pronger type money! You can get handfuls of guys that produce what he does for half the price.

    The Rangers need to start valuing their prospects, and not giving them away. First, Grachev should be virtually untouchable, unless the initials AO or EM are mentioned. He could be VERY special. Sanguinetti is a different case. We also have his clone, who is likely better, in Del Zotto, so Bobby is expendable. For the RIGHT deal, and that ain’t a 34 year old St. Louis. Nothing but draft picks and undesirables (Naslund, Rozi etc.) for him. An old, small guy is one hit away from retirement, though I would love to get him for the right price.

    I wouldn’t touch Radulov with a 10ft pole – that p***y has already quit the NHL once. Who the hell wants a player like that?

  17. This will certainly be an interesting off season…. especially considering how many RFA’s we got, trying to re-sign the young talent(Dubi,Girardi,Callahan,Zherdev to name a few), Staal next year… and you have these crazy contracts with Rozi,Redden,Gomez,Drury… Antropov and Morris have big contracts…. it’s a cluster f*ck right now. I’m not sure, and won’t even speculate how that will turn out. But i do expect a Big name Ranger to get moved this Summer. Just don’t know which one…

    Aside from that… the stable of young talent is getting packed! We might have another stud defenseman in the making out of Sanguinetti,Gilroy, and Del Zotto. One of those guys should be a mainstay in 2 years.

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