I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but John Tortorella couldn’t comment on his staff next year, at least where it concerns Mike Sullivan, because of tampering rules. Sullivan, his associate coach in Tampa, is expected to be named Tortorella’s assistant here when his contract expires during the summer.
Here are some player remarks from breakup day. I couldn’t stay for all of them, but got most of the free agents-to-be:
“I didn’t think about it yet, but I will for sure … it was great. It was great. It was perfect for me. I enjoyed it a lot. … It’s not up to me, it’s up to Glen and my agent to discuss, but yeah, this is a great place to play and I’d like to be back.”
“It’s a great city and a great hockey town. The team’s been great and the organization’s awesome.”
(on Tortorella saying his play was on the upswing in the playoffs):
“I felt pretty good, but it’s easy in the playoffs to try and step up your game or play well. There’s so much excitement. It’s what you play for.”
“We’ve just got to find a way to put it together a little better, and I think with Torts coming in next year and having a full year with us, I think it’s going to be good for us and it’s going to be something we look forward to.”
“We definitely had our spurts where we could have used a little more energy (due to conditioning) but I don’t think there’s going to be a lack of that next year. That’s going to be a main focal point.”
“I think right from the get-go next year, the start, it’s different now. We know what to expect, we know what is expected of us from Torts, and I think from Day 1 it will be different right away.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Wait ‘til next year’ but you bet we are excited.”
On the conditioning:
“We didn’t have it. There will be a lot of changes over the summer with what Torts expects and what he wants. It’ll be a different workout program for all of us.”
“I’ve got to get back to just creating, back to, the people I play with, make them better. I’ve got to get back to that. … In Torts’ eyes we all have to come back, and it’ll be different, let’s put it that way.”
On speculation he might be moved.
“If there is there is, nothing I can do about it. From Day 1 when I got into the league my name’s always been floating around.”
On Torts’ suspension causing a distraction:
“Not at all. Not at all. Torts is old school and the position we were in (up 3-1) was because of the guy. That doesn’t even have to be brought up. No one even thought that for a split second in this room, that that was a distraction. That’s a guy who’s passionate in what he does, he cares about the team, and it wasn’t any distraction at all.”
Bar being raised:
“Yeah. In his eyes, it’ll be different in a few weeks. It is, and that’s the way it should be.”
On whether there was enough accountability:
“I’m sure there will be a lot more from the start, let’s put it that way. It was one of those years. It was what it was. But I think we all know it will be a lot different here.
“There’s a lot to prove. It was a terrible year, not only with the way the team ended, but personally. … There’s a lot to prove … I’ve always been one of those guys who created and this year I didn’t make the guys I played with better, and that’s always been one of my things. So, you bet, this summer’s going to be different. It has to be because this year was disappointing.”
He rode the bike for 20 minutes, which is the first step from a concussion. No blurry vision. Had mild headaches the first few days. No surgery needed.
He said he had some interesting minutes with doctors immediately after the hit when he couldn’t remember anything.
“It was everything people said it was. In my personal opinion, it was late and it was kind of a blind-sided hit. It came from behind me. His elbows weren’t up. It was straight shoulder. But I just think it was late.
“I just wish a penalty had been called during the game. You don’t really care about the suspension or anything like that. A penalty at that time of the game could have been the difference in that game. But that’s over with now. What can you do?”
On Brashear’s comment that “anyone who knows hockey knows it was a great hit.”:
“I don’t know. It was close to being a great hit. I just think it was a little late. It was a late hit. I didn’t expect it. I was turning toward the bench, looking to change, and I don’t think it was a great hit.
“Obviously I’m upset about it. It took me out of the lineup in a game I would have loved to be playing in, a Game 7 especially. But I’ll get over it. I don’t want to focus on that.”
On his free agency:
“I really have no expectations. I’ve enjoyed my four years here, I’d love to be back, but we’ll see what happens.
“I didn’t expect anybody to give me a hint whether a contact might be offered or anything like that. I think I’ve played hard, I think I’ve played well for them. With the new coaching staff, I think they’re going to have a lot to do with who comes back. If they feel I can be part of this team next year, I’d love to be back. I’ll have to wait and see. It’s going to be a long wait, that’s for sure.”
(who shaved his beard but kept a big, bushy moustache he called “a fun thing that will probably be coming off tonight”).
“I love New York, I love playing for the Rangers and this is a place where I want to play for, hopefully, the rest if my career. But we’ll see what happens.”
“I think the feeling of defeat in Game 7 is something you’ll never forget and you never want repeated. So you put that in the memory bank and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“They know where I stand and that I want to be here. … New York is where I want to be and where I want to play.”
He wouldn’t say money’s not important, but “at this point in my career I want to win and they have some building blocks in place to win, so that’s a big factor right now. It would be great to win here in New York.”
“I wish I had some answers. Obviously New York is a place where had a blast playing. It was a great opportunity, a great group of guys. I hope it works out, but if not it was a nice honor to play here and at least experience a little of it. I think everybody should play some of their career in New York, that’s for sure.
“I think the coach they’ve got here is excellent. I think Glen does a nice job every year of making this team competitive. Whether people believe it or not, this is one of the places everybody wants to play. I definitely want to play here, but I don’t know where it will go.”
“I think with Torts we’re going to have a new system and it’s going to be nice to get everybody used to it right off the bat. I’m really excited about next year.”
“It’s tough. Everybody wants to be playing this time of year and to not be playing right now, it’s hard to come in here and pack your stall up and leave. But at the same time you’ve got to take it as an experience and move forward and use this as ammo next year, to get you ready and get jacked up for another year.”
On restricted free agency:
“It’s kind of out of my control now. I did what I could do during the year and whatever happens happens now. I’m not too worried about it. We’ll see what happens.”
That’s it from here. Don’t forget to send in your “after” photos of your playoff beards. Details in the early post from this morning below.