I mean that in the nicest way possible. But I found out tonight what you guys have asked all along, and what I’ve suspected all along. They read the Bonehead blog!
OK, John Tortorella launched me a bit tonight. No big deal. No hard feelings. I’m a big boy. I can take it, and we spoke afterwards anyway.
A while ago, I had questioned his using Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan to start overtime. I embellished it at the time, calling them “penalty killers and shot blockers” or something like that. My point was that, when OT comes, you need the two points. You should have your best offensive players on the ice. And I also brought up back then that I would use three forwards and one defenseman if I was in the Rangers’ position, needing points so badly, at this stage of the season.
So I asked Tortorella after the game tonight (after he started Christensen and Gaborik for the OT), if he ever considered using three forwards in OT, something, by the way, that he did in Tampa.
“No, Carpy. No,” he said, then looked away for another question. I got the feeling he wasn’t done. I just wondered if it was going to reach Larry Brooks proportions. Would he ask me if I’ve ever been in a fight? (I have, but it sure has been a while).
“You have a pretty good goalie,” he said. “I know you’ve talked about that. You do a lot of … you throw a lot of things out there and you really don’t think. You really don’t think.”
I thought I’d keep it light instead of going back at him. So I said, “That’s not my job.”
He got angrier.
“Obviously, it isn’t,” he said.
Again, no big deal. I spoke to him outside the coaches’ office later. He again said he’d take his chances in a shootout given the makeup of this team and its goalie. I still disagree. I wouldn’t want my team’s destiny relying on a shootout, a skills competition, especially when there are two Rangers on the entire current roster—Prospal and Gaborik—who had scored once each in shootouts this season. Two shootout goals, total, all season!
But that’s why he’s a coach, and I’m not. That’s his decision, and I’m certainly not saying I’m right and he’s wrong. I just wouldn’t want to go to a shootout when there’s nothing to lose in the OT.
Anyway, a pretty prominent player, whose name doesn’t matter, walked by me on his way to the bus. He said, “write something nice tonight. No lottery (pick).”
So, yeah, they’re Boneheads at heart. Life is good.
I’ll put up the Rangers’ version of the post-game notes later, or in the morning. I wanted you guys to chew on this for tonight.
Also, Ryan Callahan wasn’t on the bench for the third period, or I think late in the second. Saw him after the game. He was limping on that left leg, probably the knee, he hurt in Boston. He said he aggravated it in the second period when a defenseman fell on him. Callahan said he hadn’t been examined by doctors yet, but would be tomorrow, and that he’s not sure if he just re-injured it, or aggravated the existing injury.
Tortorella talked about not using Jokinen and Lisin much in the third.
“It’s just a decision by me,” he said. “I worry about (Jokinen) away from the puck. I worry about (Lisin) away from the puck, and the situation we’re in right now, we’re just not going to die on the vine with players that I’m not comfortable with as far as playing away from it. Because the situation, our games are so close that a mistake defensively will cost you a game. It’s a call by the coaches here. (Jokinen) is a good kid. (Lisin) is a good kid. But if we’re going to go down we’re going to go down with the guys who give us the best chance to win a hockey game.”
And, finally, on the team playing looser.
“There’s no sense of feeling the pressure here,” he said. “You lose a couple of games here with so few games left, you’re done. So you just go out and play, and we’ve talked as a group. A lot of people poke holes in us. A lot of people are poking holes, and rightfully so. We’ve had a very up and down season. I’m not complaining about that. But we can’t listen to that. We’ve got to stay within ourselves and find a way to grind and get points here. Whether we get there or not, I don’t predict it. But we’re going to keep on fighting and see where we’re at in the end.”