Here’s John Tortorella’s presser from this morning (I get a kick out of how every single hockey player, every single coach, every single announcer, finds it so difficult to wrap his head around the idea of an afternoon game. … it’s always “Tonight” no matter what time they actually play).:
First offered to sing for the media. Then …
“I don’t have a voice. I can dance, but I don’t have a voice.”
Stan Fischler asked him if he was a tenor, to which he said, “I don’t know what the (byfuglien) I am.”
(I wonder if he’s actually going to try to be friendlier in his public persona. IMO, he ought to. It can never hurt to be liked in this town, and it can definitely be a major drawback to be disliked. There’s no benefit-of-doubt when things go badly. And I’ll tell you again, Tortorella was a really, really good guy when he was here as an assistant, and it was shocking to see him the other way last year. I hope he goes back to the former).
On what he sees in Stepan:
“Before he even gets on the ice, just his mental maturity. How he handles himself. I don’t want to jump the gun, but I can speak on it. I remember a young Brad Richards in Tampa, before he even stepped on the ice, how he handled himself. I’m just beginning to know Step and it’s very similar. Not rambunctious. Just understands the hierarchy of a lockerroom. Everything about it. Just very calm and understands early on, I think, the process of becoming a pro.
“Again, I’m jut beginning to get to know him a little bit, and he’s gone through some things in college and World Championships and all that, and he’s been put in some roles that fast-forwards the process of becoming a pro. It’s one of the most important things. When I look at players when they come into this league, before they even step on there, how they handle themselves with some intangibles, and with veteran players, in an NHL lockerroom. There’s some good things with him early on here, and hopefully he’ll continue to grow.”
“We’ll start the game with the same lineup.”
On P.A. Parenteau, now an Islander:
“He’s got some skill—three shootout goals for us last year, was it not? I liked him. His skating is one of the things that’s held him back (from) consistently playing in the National Hockey League. We worked quite a bit with him as far as play away from the puck. I’m sure Scottie (Gordon) is doing the same thing here. But he, underneath the hashmarks, he’s a pretty good offensive player, and he can make a play. So hopefully he doesn’t do that tonight.”
About how seriously they considered whether to bring him back:
“I think Glen (Sather) will have to answer that.”
On Chris Drury:
“Dru skated again this morning (at the training facility), and we’re going to practice him. We’ll have a day off tomorrow. Friday’s in sight. Friday’s in sight. But we’ll have to see how he progresses in the next few days.”
I asked him if Drury’s fighting to get back in now.
“Oh, he always … you know him. He’s just dying on the vine wanting to get back in here. So we’ll see how the next few days go. He’s progressed very nicely.”
The $7 million question: How hard will it be to decide where he fits in?
“We’ll cross that when we get there. I have enough things to worry about tonight with the Islander game.”
No update on Prospal. Expects to find out more in the next few days, but expects it will be a process.