On the technique for blocking shots, if there’s a way to do it and protect your arms or hands:
“That’s what gloves are supposed to do. (Mike Keenan piped up from the back to suggest they wear kevlar). I look at Chris Drury, his first shot, he’s as big as can be blocking a shot, and to me, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. Our team is a good shot-blocking team and I think it’s become part of the culture here. So, everybody does it differently. … We do a lot of work around our net to take the ice away. Everybody blocks shots differently, but we always talk about guys being big. And we show tape of guy being small on our team when they try to block shots, and guys being big when they block shots. It’s kind of an inner pressure we’re trying to put on everybody because it’s a huge part of winning.”
On the risk/reward of playing a shot-blocking, big-hitting, grinding game:
“Last night we made a little adjustment in our game, in not being so aggressive on our checking, especially on our forechecking, and losing our third guy. We try to be more patient in the neutral zone. We’ve had discussions on that because it’s hard. We play a hard game. I’ve used four lines this year more than I ever have in my career coaching, and I need to get even better than that. There’s going to be certain times you have to change your mindset a little bit that given night. You want to give, you want to push as hard as you can, but you’ve got to push smart. And I thought we did a really good job of that last night. We changed our mindset a bit in how aggressive we’re going to be, because we felt they were picking us apart the last time we played them. They knew we were coming and they just threw it by us.
“We have to think that. It’s a great question and I worry about how I answer it to you and to the team, because you don’t want to be pack-pedaling either. You don’t want to be in between.”
On whether that makes it worthwhile to have extra players around:
“If they’re ready. If we have someone ready. And right now I can’t tell you we do. We don’t. They’re just not ready right now. We’re hoping.”
“With our games so spread out here, I don’t think (there will be a recall). Once we get through this three-in-four, we have just three games after tonight, and it’s spread out. We talked about it last night … we’ll talk about it again after tonight. But it’s spread out and then it’s Christmas. But I think it has to enter our thinking again as we start up our schedule again, because we get pretty busy after this little break.”
On whether this is a trap game after the two wins over Washington and Pitt:
“It shouldn’t be a trap game because this is a helluva hockey team we’re playing. It’s a fast team, it’s a good team. You look at that Western Conference and it’s a good club. I’m worried about the speed. It’s going to be a very quick team we play tonight.
“That was a big win for us last night, how we won it, staying within ourselves, and I thought they opened up a bit and we were fortunate to get a couple of goals. You just can’t feel too good about yourself too long because you have another one. And this is a good club. Even though they lose 3-0, I watched some of their game last night, they were pretty good; Brodeur was pretty good for Jersey. This is a tough game. So it shouldn’t be a trap game. You always worry with the Western Conference and you haven’t seen them much, but I just hope (the players) know where we’re at right now in the standings and what we have left before we have a couple of days (off) for the holidays.
“You’ve just got to concentrate and that’s a huge point to our game tonight. Can we concentrate again on the little things? I think we’ll have a much better chance of being successful if we do.”
Tortorella said that surgery is not an option for Boogaard.
He ruled out Prospal playing in Florida after the New Year, and said he’s guessing mid-January.
Also, you should know that Ilya Bryzgalov has the flu or something and is not in uniform tonight. Word is the Coyotes signed a goalie from Purchase, who works at Manhattanville, for tonight’s game, just to back up Jason LaBarbera.
On the team, in general:
“I like the hockey club. I think we need to improve in some areas, as all teams do in this league. But I like this team and where they are mentally and understanding how to play as a team and everybody’s got to join in that area.”