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Tortorella pre-game

Posted By On February 17, 2011 @ 5:16 pm In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 51 Comments

Will have more in a moment. The only news: Wojtek Wolski will skate in warmup. He wants to play. If he can’t, Kris Newbury will.

Back with Tortorella quotes in a few.

The most interesting stuff was about how he doesn’t want Prust fighting the heavyweights, and how he takes responsibility for not making that clear, and how he dislikes the “staged fighting.”


John Tortorella:

on Wolski:

“We’ll see how he feels after warmup. It’s been like that for the past few days. Again, we have to be smart about it where … it’s not three shifts and you’re done and it leaves us short-handed. But he said he felt much better today, so we’ll see after warmup.”

On Lundqvist since the benching:

“He’s found a way. I think he continues to work at his game. I think he feels he needs to continue to work at his game. So he’s going to play. I think he’s got to find some sort of rhythm. I think that’s very important. That’s what Ben (Benoit Allaire) and him talked to me about. I know nothing about goaltending other than ‘Stop the goddamn puck.’ But rhythm is a very important thing and I think Benoit has really helped me understand that better as we’ve gone through here. I don’t think (Lundqvist) has been dead-on. I don’t think he’d admit that he’s been dead on. But he’s working on his game and I’m sure he’s going to be right there when we need him.”

Asked to characterize his season so far:

“You’re trying to box me into a corner there. I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to go there.”

On the young defensemen as a group:

“Just that they’re young and they’ve hung in there. There’s been surprises as far as, especially Sauer, coming into camp, earning a spot and has played the minutes that he’s played. Now McDonagh’s done his time in the American league, halfway through the year we make a trade because we feel we want to bring him into the situation, we get an offensive guy in (Wolski). There’s bumps, there’s some struggles. Michael Del Zotto’s in a process. (Gilroy) has gone through a process and tends to be up and down a little bit, more up now. So I think they’ve embraced just trying to improve. We do a lot of teaching on positioning, and that’s a key thing on defense — positioning. And that’s the hardest part of playing defense, is positioning. And slowly but surely, they’ve grown into a a group of guys that have stuck in there and found a way to help us.”

Asked by an L.A. guy about Brian Boyle:

“Brian Boyle deserves … the biggest improvement in Brian Boyle, and I wouldn’t even say improvement, is just what he’s done mentally for himself to get geared up for a year where, last year we weren’t sure what he was. You guys had him. We weren’t sure what he was, we weren’t satisfied with some of the things he was doing. He was a guy that we weren’t sure was going to be on the club, and I think he has shown a great mental toughness in doing everything he could in the summer, not only physically, skating instructor, all that stuff, but mentally to gear himself up for a year — that he was going to make this team. And he’s continued go grow, and his confidence has grown, and I think he deserves a lot of credit as far as how he’s handled himself.”

On the power play’s confidence growing:

“You hope so. When you’re successful at anything, I think you release, you take a little pressure off yourself as far as what you’re doing. That’s been a focal point for quite a while, our power play, the past few months. It has to have some consistency if we want to get where we want to be. If we want to get away from these one-goal games and two-goal games where a mistake beats us, that power play has got to be a group of guys that need to kick in a goal. I like the way it was practiced the past couple of days on it, all situations: 5-on-4, 5-on-3, 4-on-3. So hopefully it will continue to help us out.”

On breaking up Boyle and Prust:

“I thought they were — and I’ve had them together most of the year — I thought they were stale. I think Pruster has fought it a little bit. I think he’ll be back and be a big part of it. I’ve tried to cut down a little bit of his ice time. From the fighting, his thumb, his shoulder, I don’t think he’s completely healthy. And part of it was, I was looking for … ┬ánine forwards more than spreading it out there. I have (Stepan) on the wing, which I’m not crazy about, but I don’t want to lose him in the top nine. Because I went into it, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go here in four games in six nights, three games in three and a half, I’m not sure where the lines will go as far as ice time. But I was looking to get our best nine, if we could during that stretch where our games were spread out. And plus, we just weren’t scoring anyway.”

On telling Prust not to fight so much:

“Yeah, and I think I have made mistakes. Like, he shouldn’t be fighting Boulton, and I kick myself that I didn’t tell him that before the (Atlanta) game. I still don’t realize what I have there. This is a guy that takes on all comers. And I think some coaching has to come … that’s my fault in a couple situations. I wanted to punch him in the side of the head after the Boulton fight, and I told him that. I did. Because he’s too important a guy for us when he’s playing well. And it’s not disrecpecting Boulton, but we don’t need a staged fight, and I think that’s what that was. These staged fights in this league, I think, are ridiculous. I think fighting is for a reason. The staged part of it, I think is nonsense, and I don’t want our team doing it. Especially Pruster, who kills penalties, who grinds for us, and does a lot of good things for us. He’ll know, I think he should and he does, but he’s just that type of guy. He’ll fight anybody. But I think he needs to know when he needs to fight, so I need to take some responsibility there.”

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