This was one of the dullest pre-gamers of the season.
The news, as you all know already, is that Avery and Eminger are back in, Wolski and Gilroy are prucha’d tonight.
The last question of the press conference was whether the Rangers will wear their white jerseys again tonight. Tortorella said he didn’t know, and that was that.
“Again, each day, if I change the lineup I’m not gonna pick through the player with you guys. It’s just, I think, he needs to be better in certain areas. So Aves will go back in. He wasn’t horrible. Just needs to be better in certain areas. Same with Gilly. Wasn’t horrible. But we’ll go with these two guys tonight.”
On whether the opponent played into the decision:
“Not a whole bunch, no.”
On what he liked best on the trip:
“Winning the second game. … We defended much better. We were full of holes in Anaheim. We just weren’t the same defensively. And I thought we defended much better (in San Jose). Third period I thought we were on our heels a bit. Hank came up real big for us. But we played more our style in San Jose than we did against Anahiem.”
On what’s different with the Isles since the last time they played:
“I haven’t even watched them. Haven’t even watched them. Nope. I’ve been concentrating on our team and how we’re going to play. … (That’s been the approach) all year long. The only thing we really show on the opposing team is special teams. We have an idea what to expect 5-on-5, but in today’s game, at least he way I feel about it, is it’s about you. It’s not about the other team. So we’re just trying to get better as we go along here.”
On the home struggles and what element he’d like to bring to a home game:
“Win it. Win a home game. I get asked that all the time, as far as what’s going on at home. I can’t put my finger on a specific thing that we can change to help us win. I think we’ve done some really good things at home and lost games, we’ve done some really good things on the road and lost games, we’ve had some good starts here, we’ve had bad starts; same thing on the road. It’s just a matter of when we lose a hockey game … we’ve been competitive all year long, basically, in all our games, other than maybe 3-4 games. It’s just making a big play at a key time, maybe not having a big mistake at a key time. So I can’t differentiate home or away.”
On his four power-play point men:
“I have an idea of what I want to start the game with, when we have (a PP), but I think it depends sometimes. (McCabe) is going to be there, Marc Staal is going to be there, and from there I’m not sure what I’m going to do … I have an idea how I want to start our first, when we get a power play. I have four people that I know I’m going to use. Then as the game goes on, we’ll just see how it goes. … depends on situations, what’s going on with the game, time of the game, all that stuff.”
On whether guys have been told to keep their shots down in practice since the Biron injury:
“Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. We’re trying to score goals. I know someone wrote about it, it got back to me, someone was talking to one of the players: you should just step out of the net and give them (carcillo). I have a pretty good idea who said it. But I don’t believe in that. I think you need to practice hard. We give them enough (cooke) about scoring goals; they’re going to try to score goals. It’s like top players fighting. Everybody worries about breaking their hand. It’s part of the game. And practicing, we ask them to practice as hard as possible, and that includes shooting the puck.”
On Chad Johnson:
“If I played (him) here in this situation—because I think Hank has gotten enough rest—I’m not sure if it’s going to happen, but he has practiced well. It’s certainly not an idea situation to put a guy in, where we’re at right now. But we have confidence in him. He’s practiced very well, and I talk to Ben every day about it. He’s done his work, so push comes to shove, he plays. And then we play in front of him. We have confidence in him.
“I think the schedule is good for us, especially with the rest (Lundqvist) got during the year … he got plenty of rest. I think he’ll play under 70 this year if he plays the rest of these. That’s what we’re looking for, and he’s feeling pretty good about himself right now, so we’ll go with him and see what happens.”
“Aves will play with Step and Zucc.”
“He’s helped our power play. It’s a hard situation for Caber. He comes from (a situation where) he plays 20 minutes. He’s used to playing more. We use our top four a lot, of late, here. We’re very comfortable with our top four. We feel they’re better suited as far as that ice time. And the thing I love about Caber, he’s handled himself very well. It was kind of, and I’m sure it still is, it’s hard for him to sit on the bench because he wants to compete, and wants to make a difference. I just like the way he’s joined in with the club, and how the boys react to him and how he reacts to them. He’s helped our power play, gets the shot through, which is the most important thing, and is just a gamer. I just like his fit. The way we’re trying to play, and what we’re trying to be as a team, I think he has the personality that matches it. We’re trying to (find him more minutes). I just think the other four are better defensively, and we’re playing in such close games, we’re careful there. It’s not like Caber has to learn a whole new system here. We just think the other four guys, and I told Bryan this, that the other four guys, we feel, are better defensively and they’re going to get the lion’s share of certain situations in the game. But I think as he gets more comfortable in his role, we’d like to get him some more. It dictates, as far as what’s going on in the game and who we’re playing and what players we’re playing against.”
“I’ve been impressed with him since he made the team. I wasn’t sure where he was going to be when camp opened, and when camp broke, he made the club on how he played and has developed into a really good player for us—not only defensively. He doesn’t have big numbers, but he scores a huge goal for us the other night. He’s really good, not as far as joining the rush, but with the way we try to forecheck and rotate pucks and grind underneath the hash. He’s really good at jumping in at the right times.”