First, three things. The NHL’s Vezina Trophy finalists are out, and Henrik Lundqvist isn’t one of them. The three are Tim Thomas, Roberto (Meltdown) Luongo and Pekka Rinne.
Also, did you see that Brad Ference got a small, slap-on-the-wrist fine for giving the finger to the fans in Montreal. What another joke league discipline has become. Imagine if Sean Avery did that? And, again, Matt Cooke has to be wondering why he has to sit out the whole first round when everybody else is getting one puny game for all these filthy hits and attacks during the playoffs.
I believe that the Rangers, down 3-1, have a better chance of winning their series than the Knicks, down 2-0, have. Over at our Knicks blog, we have an interview with Charles Oakley, for those of you who follow both teams.
More John Tortorella:
On whether he changes the way he prepares his team, and if it’s any different in this situation:
“I’m not going to get into a bunch of rhetoric about it, but I have thoughts how you handle this situation, how I like to prepare. But this team here, teams are always different as you coach them. I think as a coach you need to be careful what your personnel are, what you think will help them most in this type of situation. That’s what we’ve done. And we still have some steps to go before we step on the ice. But we’re ready to play. I don’t know how many different ways I can tell you. We’ll be ready to play.”
On whether he coaches differently, i.e. changing things up earlier if need be, in an elimination game:
“I go into every game that way. It depends on what situation you’re talking about. We can’t sit here and talk about ‘This is going to happen.’ I do that every game. So I don’t think … This is a … I know if we lose we’re done, so there’s certainly certain situations that will be different, then starting early in a series, Game 1 in the first period. So, yes, I’ll give you that.”
On whether he’s been surprised that Washington has been able to rally against a team that’s been so good in third periods:
“Yeah, it’s been a big part of the series. Again, I thought in the first game we were playing our best hockey going with the lead going into the third period. We had a busted play in the neutral zone, they whack away at it, they score a goal. But this is what happens in playoff hockey. You see a lot of different things. But certainly that’s a situation we hope to improve as we keep on playing here because it has been one of our strengths throughout the year. But playoffs, regular season, it’s a whole different animal.
“I think some of it comes through experience, too, going through some of these things, learning and acting differently. I think that’s very important as a team tries to gain experience in those tight, pressure-type situations.”
On changing lines or personnel:
“I could be bouncing people around on lines, depending on how the game’s going, momentums of games. But as far as personnel, the personnel will stay the same. The lines, that could change as we go right on through.”
Same thing on the PP?
“It depends. I don’t have an answer. … It goes with everything. It depends on what I think is happening with certain players, how they’re going. As far as the power play, again, I think we’ll go into a game with units that we like and we’d like to give an opportunity to, then we’ll see as the game goes on.”
On a reason why all the games have been 0-0 after one period:
“I don’t have a reason. I don’t have one. … I don’t know. The games have been tight. There were obviously more scoring chances in the last game … I don’t have a reason. I don’t think it’s affected the games. The games have been tight. There were obviously more scoring chancess in the last game and we played quite a bit longer. I don’t have a reason. I think both teams have defened pretty well. Both teams have made some mistakes along the way. And so you keep on playing. We’re not changing our style or what we need to do to try to win our next game. I’m sure they’re going through the same thing. It’s been a pretty good series that way as far as teams going hard. It’s been a hard series to get some ice. So I’m sure it will be very similar for our next game.”
On Neuvirth controlling rebounds well:
“I’m not talking about anybody from Washington.”
Is there anything they can do to get more rebounds?
“Yeah, as always, you’re always trying to put the puck to the net, you always want to get people there, and for a number of minutes we’ve done a pretty good job of that. We’re going to continue to try.”
On Drury being good on faceoffs, and whether that will earn him PP time:
“I’m not sure. I’m note sure.”