Tortorella (Part II):


John Tortorella (continued):

I said that on breakup day he mentioned the need to upgrade the skill level, and that July 1 is an opportunity to do that without altering the plan of staying with the youth, and asked how crucial tomorrow is.

“It’s an important day for us because I think it’s a day where you have an opportunity to improve your team. See, I think we’re in a situation with our club right now where, the past couple of years, we’ve kept our assets. We’ve developed our assets and stayed with it here. And there’s a point in time where you’ve got to say, ‘OK, they’re growing; we have a good solid foundation,’ Now you start looking at other areas where you add, maybe from outside the organization — free agency, a trade, whatever it may be.

“I think we’re there. I really like the way Glen has stayed with it as far as allowing us, with our kids, to grow. And I think we have a really strong foundation. So we’re at, I think,  a different stage of the process. And July 1 certainly comes into play.”

I asked if he is optimistic that something can get done:

“I have no idea what will happen. Come July 1, it’s such a frenzy, you never know what’s going to happen. I just know our whole thinking is, we’d like to improve our team in certain areas, not just one particular area. You never know where it leads to. I know Glen and the whole organization feels, ‘OK, there’s our kids, there’s our foundation, now let’s see where we can add and continue to try to get better.’ And there may be a situation where, you know what? … that didn’t work, let’s not add just for the sake of adding. Stay with it. That’s a key come July 1 because it turns into such a frenzy that you get a little crazy. If it isn’t what we need, and it isn’t the right piece that we need right now, then we have to stay pat and continue to develop.”

On the prospects camp so far:

“They’ve had a good camp. You’ve got to remember, these guys, it’s the middle of June and we’re putting them through paces and they’ve done a lot here in the past few days. I like the way camp’s gone. It gives us a chance to see some kids that we had in last year’s camp, even in the big camp, to see how they’ve grown. And you get to see some of the guys we got this year. Maybe even a couple of surprises that we weren’t even sure of. That’s what you hope happens here. As far as the work ethic and what was accomplished in this camp, it’s been terrific, for June. And some of these guy haven’t even been on skates. For the time of year, they’ve done a really good job.”

On how involved he gets in the recruitment of free agents once July 1 rolls around:

“I’ve gotten on the phone a couple of times.  I got on the phone with Gabby once we did sign him. Gabby was worried about camp, because he heard so much about camp and I wanted to explain to him … (laughs). So it’s not so much prior (to signing). It’s getting to him right away. And you know what I’m telling him. I’m telling him to make sure he’s in shape because we’re going at it hard right away in camp. So it’s not so much me. …

“As far as talking people into it? I don’t believe in talking people into something. If they don’t want to be here, we don’t want them. So I haven’t really done much of that. It’s been more after-hand, trying to get them into the program right away.”

(I later asked him if, after talking to Gaborik that day, the Rangers had to come up with even more money. He laughed).

On getting guys who fit in:

“It’s not difficult. You don’t have all the information. You think you may have the information on that particular player, but it happens with all teams, where it wasn’t really the true information. I think you have to be careful when you’re always looking to the free agent and maybe there’s another guy that maybe we do know. He may be the better answer than looking to get somebody you think is better than that guy. So you have to be really careful there. We’ve gone through the list.

“I liked our team last year, and I said it then and I’ll say it again today. I think we have to improve in some areas. We all know the areas we have to improve in. But I just don’t want to force-feed because there’s some guys that played with us last year that are free (agents) that we should have interest in as we go along the way here, that we know, and they know us. So you have to be careful in that situation, where you want to keep changing things over. I don’t think it’s a good thing. I think that’s what we’ve done the past couple of years, is stay with it here.”

On Glen Sather saying you can never have enough defensemen, and whether Steve Eminger might be a guy they look to re-sign:

“Yeah. You’re always looking for defense. Emmy falls into that category. We know what Emmy is. We put him on both sides. I thought he played with a lot of bite in his game. There were struggles at times. But he gave us some good minutes most of the time, basically playing out of position most of the year. So you don’t have to keep combing down the free-agent list and forcing yourself to get maybe that sixth or seventh D from another team when maybe Emmy is the guy.

“I’m not saying he is. It’s a great question. Look at Fedotenko. Same thing. You go down that list. We know what Feds did, and if it isn’t good on that list, maybe Feds is the guy. So that’s where you have to be careful, always looking to try to get someone else, where we already  know who these guys are, and they know who we are.”

On keeping other UFAs, including Matt Gilroy and Vinny Prospal:

“I have interest in those guys. I thought Gilly has gone through a process that he continues to go through, and probably will continue. But I saw improvement in him in the last quarter of the year. I thought he had a good playoff. So, yeah. I have interest in Gilly. Vinny Prospal’s a guy that, again, left here … I stayed a month after the season and he was here working every day. He’s a guy that, I think he has to wait his turn to see what happens. I think that’s a world he lives in now as a player, not only for us but for other teams. We’ll see how it goes. But I’m certainly not going to say we’re done with Vinny Prospal. It would be wrong to say that because I still have interest in him. I do.”

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  1. Carped:

    Carp, thanks for the write up of Torts quotes and ?Torts-isms? !!!

    ?But you just got to roll with it and just stay within our selves and keep our focus.?

    LOL! That is great advice for life in general!!

  2. wicky(grating PIBG)© (Non visor wearing male, 26, holder of 5 LLPs!!) on

    cccp is absolutely correct (great post) about drury!

  3. Do you get the impression Vinny might get a 1-year deal if we dont win the Brad Richards sweepstakes tomorrow?

  4. And This One Will Last A Lifetime on

    Goodbye Eminger, Gilroy, and Prospal

    Feds…I hope he returns

    I hope some more kids make the team

  5. A Not So Secret Laurel Admirer on

    I hope the NFL and NBA miss an entire year as well. That would mean one less year in the career of that criminal, kevin garnett, the guy who insults those who suffer or suffered from cancer, and the other criminal, tom brady, the guy who has innocent onlookers shot at during his wedding. :)

    Good luck to the Mama Bear on her interview tomorrow! Get better soon, Lat! I cant in good conscience wish Drury well after he helped knock us out of the playoffs prior to coming to us, even though he’s a good guy and a Yankees fan.

  6. Awwwwww…don’t start making me sad in advance Carp!

    C3, lovely post on Dru.

    I’ll say it again, I like what I’m hearing from Torts. Slats, please listen!!!! LGR!

  7. A Not So Secret Laurel Admirer on

    I also really hope, wish, and pray that nothing bad happened to Jaro. Im really sick and nervous about the whole thing. I will be absolutely devastated if something has happened to him. Please be okay, JaJa, you’re a hero to a great many people, including myself.

  8. A Not So Secret Laurel Admirer on

    Prospal is too old and unreliable due to injuries. Feds is a nice piece of a playoff team’s puzzle; he helped us last year, I want him back. Gilroy, nope! Eminger as a 7th Dman, yep!

  9. Not going to worry about role players. we have enough of them between the market and the AHL. We need a legitimate first line and to keep our core in tact. With that said I’m ready for Free agency to begin

  10. “Although Drury was grossly overpaid, it wasn’t his fault. It was dumb fugg sather’s fault for offering up such an asinine contract”

    You don’t think Drury didn’t go out and tell teams, “If you want me to play for you this is how much you have to pay.” Do you think that teams just started throwing money at him? No, Drury and his agent told teams how much they wanted. Yes, Sather could have told him to take a hike and somebody else would have paid him as much. However, don’t give me “it wasn’t his fault” BS. He got what he demanded.

  11. “Prospal is too old and unreliable due to injuries.”

    Could probably say the same thing about Richards in a couple of years…difference being that Vinny’s willing to play for a lot less and is a great leader in the room…

  12. Gift of GAB-orik on

    “However, don’t give me “it wasn’t his fault” BS. He got what he demanded.”

    I disagree. He agreed to an offer. Players don’t put guns to the heads of GM’s. It is on the GM to make the offer to the player, and the player decides to accept or not.

    —I wouldn’t say no to 7 million a year, neither would you.

    But i wouldn’t call it ‘demanding’.

    Don’t blame the player for the contract, you can only blame the player for the performance.

  13. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    ORR – You really think if the NBA and the NFL have lock-out seasons ESPN will have nothing to talk about? About 75% of sports “news” and blog discussions these days centers around contract negotiations, salary cap manipulations, impending strikes, crimes alledgedly commited by athletes, college athletes talking booster support under the table, steroid and drug usage, D.U.I. arrests, and kids leaving college early to enter the draft. “Meanwhile, back at the ranch house the Rangers beat the Devils, 5-4,” is just filler to round out the hour.

    Don’t worry about ESPN and the networks sports divisions. They will never go out of business just because there are no games going on.

  14. oh so we now defending Sather? lovely…

    Sather has a track record for grossly overpaying for EVERY SINGLE FA! i don’t have to point out details. Drury and Gomez deals were what Sather has done and will do again and again and again. And don’t give me “his agent did this, and Drury demanded that” BS…cuz quite frankly, none of us know who did what.

    And again, Sather was the one who signed those players… nobody else, but him.

  15. Yeah, I suppose ESPN will have their hands full with Yankees steroid scandals, Mark Sanchez potentially sleeping with an underage chick, and all the NBA, and NFL arrests. They’ll have lots to talk aboot.

  16. You don’t think star players establish a salary that they’re willing to accept? Yes, like I said, Sather could have told him to take a hike, but this BS it’s not Drury’s fault Sather paid him that much, is just that. They do have a say in how much they are paid by demanding a certain salary. Now, it’s up to the team to say go away or not.

    What is all this discussion about Richards contract demands? The detractors are saying that “he wants too much money.” So, are you saying that the player has no say in the negotiations? Baloney!

  17. It’s the media who says all of those things…have you ever heard a player actually come out and say “Hey, i want a lot of money for my services…” no… all you ever hear is media talk… that’s it :)

  18. Wicky (Leeloo Dallas mul-ti-pass) on

    I find sather about 50% responsible on both good and bad free agent signings. I think if the organization has clear holes (it does) and there are limited options out there, he overpays to get what the organization seemingly needs. Once he does that, it is on the coaching staff to play psychologist and mentor and teacher and whatever else to get them to produce and contribute.

  19. Mister Delaware on

    “The detractors are saying that “he wants too much money.” So, are you saying that the player has no say in the negotiations?”

    The player has no say on whether the negotiations are successful. Drury can “demand” $7MM per year but if no team is willing to meet his demand, he doesn’t get $7MM. Its not like there’s some magic payment fairy that ensures a certain benchmark and the GM just has to accept it. Like if I start a t-shirt company and charge $400 each, its entirely 100% your fault if you buy one of my t-shirts, no matter how soft and comfortable they may be.

  20. Joni Mitchell?

    How much are we paying Barb Underhill and does that amount count towards the cap?

  21. Blame Drury’s agent for being a good agent :)

    Blame Sather for signing Drury instead of Briere :P

  22. Actually, it’s a good thing Slats didn’t sign Briere. If Flyers didn’t have Briere, then they would have kept Richard or Carter, possibly.

    Slats thinking ahead. That’s why he’s a HOF’er!

  23. Gift of GAB-orik on

    I’m not wasting anymore time with cyclical arguments about who is or isn’t to blame for big contracts.

    Our GM is about to do it again. And we can have this same argument in 3-4 years if Brad Richards gets signed and doesn’t put up 90 points a season and we still didn’t win the cup.

  24. LOL! Yeah, that’s a good way of looking at it…

    Good ‘ol Slats, always thinking…

  25. Rangers vs. Capitals Game 3 tonight. this one will have a happier ending. I would rather watch that than anything else on right now.

  26. eric,

    Neither of those teams have the cap space for Richards and still have room to re-sign their RFAs (let alone UFAs).

  27. ct blue

    its called getting creative and creating some space. i wouldnt be surprised if they make room. is it likely prob not but its a gut feeling.

    the richards and carter trades dont add up. something fishy going on with flyers.

    the caps need a 2nd center behind backstrom. playoff failures could lead to some changes and tweaks.

    its a gut feelin

  28. colorado signs o byrne for 2 years 3.6 1.8 per season.

    montador getting 2.75 and now this. what a waste of money

  29. Or, call now and I’ll give you a second T-shirt at half price. That’s two T-shirts for $600. Wait. Order in the next half an hour and I’ll throw in a third T-shirt absolutely free.

  30. What about Fleishmann as a backup plan? He’s a good player…his value probably dropped and could be a good signing for a year or 2…

  31. you are wrong. dead wrong. the players’ AGENT holds a gun to the head of the GM, not literally of course. but the agent DEMANDS a certain amount of dough, and he shops around to pit one team against another, even lying about offers to artificially increase bids.

    just look at the bullcrap Jagr’s agent is pulling right now. Svoboda promised teams that he would make a decision, then pulled back and tried to get more teams in to increase the offers. then goes silent to try to force desperation increases

    and this agent, Svoboda, is a former nhl player. so that gives you an idea about how underhanded and weasel-like they are .

    and you can bet that Drury’s agent and Gomez’ agent pulled that same type of crap when they signed those big contracts in NY. sure, Sather could have walked away, and that is his fault. but don’t tell me Drury has clean hands and “class” in getting that contract. if he had class, he would not have left the Sabres for simply more bucks.

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