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Tortorella from training camp (updated)

Posted By On September 16, 2011 @ 10:26 pm In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 32 Comments

UPDATE: Here is my story on Brandon Prust from The Journal News and LoHud.com [1] today.

Sorry this is so late … had some major car snafu Friday. Hope to be able to get to camp for most of the session, if not all, Saturday. We’ll see. No promises.

Here is the transcript from the coach.

John Tortorella:

“Artie, going through the physical, they just want to check his knee out. He’s getting an MRI now (turned up negative). Michael Sauer has had some tendinitis/groin/behind the knee. So we kept him off for precautionry (reasons) today. Hopefully it’ll calm down.

“Gabby should be back in (Thursday afternoon). And he’ll get his tests done one way along the way here.

Concern on Sauer: “Yeah, whenever anybody’s been out and it’s been lingering a little bit here, it’s a concern. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but we just want to get that tendinitis, and we just want to get him skating again. He’s tried to get on the ice, so whenever you start talking about those situations … I don’t think anything’s real serious but it is a concern because he missed a day.”

On the tests:

“I think you can tell … part of the reason we do the testing is because of the training you have to go through in the summertime, when we can’t touch them, to do this test. That’s a shift. It’s a 40-second skate basically. Some guys it’s 37, some guys it’s 38 seconds, depending. But we’re just looking for specificity as best we can in training for the summertime. What I look for, as you go through these couple of days, you can tell who’s done their work and I have made it specific to the group that that lets us know what type of situation you have with the hockey club, what you’re looking to do to make this hockey team, or to stay within a position with the hockey club. You can tell pretty quickly the guys that have done their work. And, listen, I can see in this camp already, and in the prior camps, the guys have done their work. I don’t end up worrying too much about that. There’s an occasional case where we’ve gone through it in the past couple of years, guys just aren’t ready. Then they fall behind, and they let us know, ‘OK, this is where I was this summer’ and it certainly shows us, do they want to be here, or are they behind the 8-ball right away?”

Is it mental toughness, too, to be ready for these tests?

“It’s a mental test, too. Some of the things we do along the way in camp here, and not so much with the time testing here in the two days, but we spend a lot of time with our conditioning the first four or five days. It’s a mental type thing, too, yes. and that’s a big part of the game. And it’s big part of how the coaching staff is trying to find out what we have in the athlete. As we’ve gone through, the guys who’ve been here, we know what we have. But there’s new guys here and we want to check them out also. So, sure, there’s mental testing that comes along with it.”

On Gaborik losing close friends in Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra, and whether Tortorella feels the need to talk to him:

“Oh, no. No. We have. I mean, I’ve talked to Gabby right on through this. It’s been a tough summer for hockey in general. I don’t want to make it specific to us or Gabby. It’s been hard for a lot of people. But if you’re asking me about Marian, we have talked right from the get-go when these things have happened, and continue to have a conversation and he’ll be OK. He’ll be OK. Everybody grieves losses of people and it’s been hard for a lot of people. But I believe Gabby will be OK.”

Is it noticable that Boogaard is not around?

“Oh, sure. He’s a teammate. He’s a teammate and, yeah, but it’s important … you have your thoughts about it, but you also mourn, you grieve, but you have to move along with your life and get about your business also. Never forgetting, but also trying to conduct yourself each day.”

On types of LWs who might play with Gaborik and Richards:

“I have no idea. We’re going to try different people there. And I know that’s going to be a hot topic along the way here, right away. … Seriously, I’m going to try different people there. You go through your scrimmage games, there’s going to be people there and, it’s the exhibition season and when you get to the real stuff, is it another talented player where they just keep the puck. Is it a player that needs to go get the puck sometimes. That’s something we have to figure out along the way here and see what meshes. We’ll see how it goes.”

Number of players to take to Europe:

“You’re looking at 30-32, in that area there.”

Will the games vs. the European host teams be better preparation than games against NHL teams:

“I don’t even know how they’re going to be, the compeitition. I think we’re playing on big (ice surfaces). It is what it is. You never know what the exhibition games are going to be, what the other team, even in North America, what lineups they play.

“But, you know … we’re over there, they want to bump you off, which is great. We’ve gone through it. I have a pretty good idea  how we’re going to go about our exhibition season. We’re just going to go about our business and see where it takes us.”

On Wojtek Wolski and how he worked on his skating, etc., this summer:

“Self-evaluation, it’s a very important thing for a player. I’ve always said, if a player self-evaluates himself correctly, then I don’t have to evaluate it. It’s taken care of. But if we don’t think he’s headed down the right road with self-evaluation, we are going to evaluate him as a coach and you never know where that leads, as far as position within a team or position within a line. So that’s very important.

“And I don’t think there’s any question with this coaching staff here, that players know where they stand as far as what they did last year and what we expect out of them the following year. I think Wooly took it to heart. Again, he’ll get a look with Richie and Gabby along the way. How it works out, we’ll see what happens. The players will determine that for us.”

On working on his skating having been strongly suggested to Wolski, and him knowing what’s expected:

“I want to see him in the games. …

“We hope it (helps) him because we’ve been very honest with him as far as our assessment of what we expect. This is a young man that’s bounced around on teams at a young age. You never know when that clicks in mentally as far as, you know, ‘Wake up here; what’s going on?’ I like the guy. But I’m not interested in a bunch of rhetoric. We need to see it on the ice consistently. And he’ll have a great opportunity because he’s going to get a chance to play with some pretty good players here. So we hope someone who gets that opportunity is going to grab it and make it work.

“He’s an intelligent kid, a sharp kid, I think (he understands that he’s bounced around for a reason). It’s been accepting the responsibility of what’s going on.”

On the decision to make Callahan captain:

“Well, the best way I can put that is, we have worked hard the past couple of years to try and create an identity with this hockey club and how we want to go about our business and who we are. We made strides last year. I thought we did a really good job of really trying to play the right way. He is it. That’s why I think it’s such great timing for him to be our captain. Chris Drury was a terrific captain, a veteran captain. Cally’s home-grown right on through this organization, and he is how we play. How he handled himself off the ice, all the things we’re trying to create here, it’s there. It’s a great situation to have him with us.”

On Michael Del Zotto:

“There’s a number of things. I think he looks like he’s in really good shape. We want him to have his swagger. That’s very important for a player like Michael, to have a swagger about himself, but it also needs to be the proper swagger.

“I know Michael is really, I think he’s going to have a really good camp. I think he’s beginning to understand what we expect, and still just a young player. This is trying to become a pro, both on and off the ice. I think that’s very important for him to do the things he does best, because he can pass the puck, he can do a lot of good things. It’s just staying within yourself also as far as handling yourself with success and how you handle yourself when you’re not playing that well. And that is maturation. That takes time. That’s a key thing we’re going to look for from Mike, because he’s still in the process. He goes down (to Connecticut) which I think is really good for him, for him to be down in the minors and play last year. It probably should have happened the year before. But I think he’s handled himself well in those situations. I’m really anxious to see how he goes about his business in camp here.”

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[1] Here is my story on Brandon Prust from The Journal News and LoHud.com: http://www.lohud.com/article/20110917/SPORTS01/109170337/Rangers-Prust-keep-up-fight?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports