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John Tortorella’s press conference

Posted By On September 21, 2011 @ 6:14 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 209 Comments

Better late than never. This is yesterday’s presser. I won’t be around the team today as it skates in the morning and then flies — that’s right, flies — to Albany for the preseason opener. I’ll be back this evening for a Go Time thread.

Tortorella noted that there’s a rookie game at 1 p.m. at Newark Friday, before the evening showdown with the Devils. He added that he will make cuts “Friday night or Saturday. I have no idea what the number will be, but it will be a big one.”

John Tortorella:

On Chad Kolarik: “He’s getting checked by the doctor as we speak. He told me he went to check someone and his knee kind of buckled.”

Anisimov will finish his testing, and then all will be done. “We’ll get him.” he missed one when he went for an MRI.

On young players fighting to make the roster:

“There’s probably six or seven that are going to get a look at all posotions. This is where you really evaluate to get to the next step of the exhibition series that you play, the six or seven that we play, and we’re going to continue evaluating as far as who’s going to make the big club, or Hartford, too. … for me, there’s six or seven young guys that I’d like to see in some games.”

Staal and Sauer injuries emphasize the young defensemen?:

“Oh, sure. I think Michael’s pretty much straightened out. Staalsie’s a guy we keep on monitoring. Going into the camp, it’s a very young D, so we’re going to keep on looking at guys. That’s a position that, there’s spots wide open there.”

On Tim Erixon:

“He’s a heady player. You can see that he’s a very intelligent player. Moves the puck well and does a lot of good things. Having said that, I haven’t seen him in an exhibition game yet, and we will. We’re really excited about that part of it.

“Want to see him in the exhibition games and see exactly where he sits.”

On Sauer:

“Nothing holding him out. Not sure where he’s going to fit in playing (in the games against the Devils). But as far as resting him, I think he’s over the hump. I think he’s fine. So we’ll just play him when we need to give him a chance in an exhibition game.”

On competitive camp:

“Well, Gordie Clark and his crew are the people looking at kids, drafting the kids. I go back to even Kenny (Gernander) and (assistants J.J. Daigneault and Pat Boller in Connecticut). When we had all the injuries last year we were playing with a lot of the Hartford guys for a good part of the season last year. They came in and did a great job and really did give us an opportunity to get into the playoffs. So organizationally, I think we’ve added to our depth. I think we’ve done a great job down there and with our scouts and player development as far as adding to our depth with drafts and having to come along through out system.

“This is what we want to do. We have a captain that’s come through our system; he’s the captain of our team now. This is what you want to do. So I think you really need to look to give some credit to the people that are out there, watching these games, drafting and the minor-league team that have helped develop them.

Does that really matter?

“Absolutely. Absolutely. In a cap world, and where we’re at right now, I think it’s huge as far as how they feel about it, and the business end from us, how we’re going to go about our business, not just for one year, but as you go along. Again, that’s why I’m excited. I’m excited that Ryan Callahan is the captain of the team. He is one of us. He has gone through the system; been drafted on through and now he’s turned into this. It’s a great example and I think the players really come together with that when you get to your National Hockey League team, the top team in your organization.”

Does that change the dynamics for a Brad Richards coming aboard?:

“Yes. It depends on the person and I know Richie understands that. I know him very well and he understands his place with this team right now, why he’s here. I think he is really looking forward to the mentoring part of it, beause we’re a young club. Our leadership group is very young. Three guys have the letters but we still have a leadership group around them. Brad is going to be part of that, and I think he’s going to serve a very important role, and understand his role, not to come in gangbusters; he just wants to mentor, and I think that’s very important where our team is right now.”

On getting Lundqvist and Biron sharp during the preseason:

“They’ll get a chance. You still got to worry about your minor league team and what’s going to happen down there, where the goalies sit. But our main priority is to get our two goalies (ready) and there’s no question who the two goalies are going to be with this club. So they’re going to get the bulk of the work, but we also want to try to give some guys that we feel are next in the heirarchy there some work along the way here. I don’t want to play Marty and Hank in all these exhibition games. They’re going to play enough in the regular season. So we leave it to Ben (Allaire).”

On Carl Hagelin:

“Well, he can skate. That’s a big plus. We’re trying to be a team that’s attacking and trying to chase down pucks, and he can skate. So he’s one of those kids that’s going to get a look. He’s going to get some games and see if he can sink or swim. It’s going to be up to him, but he’s going to get an opportunity.”

On how a coach deals with the uncertainty of the type of injury that is affecting Marc Staal:

“Yeah, it’s a hard one because you want to be careful. I’m a coach that, I like to,  you need to keep pushing athletes. Sometimes an athlete is sore but really isn’t hurt. That’s dealing with groins or a shoulder or maybe your back, or whatever it may be. We try to push them through it and make then understand that not everybody feels perfect. They still need to get out there and play.

“But this one here, you’ve got to be cautious because it’s not tangible. It’s a very difficult injury and it’s so talked about that you leave it up to the player. You have to trust the player and he needs to communicate with you how he’s doing. That’s what we’re trying to do with Marc. We communicate with him every day and see how he’s going about his business, how he feels after, and we’re going to continue to try to do that.

“I think each player’s different when it comes to injuries, even when it comes to the head injury. But league-wide it’s been really pushed on us that you need to be careful. And I don’t disagree with that. It’s different for each player. I give Marc Staal a tremendous amount of credit. He played last year. He wasn’t dead-on, but he certainly felt he could help the team and he did; you watched how he played. I trust him. That’s the key, is trusting the player. You take away head injuries and talk about injuries period, and sometimes I simply don’t trust a player — that he simply won’t work through it. That’s when I need to step in. But there’s no question I trust this guy here.”

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