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Tortorella post-game presser

Posted By Carp On January 2, 2012 @ 9:37 pm In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 5 Comments

Courtesy of ASAP Sports:

Q.  Can you explain the changes in personnel you made and the effect you thought that had on the game?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Well, we were still?? no one in particular.  And again, big problem with our game, the first half of that game, was just not having the puck; they had the puck more.
So we just felt we needed to try to change something, and I’m not sure if that has an effect or not.  We just played better.  In the third period, we ended up getting to our game underneath the hash marks.  I thought we did a really good job going zone to zone, not trying to be to fancy, just trying to gain zone, and then I thought we gained some momentum.

Q.  Can you talk about the first goal by Rupp and how important that was?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  It was a key moment of the game, because they have all of the momentum on their side.  And again, the game is a series of momentums; how quickly you can get it back your way, versus losing it.  And we go down 3?0, that’s tough sledding as far as trying to come back there.
So we end up scoring the next goal in the game and it puts you right back in.  We have been a good third?period team all year long.  We just wanted to try to get pucks to the net and grind away.  I thought we really started grinding.  And really, in the conditions, that’s the only way you’re going to be able to play.
So really, it suited well for us.  I don’t think we did a good job the first half but we found ourselves as we went on.

Q.  You’ve relied on the line so much; your thoughts on why you put those guys together when the outside world saw a different combination, probably, when you signed Brad?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  As far as Richie and Gaby?  Honestly, when I first saw it, after just a couple of days and a couple of games, I just didn’t like it at all.  I just?? it just didn’t seem to work.  There was really no chemistry.
Now who is to say it may happen later on, you never know what goes on, but we made that switch and Stepan and him married one another, just as far as seeing?? it just worked.
So we are still trying to figure out?? I thought when we put Dubi up there it really helped.  Hags has been there as a young kid, and Dubi’s game is beginning to come.  We tried to that night and that helped.
Step’s line has been good.  I know they were not on the board tonight but that’s one line we have kept because they have been good.

Q.  The first goal, obviously you needed it and you got it, but when you take a step back, how happy are you for Mike to get one for the first time since the injury?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I am happy for him and Pruster, two guys I’m trying to find ice for.  We have had some guys playing pretty well.  They have been like four?, five?minute guys and plus they do the heavy lifting when it comes to that kind of stuff.
I just don’t want them to think that’s their only role.  That’s the big reason why we signed him, we know he can play.  We know Pruster can play.  It’s been a little bit of a struggle.
To see them ignite us a little bit?? not only me, but the team, I think that’s important.  They are glue guys.  They are very important to the team in the room, and I think everybody pulls for those type of players, because they know they are being taken care of on the ice with them, and so it was a good thing to see.

Q.  The goal from riche to get the lead, and put the game in your column, how important is the work that Dubinsky does, and Callahan, as well, on that play to set it up?
JOHN TORTORELLA:   Yeah, it’s the way we have to play, it’s keeping underneath the hash mark, it’s keeping the puck, and again, we didn’t have much of that in the first half of the game.  And that’s a big reason why we tried to put those two guys together, just to grind.
I don’t think Richie’s line was playing well with Hags, him and Cally, and I thought Dubi was really good offensively.  He struggled defensively on the boards in the second period, but offensively, he was finishing his checks.  He held on to the pucks.
That’s the way we have to play.  You know, we have some talent, but we are not the most gifted team and we have developed an identity and I think the guys?? the onus, they have to accept the responsibility, because they have developed this on their own as far as that identity, and that’s the way we have to play.  That’s a big reason why we found our way tonight.

Q.  You’ve beaten the Flyers three times this year and twice last year.  Just talk about now what you guys do right against the Flyers.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  It’s not so much the Flyers.  I think we are a pretty good third?period team.  That’s what frustrated me in the Washington game when we lost a couple nights ago 4?1.  We didn’t stay with it.  We turned pucks over in the neutral zone.
Tonight I thought we gathered ourselves and when we struggled during the middle part of the game simply gained zones and didn’t turn it over and got into our forecheck.
It’s not?? I know you guys like talking about adjustments and did you adjust here and did you adjust there; we tried to not make any adjustments.  We tried to execute how we need to play.
I think you can over?coach sometimes, instead of just staying with it, and for the first part of this year, almost the first half of this year, that’s been a really big?? it’s a positive with such a young team to have that maturity as far as just staying with it.  That’s what I thought we did tonight.

Q.  Can you give us some quick impressions of the prominent rookies of the Flyers, like Sean Courturier, Schenn and Read?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I don’t want to talk about the Flyers.  I’m not talking about the Flyers.

Q.  There’s been some talk about New York trying to host the Winter Classic at some point down the road.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Why are you going to ask me about that?  I have no idea.

Q.  I know that.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Okay.

Q.  But over your experience after the past month, how would you feel about it?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Listen, it’s been a great experience, it has.  I think that they have?? they certainly have shown us as an organization, the people doing it, certainly understand how they need to handle themselves.  They are impressive as far as how they show respect as far as our business.
So absolutely.  The players loved it, and it’s such a great experience.  I look at some of the family things that these players are going to be able to have on film with their family at such a young age when they grow up and to see this, it’s great stuff.
So I have no problem being involved in this, because they have really?? it’s a first?class outfit as far as how they went about their business.
And so we’ll see what happens.

Q.  What did you see out of Staal’s game tonight, and do you feel his presence in the lineup gave your guys a lift?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Yeah, I did.  The game was pretty quick for him.  He readily admitted early on those first few shifts, and there was some mistakes here and there, but it’s great to have him in the lineup.
I feel terrible about taking Jeff out leading up.  He’s been in that lineup ready to play this type of game right up until last night after the meal.  I don’t feel great about that, but he was terrific when I talked to him.  He understands that if Marc Staal says yes to me, he’s going to play.
We are going to slowly get him about.  There’s some work to do.  Even a player?? without a concussion, a player that misses camp, it’s a struggle.  So we have to be really cognizant of how we use him and not put him in a situation where he doesn’t get his game back.
But he’ll be there.  He’s going to be a very important guy as we go along here.

Q.  Obviously with that penalty shot safe, just talk us through obviously how good he played today.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  He played very well.  He made some key saves at key times.  Early on in the first period there were a couple of breakaways, we had break downs and he makes the saves there.  He got a little sloppy through the middle of it, and the call, the penalty shot which I still don’t understand; we felt pretty confident.
For people that know him, he’s pretty good at it.  And so he was put right on the center stage there and answered.  It was good stuff.

Q.  You just touched on it, the penalty shot and the few calls late, that they could have been made for the event; were you thinking the same thing?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I’m not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game.  It started with the non?call on Gaby’s, and he gets pitchforked in the stomach and everything starts going against us.  So for two good refs, I thought the game was reffed horribly.
So I’m not sure what happened there.  Maybe they wanted to get into overtime.  I’m not sure if they had meetings about that or what.  But we stood in there.  We stood in there.  And again, I don’t want to?? because they are good guys.  I just thought tonight, it was?? in that third period, it was disgusting.

Q.  Can you comment on the road from here to the playoffs in the Eastern Division, especially with the Flyers who you have great games against?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Oh, we are not even thinking about playoffs.  We’re thinking about, we have an off?day tomorrow so we can get ourselves together.  We had been on the road for a week prior to this game.  That doesn’t even come into our thinking.  If we start thinking ahead with more than half the season left, we are going to forget some of the beats we need to go through.
So we are going day?to?day and just?? I think we have Florida next with our games, so that’s all we are worried about; a day off, practice, and be ready to play Florida.

Q.  I know you touched on Rupp a little bit, had such a choppy season with the injury, but a guy who has scored big goals in his career; how big is it to get him going, in an event like this, too, to get two.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I’ve been very happy for him because it’s been very frustrating for him because really he has not even?? from the get go, he was banged up and he really has not joined in understanding our team concept.
But I’ll tell you what he did right away before he steps on to the ice.  There’s a respect he brings to that room and he’s a great pro and he brings an intangible.  And Brad does the same thing, brings an intangible to a room with a really young core that need it.
And he has stepped up there.  He’s such a great teammate.  As I said, being a part of this type of game?? tip your hat I guess, and I guess probably give him the hat, boys rally around him.  They are happy for him.  So I am, too.  Him and Pruster, they are two important guys as far as the glue of our hockey club, so I’m glad he stepped up tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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