An unusually reflective John Tortorella and a handful of players were available today after the Rangers met at the Garden. They talked as a team around 1:30 before taking the ice for a quick skate about a half hour later.
Among other things, Tortorella discussed the leadership of Brad Richards, the progression of Marc Staal, the two-way play of Anton Stralman since his benching and what John Mitchell has added recently and what he wants to see before the fourth-line centers earns more ice time.
The most interesting portion of Tortorella’s press conference was about his relationship with Richards. The coach isn’t exactly known to share his feelings, but he admitted this about he and the former Conn Smythe winner:
“There’s a relationship there. I’m not going to hide from that at all,” Tortorella said. “He’s done a lot of great things and helped teams that I’ve coached win. When you get involved in that and you go through the ups and downs of that — and him and I have — sure you’re going to develop a relationship.”
As what has made Richards so special as a player, Tortorella said, “He’s got ‘it.’ He just has it. … I’ve known him since he was a kid when he broke into the league and he’s made big plays at key times.”
A few other quick notes:
• The NHL said Richards’ tying goal was actually scored with 7.6 seconds remaining — not 6.6. Although the clock read 6.6 after the goal, it was actually 7.6 for the ensuing draw.
Just about everyone, including us, reported it as 6.6. So did the official box score. But the AP had it as 7.6 and the league has now deemed that correct.
So file that “7.6” away in the “in case you need to remember is forever” folder in your brain, fans.
• Carl Hagelin’s lip looked swollen, but no worse for the wear.
• Mats Zuccarello (broken wrist) was among the Rangers who skated at practice. He did a little puck handling with the team.
• The team’s headed down on the train this afternoon. It will skate prior to Game 6 tomorrow morning.
For more from Tortorella on Richards, Stralman and Mitchell, and for thoughts from Richards, Mike Rupp and Michael Del Zotto on Game 6, check out the audio clips below:
John Tortorella:[audio:http://lohud.com/audio/rangers/20120508 torts.MP3]
Brad Richards:[audio:http://lohud.com/audio/rangers/20120508 richards.MP3]
Michael Del Zotto:[audio:http://lohud.com/audio/rangers/20120508 mdz.MP3]
Mike Rupp:[audio:http://lohud.com/audio/rangers/20120508 rupp.MP3]