Hey, folks. I’m in for Carp.
Just a few quick updates from today’s skate at the Garden:
• Much of the discussion with John Tortorella, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi focused on the team’s willingness to block shots. It toyed with the Devils in Game 1 and has obviously been a key part of the Rangers’ defensive philosophy under Tortorella.
Girardi said he never really blocked shots until he joined Hartford. His AHL coach there, Jim Schoenfeld, emphasized it. The defenseman has come to focus even more on the unenvious task the last few seasons under Tortorella.
• Talk also centered around the combination of McDonagh and Girardi, who have formed an ideal top defensive pair. No one knew if it would work. Now? “I’m not sure I’ll ever split them up,” Tortorella said.
You can listen to plenty on those topics in the audio files below. Also, find out what led to Tortorella saying, “This isn’t golf.”
• The coach said the last two series was unrelated with this one, but both Ryan Callahan and McDonagh expressed a desire to play better in Game 2 tomorrow night. As you know, the Rangers lost Game 2 against Ottawa and Washington after posting solid wins in Game 1.
• Derek Stepan said he hurt his right foot blocking a shot late in the first period. He hobbled to the bench but never missed a shift. The big toe on his right foot was taped up today.
On the broadcast last night, Tortorella was seen yelling at Stepan on the bench prior to the blocked shot. I asked if there was any connection. “He thought I needed a spark,” Stepan said.
• Tortorella said his team’s defense played the same way during the 2004 Cup run in Tampa. Ruslan Fedotenko conceded there was truth to that, but said, “If you don’t adapt, you’ll be gone.”
So…clearly, not quite the same.
• Perhaps my favorite quote of the day came from Chris Kreider. Does he still live out of a suitcase? Yes. “But it’s a pretty big suitcase,” he said.