Here’s the John Tortorella transcript, from the NHL:
An interview with:
NEW YORK RANGERS COACH TORTORELLA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Tortorella.
Q. John, can you just look back to yesterday’s game and tell me some
of the positives you saw from your team?
COACH TORTORELLA: To be honest with you, not many. I thought we
played some minutes in the second period, found a way to score some
power-play goals; but other than that, we didn’t play enough minutes.
Q. Historically you’ve rewarded players that play hard with more ice
time and more responsibility. And conversely, players who don’t do the
things you want see less of that. What is the importance of sending that
message not just to the individual but the entire team?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think all coaches do it. You’re trying to put
players into situations that are going to try to help you to win games or
help you in certain situations and momentum swings. Conversely, some guys
when you just don’t think it’s working, they don’t see the ice or they
don’t get the minutes. So those are decisions that we make every game.
You guys like calling them benchings and all that stuff, but as
coaches we’re trying to find a way to win a hockey game, and we make
Q. How do you address your team’s recent trend of not being able to
capitalize on those strong Game 1 wins in these three series here?
COACH TORTORELLA: We don’t spend too much time. You have a
short-term memory come playoff time. Playoffs are a whole different
animal. We don’t spend too much time talking about streaks. We just spend
time trying to make corrections in our game, trying to be better in the
things we think we need to be better for our next game and go about our
Q. Throughout the three series it seems that it’s been one up and
one down for most of the time. Do you think that’s because there’s so much
parity among these teams?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, when you’re in the playoffs, all the teams
are good teams. If you want to use parity, use it. Again, as I said
earlier, you throw out the seedings. These are good hockey teams that are
playing this time of the year, especially when you get to the final four.
The teams must be doing something right. We do play against another team.
We want to try to win a couple in a row. But the other team doesn’t want
to lose a couple in a row. You play and each team is trying to find their
We didn’t last night. We moved by it. We learned from it, and
hopefully we’re going to be a better team come Saturday.
Q. How much at this point when it comes to bouncing back from a loss
is Xs and Os on the part of you and your coaching, and how much of it has
to happen in the hearts and the minds of the players do they have to just
do it like you’ve been telling them and do it better, or do you change the
game plan to any extent?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, at least this team here feels we like the
way our team concept is. We have a way we like to play. I think in
situations it’s different. If you’re asking about Saturday’s situation, I
think it’s both. I think there are some corrections in our game we have to
make, but I also think at this time of the year I know everybody likes
talking about adjustments.
But it simply comes down to a little bit of will and a mindset.
Going into Saturday’s game, I think we fall into both categories.
Q. Which category is it more so with Marian Gaborik for you? Is it
will or executing a game plan?
COACH TORTORELLA: I’m not going to get into individual players. I
think as you go into Playoffs and you go into the momentum swings of
winning a game and losing a game, it’s not one individual guy. Certainly
in last night’s game, it wasn’t one individual guy that we end up on the
wrong side of that. There are a number of things that we have to be better
at as a team, and certainly, as you said, the two perspectives there. The
Xs and Os and the mental part both come into our play come Saturday.
Q. You’re not going to talk specifically about Gaborik, but when a
guy like him, a goal scorer gets robbed the way he did by Brodeur. In your
history with goal scorers, does that stick in their mind and affect them
later on in the game?
COACH TORTORELLA: It can’t, and I don’t think it does. I think
that’s the greatest thing about these games in the playoffs is handling the
surges, handling situations that don’t go your way. I think the teams that
are still involved in this handle those types of things very well or they
wouldn’t be here. So I don’t look at it that way at all. I speak for
our group. I think our group handles the surges and situations that happen
in games. Whether it be within the team or an individual very well, or we
wouldn’t still be playing.
Q. Everybody knows that hockey is a team sport. But when you look
at the playoffs every team has a guy that goes on a hot streak. You guys
have been playing some good hockey collectively, but are you looking
forward to getting, especially on the offense, getting somebody that could
get to the other gear and get something going on a more consistent basis?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think as you’re involved in the playoffs and the
further you go in it, you’re looking for big plays at key times. We have
found our way. One of the most important ingredients for us to be
consistent and to be able to play at this time of the year is really to
play as a team and not have any one specific guy be the guy.
Having said that, you certainly want big plays at key times. I think
that’s what’s going to — I think that’s what determines a lot of the
winning and losing. Who made that big play. It’s not always an offensive
play, it could be a defensive play.
So to answer your question, I think it’s not just one person that
we’re looking to get hot. We’re looking for the group of them to continue
to play under our team concept, but also someone step up each and every
period or each and every game or a key time to make a big play, and I think
that’s where you find your way.
Q. Would you agree with me that you basically got those big plays at
big times on your defensive side of the game? Your defensemen have given
you, most of the game, some great plays at key moments, and it’s more on
the offensive side that you were not able to get it?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, I think consistency-wise, yeah. I think
we’re looking to get more consistent offensively, at least with our
forecheck to develop some offense going into these two games here in the
series. I think a pretty important play last night is really a defensive
I thought the second goal they scored at the end of the period to tie
it up was a really big play in that game, and that’s not an offensive play,
that’s a defensive play and we get hurt there.
So it could go either way. But certainly, as you play in these close
games, would you like to get a couple of goal lead and all of that. Both
teams would like to do that. So you’re certainly looking for some
offensive people to make big plays at key times.
Q. When you were reviewing the video of the game last night, you
talk about not playing enough minutes. How much credit do you have to give
to the Devils for taking some stuff away. And how much was your team for
not giving you that next gear?
COACH TORTORELLA: I coach our team and that’s all I’ll speak on. We
look for what we do, and we didn’t do for a number of minutes. I’ll put it
to you that way. We just didn’t do for a number of minutes in that game,
and that’s something that needs to be rectified.
Q. I was wondering when you get to this point in the playoffs and
the focus of the entire sport is on you and three other teams, I was
wondering if there were any additional measures you took as a coach to
block out distractions either for yourself or your players to make sure
that your voice is the only one that they hear?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think it’s very important that we’re concerned
about our locker room and what goes on in there. It’s not just listening
to me, it’s listening to some of the experienced people that have been
through some of this stuff. A lot of our guys are new at this as far as
playoffs, let alone playing in the third round.
So I think it’s very important that they listen to their teammates,
whether it be in between games or within the game itself, in between
periods. So that’s what we try to do.
We’re concerned about our locker room. We’re trying to close that
down and just take care of business ourselves there. We really don’t spend
too much time worrying about what you guys are speaking about, and that’s
certainly not trying to be disrespectful, but we certainly don’t.
We have a lot of things that we have in our room that we have to fix,
that we have to deal with, and really block out all the other stuff.