Breakup day interviews: Tortorella


The last file today is with the coach. He spoke for about 20 minutes, touching on a number of topics — even violating his own edict that he wouldn’t discuss individual players.

Here it is…

John Tortorella:

[audio: torts.MP3]

Some highlights…

On future expectations for Chris Kreider: “He’s going to go through the process. Who knows what happens next year with him? You guys have him playing 22 minutes on the first line I would think with some of the articles you’ll write before next year. I can predict that.

“I don’t really know him that well, but one thing I do know is that he has a pretty good head on his shoulders. I watched him how he deal with you guys through it all, through all the scrutiny of the city, some of the good things he did. He’s going to understand what the process is all about. We’ll see where it goes.”

On Brad Richards’ adjustment to New York: “As a 31-year-old Conn Smythe winner, and all the stuff that he’s done, this was a different year for him in understanding all the things that come with it. I think he’s going to be better as he starts again next year. It’s easy to say a veteran guy coming in will be able to handle it, but it’s a different animal. He went through a process himself. At that age, at 31, he went through a process coming here.”

On the production of the team’s top offensive weapons, particularly vs. the Devils: “No. I think they tried. I think you need to give Jersey a little credit also in the way they played. There’s no — and I’ve said it many times — your best players need to be your best, and our best weren’t our best enough times.”

On Michael Sauer’s future after his concussion: “It’s a huge question mark. I just saw Michael today for the first time in months. I don’t have a lot of updates, but he’s certainly not where he needs to be to start working out.”

On if the club can count on Sauer next season: “No. Nope. I’ll be honest with you. No. I can’t.”

On infusing more youth into the team: “I’m not calling spots. I’m not going to call positions. But we’re going to give some of the youth an opportunity.”

He mentioned having expectation of contributions early last year from Carl Hagelin and Christian Thomas. Obviously, Hagelin contributed, Thomas didn’t.

“I think that’s so important. We need to keep on back-filling there, as far as adding youth. It’s not going to be given. They’re going to have to earn their spots. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

“I think it’s a young man’s game. I do. I think we have some guys that we’re certainly going to give an opportunity to as we start next year. They’ll sink or swim themselves.”

On if he would suggest Mike Sullivan stay if he is offered a head coaching job: “Absolutely not. Do we want to lose Sully? He’s a huge part of this organization. He’s a huge part of some of these kids’ development. But if you’re asking me, he should be a head coach in this league. It’s amazing how he’s been looked by. He should be a head coach in this league.”

On the value of impending free agent Brandon Prust: “I’ll tell you that we value him. He’s a huge part of our team. That’s all I can say. I love the guy. The intangibles he brings. I think he does a lot. I think he’s had an up and down year. He was getting a lot of minutes. Then he got some minutes. It was an inconsistent year. But as far as his intangibles and what he brings to the locker room, he’s a huge piece to our puzzle.”

On the challenging season of Brandon Dubinsky: “It was a tough year for Dubie. I’m not sure if it was the expectations that are brought upon you when you sign a contract. I think with Dubie, in my mind, before this year started, there was more than Dubie than the way he was playing. And he obviously played better the prior year than this year. So my expectations with Dubie are to not only get back to where he was, but also improve. And that’s not based on this year.”

On bringing new pieces in that might not fit the system: “Yeah, you’re always thinking about that, but you have to be really careful about ruling people out, too. Sometimes, when you think it’s a really good piece, and he may not exactly fit in all the little things you do, you can teach him those things along the way if he really brings you something else. You don’t want to box yourself in here.”


“Listen. We have to work extremely hard to score goals. Along the way, if there’s something that can help there, you find a way to teach your concept, but allow to bring some talent in to allow that to work for you. You can’t get stubborn here, either. We’re not going to lose our identity. I think there’s enough inner-pressure in our room.”

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  1. halfway done listening to all interviews. stopped at stepan. my 15 month old wants me to take him out in his buggy. back to child duty.

    the most depressing news today sauer. i bet he never plays again

  2. Orr – Who is butt-chin? I don’t know why I’m drawing a blank on this.

    On Dubinsky with a high-ankle sprain: Got to give the guy tons of credit. It’s an injury that can take months to fix. I had one several years ago and I couldn’t do anything on skates for close to two months. Granted, I didn’t have nearly the care he does, but still. High-ankle sprains are very painful and not the kind of pain you can manage easily. It’s the sort of thing where you’ll feel fine for a few strides and then you’ll inevitably bend it in just the right way where you feel the sprain. And it’s like you’re right back to when you first did it. That definitely explains why he bowed out of the second round.

  3. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard not to see a correlation between a team geared to this style and system and a lack of scoring. Hopefully they allow some skill to come in and don’t handcuff those players immediately.

  4. thank Josh, Hospodar.

    Chris, I think the correlation is in reverse … they play this way because they lack first-line skill.

  5. Not that I am picking on Torts, but what happened to, “safe is death?” All of the forwards need to be defensively responsible, but you need to let the horses run a little bit more. Other than some more defensive depth, I have no problems with the D. The forwards let this team down… or I should say that certain forwards did. Anisimov, Gaborik, Stepan, and Hagelin needed to do more. Hags gets some slack because in reality, he is a great 3rd liner that can move up when needed to cover for injuries. Step and Anisimov were desperately needed by this team, and they were hot and cold, with more cold than hot. Gaborik is what he is. Elite skills, but not an elite player who takes over and carries a team. So, it would be interesting to see Carp’s take on who is staying and who is going based on what he saw and heard.

  6. Dan, Safe is death went out the window when he saw that Erik Christensen was his No. 1 center, alongside Vinny Prospal, and then when he went to camp with Wojtek Wolski with his No. 1 LW just nine months ago.

  7. Carp, based on your impression of Torts today, do you think he is 2nd guessing why he stayed with the collapsing below the hash marks defensive zone strategy for so long in the Devils series?

  8. I was just teasing, ORR. You know I have a soft spot for you and your life of crime and poor eating choices.

  9. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    If it doesn’t have mammary’s, Orr doesn’t follow it

    …in the mall

  10. I guess that means there will be lots of death for at least one more year. I think most of these guys could really benefit by moving down one position. Dubi, Hagelin, and Cally on the 3rd line makes more sense than having them on the 2nd or 1st.. Talent-wise, Step and AA are soild second liners, but they need to produce and be more consistent. Kreider, in my opinion, has shown that he can grow into the 2nd line as next season progresses. Gab and Richards along with “Future Ranger” Parise would be very nice, although extremely iffy. Boyle and Prust would be a super effective and productive 4th line with Rupp. However, all of that is based on people living up to their talent level, developing consistency, and staying healthy. So, it has a 10% chance of success.

  11. I can’t believe we aren’t hating on Europansies more today of ALL days!

    VinceA forever! -Labor Day- Memorial Day is about hating Europansies and all they stand for.

  12. “I guess that means there will be lots of death for at least one more year”


    Manny, for your information, I’m eating an avocado right now!

    But later on, I might be chomping on some kind of pretzel, jello, whipped cream concoction.

  13. Avocado!?

    I guess that’s OK since most of central, southern America used to be Mexico, right?

  14. Every hockey team must play a system, but if your system nets you 2 goals a game, you may have to tweak it a bit.

  15. I don’t completely understand the question, Papa, but i didn’t get any impression whatsoever that he was second-guessing anything.

  16. There is one way that Torts feels right now:

    “It was a great test to see where this team is at. Now we know and we have to tweak a bit. I thought we played hard and got some good opportunities but, at times, just didn’t get it done, play the right way or in the right area.” – My Impression of Torts

  17. They are building from the net out, so it makes sense that the offense would be the last thing to fall into place. The D fell into place this year. However, now they need to solidify depth on D. Add two of the correct forwards that allow this team to move some other guys down to their proper place, and this team could start lighting the lamp. Kreider is a step in the right direction. If they can’t get Parise, it would be interesting to see if someone like Thomas would be able to be productive this season. Guys like Miller, Fogarty, Yogan, St. Croix, and Fasth are really another 1-2 years from being legit contenders for spots.

  18. High Desert Roberto on

    Yesterday I hiked 7 hours out of the Grand Canyon to learn the Rangers had lost game 6 in overtime.. it was an emotional experience. After reflecting a bit and thinking about the series, it was clear to me that the NYR did not deserve it and that’s a damn shame.

    It was a successful season, beyond my wildest dreams. I booked a trip to the Grand Canyon a year ago and never thought it would interfere with NYR ECF games. I am trying to be grateful and appreciate all the awesome wins and this dramatic run but to get so close only to be ousted by the Devils is profoundly painful and disappointing.

  19. JimboWoodside on

    >>>I am trying to be grateful and appreciate all the awesome wins and this dramatic run but to get so close only to be ousted by the Devils is profoundly painful and disappointing.

    Roberto’s wrap-up of the season mirrors mine, almost to a “T” – great ride, but awful, awful ending. Losing to them will haunt my entire off-season.

  20. You guys realize that the system the Rangers play got a young, not-so-talented team to the EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS. You add a big-time scorer and BOOM. Very, very scary team.

  21. Lloyd Braun on

    just watched the video on BlueShirts United of Tortorella addressing the media. he talked at one point about his excitement at the core of young players they’ve got and how they’re building a foundation that can enable the team to be consistent from one year to the next. he want on to say that a number of guys on the team “get it” and there others who “don’t get it.” he then stated that the organization needs to filter out those players in bring in other players who’ll help the team grow. while I’d love to know who doesn’t get it, the overall tone of his comments suggest that he’s well aware that the roster needs improvement and that means that some of the guys here right now just aren’t going to cut it down the line.

    also, it’s cool when Tortorella takes his game face off a bit and just talks like a normal human being.

  22. Manny, Latona suggested that we sign Evander Kane to an offer sheet. That would be ridiculously amazing…and worth the picks….

  23. e3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my friends on

    JR ‘”Torts, what is the proactive transducer that would have helped win morer?”

    Torts – “why dont you get the byfuglien marbles out of your mouth and for one moment make some sense?”

    JR “Are you saying the distributor is solvent”?

    Torts “do you byguglien rocks in your head?”

  24. Amen, NYR. I have a thing for Evander Kane and I think Latona is RIGHT on the money with that guy.

  25. e3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my friends on

    JR – “early in game 6, something happened and this seemed inflationary”

    Torts – “JR what the byfuglien is wrong with you?”

  26. JimboWoodside on

    You think Lucic is leaving Boston? What is the evidence of that? He’s not a UFA, is he?

  27. JimboWoodside on

    Getting Kane would be great, but I don’t think WPG will let him go – they’ll match any offer we make to him, and as Carp says, offer sheets just don’t get done nowadays..

  28. CARP:

    It was so evident that Cally could BARELY hold his hockey stick! He could BARELY shoot. for goodness sake, his three goals were an EN, and two off of his legs.

    The fact that he would NOT admit an injury and didn’t want to make ANY type of excuses makes me love the guy even more.

    He is everything that you want in a Captain!!!

  29. Well Jimbo, Winnipeg could sign him and trade him. Could happen. They would be able to dictate the terms. They aren’t really that close to a Cup run and all….

  30. You guys want Evander Kane? You think hes this enough to be a first liner for us?

  31. JimboWoodside on

    True, Manny – but they would certainly try to hold us up in any deal – unfortunately, everyone in hockey has been watching these playoffs, and teams know who we have, and who didn’t do squat to help us win throughout all 3 series – they will want our best guys, and refuse the players that we would like to dump on them.

    Also, WPG wasn’t too bad a team last season, and were in the playoff hunt till near the very end, so they’ll want to improve on what they already have, and not trade away their possible future superstar.

  32. Not on cmputer much but i did want to finally wish all a good memorial day.
    in memorium for all who served and all we’ve known and loved

  33. Just getting a bunch of emails from somebody inside the organization, insisting Callahan was NOT injured. was banged up at some point, but was fine in the ECF. … which I think is really odd, because he sure looked hurt all series, with only the left hand on the stick, shaking the right hand a lot, having the right hand in his pocket for interviews, and that one time during the Washington series when he went by the lockerroom with the team doctor and had a t-shirt over his right hand. Gotta say, though, saw his hand a couple of times lately and couldn’t tell if anything was wrong by looking at it.

  34. Let the games begin:

    Zach Parise ($6.700m) / Brad Richards ($6.667m) / Marian Gaborik ($7.500m)
    Chris Kreider ($1.325m) / Evander Kane ($5.000m) / Ryan Callahan ($4.275m)
    Carl Hagelin ($0.875m) / Derek Stepan ($0.875m) / Mats Zuccarello ($1.100m)
    Jed Ortmeyer ($0.585m) / Brian Boyle ($1.700m) / Brandon Prust ($1.275m)
    Ryan McDonagh ($1.300m) / Ryan Suter ($6.000m)
    Dan Girardi ($3.325m) / Marc Staal ($3.975m)
    Michael Del Zotto ($0.827m) / Anton Stralman ($0.945m)
    Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875m)
    Chris Drury ($1.667m) / Michael Sauer ($0.208m) / Mike Rupp ($0.367m)

  35. Lloyd Braun on

    Rangers have the 30-goal scorer thing pretty well covered

    I’d like Kane, though, mostly because I think he’d be an upgrade over Dubinsky.

  36. Boo-Ka-Boom on

    Thanks for all the work today carp and thanks to josh too. Also for the extra scoop on cally. Maybe to him and the orginization, being ” not injured” probably means he doesnt require surgery to fix anything. My guess is he def hurt his right hand, probly a severe bruise or sprain.

  37. Yea. What NYR said. We have to have something to talk about.

    You guys should ask Latona more of his ideas. Guy has a *lot* of good ideas about how to improve this team.

    And yes, Lloyd. Kane > Dubinsky.

  38. Boo-Ka-Boom on

    NYR fan…. I love it..looks like a picasso when typed out on this blog…sadly i wish it were attainable.

  39. True Fans Bleed RW&B on


    What is that person’s interest emailing you … in other words, what benefit do they have by saying that?

    And do you and Lev have over-lapping circles of friends in the organization?

  40. Lloyd Braun on

    two things:

    No way in hell are the Rangers getting Parise for that kind of money.


    While I’d love to think the Rangers would be smart enough to send Mike Rupp packing, I just don’t see it happening.

  41. True Fans Bleed RW&B on


    They’re all pipe-dreams. No offense, but none of them have any chance of happening.

  42. NYR_FAN = *Vibin*

    Those lines look great. But, sadly. ^Hobbit Wizard^ is not sticking around to play 4th line RW.

  43. And sadly, I don’t think Parise is signing for anything less than $9M. And, God I LOVE those lines. Ortmeyer is a good call. Can you please squeeze Paul Gaustad in there somewhere please?

    Mrs. Manny just said her “wish-list” is that I, “don’t go on the blog for the rest of the of-season until two weeks before the season begins at which time you can begin communicating how excited you are for hockey to begin.”

    Mind you, she’s watching a “Sex In/And The City Marathon” (we live in a studio thus, WE, are watching that)

  44. Doobie and Artie Party are absent from my fantasy lineup…no offense to those guys, they are good players but we need an upgrade, IMO. I like them a lot but we need more scoring…

  45. True Fans Bleed RW&B on


    Long-time IR can be filed for Sauer and be 0 Cap hit.
    Ortmeyer, Parise at the Price, Rupp buyout, Kane, Suter, and Zucc?

    You dream big, bud.

  46. Lloyd Braun on

    did you trade Dubinsky and Anisimov for the bag of pucks they’re likely to fetch?

  47. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    To follow-up Lloyd’s question, please tell me you’d at least try to get some of the fancy painted ones like those used at the Winter Classic?

  48. I agree, Carp. I just mean that they cannot give him another rock to work with next year, no matter how lovable a rock it is. But he seemed to be acknowledging that he would have to find a way to make more talent work in his system. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Most coaches would kill for more talent.

  49. Carp, thank you to you and Josh for spending your Memorial Day getting lots of good stuff from the breakup day. Certainly better coverage than Blueshirts United…. as always.

    It was really hard to hear the questions presented to Torts. I believe you asked a question and I think Torts responded with how to treat players that don’t naturally possess all the qualities you may want but you have to consider whether a player can be taught the things they lack….. If that was in response to your question, could you repeat the question please?

    Any word from Hags on breakup day?

    Thank you.

  50. Boo-Ka-Boom on

    Would you guys like shane doan on the team? He could be somewhat affordable and is a hard nose grinder power forward type who has spent his whole career with one team, but has the chance to pull a ray bourque and win a champonship with us. Just a thought. I think he’d be a great fit

  51. Ortmeyer? He should not be penciled into the top 12, or in the NHL at all. That’s a low standard. Love the guy, but it’s not happening. Neither is a Rupp or Sauer buyout. Obviously, this is just a fantasy land lineup anyway. I guess we only need one goaltender, too.

  52. Boo-Ka-Boom on

    Oh see it now Manny, sorry, missed it before. Yeah he would be a great pickup.

  53. I’m a bit concerned that Torts is so cautious with his expectations for Chris Kreider for next season. If Kreider is not a top six forward next season then the Rangers will only have a top three of Callahan, Gaborik and Richards going into this offseason. I think it is fair to pencil Kreider in as a top six guy and get numbers five and six in this offseason. Being accountable and successful in the ‘process’ of three rounds of high energy playoff hockey should give Torts more optimism….maybe he is just trying to ease the pressure on Kreider. But I think everyone else expects much from Kreider right from the jump next season.

  54. I am with Grabby. There is NO substitute for toughness. Sign the Starks! Winter is coming!

  55. bottle up some messier tears and next year put some in the boys gatorade bottles. mix it wit adam graves blood and we’ll win the cup in 16 games

  56. amen manny. send a raven to king landing(L.A.) and tell them you southerners cant handle the winter!! we’ll kill them all!!

  57. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    BRichards_1991 Thank you Ranger fans for an amazing first year as a Ranger!!! I loved every second of it and can’t wait for next year!

    Of course you can’t, you have another 12.0 million coming.

  58. messier tears have healing properties an graves blood has testosterone levels only found in dragons and bull sharks. 1 ingredient were missing is papa drurys clutch pizza sauce secret ingredient. if we find out what it is, we can win the cup in 3 rounds.

  59. ZzZz NYR ZzZz© " Thanks for a great year Hank!!!"...says Greg L. on

    The tears of Messier mixed with the blood of Graves ,interesting…

  60. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Parise nothing more than 9M are you insane? He could be had at 7-7.5m with the right amount of years.

  61. Girardi’s comments are quite interesting. Of course, he does realize that some of the core of this team is going to be sent packing, like AA or Dubie. Have to respect, however, that he says we were very close and the team will learn just from the experience and get better.

    The translation is, please, please, don’t trade my friends and we will be better.

    I do believe Dubie has a better season next year, so could Boyle, so could a lot of guys. We are not that far. I agree. Now that we know that we will most likely not be seeing Sauer (why was he drafted given what Salty dug up?), we still need defensive depth.

    I feel like a broken record, because I have said it for the last 10 months, but we needed it before the season, too. A stay-at-home, Beukeboom-type, even a Jay Wells-ian type. Someone, anyone with a big body. Grossman was a perfect fit. He was available and Sather let him go. Or, a power play booming shot specialist/playmaker.

    Barret Jackman has been underachieving in St. Louis. I find him intriguing. We need 2 depth defensemen if we do not have them in the organization.

    On offense, we are not that far away, and it’s been discussed. I am a believer for building out from the net. Get our D in shape and the rest will follow.

    We are close and have some experience, some good experience, now, too.

  62. Draft Daniel Murphy from the Mets and Chase Blackburn from the Giants and put them on a line with the Captain.

  63. leetchhalloffame on

    Mellow out and take a chill pill Torts. Season’s over. Hope you treat your family better than you treat the media.

  64. Parise is the most coveted free agent on the market. And if his value is high now, let him win a Stanley Cup in a couple weeks and see what kind of money he fetches on the open market. If he signs with the Rangers, it’s going to be for more than Gaborik or Richards are making now.

  65. Wicky© RUPP SMASH!!! on

    I agree with lloyd re parise money (don’t think they win the cup), I think there are just as good of players out there for less salary cap hit than parise. He will make every bit per season salary that nash does and probably more. Better players to trade for than him IMHO!

  66. Agreed, and I absolutely don’t want him here

    But I have such a hard time believing the Rangers won’t try like hell to sign him

  67. Wicky© RUPP SMASH!!! on

    I also agree they will pursue him. I would LOVE him to come right out after the playoffs are over to say, I want to be a devil and only a devil.

    I do not like the idea of waiting on him in july to maybe or maybe not sign with us and pass on potential players we could go for in a trade in june. I’d rather attempt to trade for guys first and try and lock them up and if we do not get them, then go for him in july as option D or E….just not option A.

  68. JimboWoodside on

    Well, if our whole off-season strategy is to sign Parise and we don’t look to build more of a scoring team whether we get him or not (I don’t think we will), then that will have been a really big mistake. One player, even a superstar, isn’t enough to get us to the next step..

  69. Marji, Hagelin was one of the few who didn’t come out to meet the media today. Could be that he was one of the last to meet with the coach, and by time he came out the coach was into his presser. Sorry.

  70. Agree to a point, Jimbo. Maybe with the team that’s in place, they just need to upgrade a few forwards, and one of the upgrades should be Kreider. But they don’t or can’t know what they’ll get from Stepan, Anisimov, Dubinsky, Hagelin, Boyle, Prust … and I don’t have any idea how many of those will even still be around when camp opens.

    But it will be surprising to me if they don’t chase Parise in a big way.

  71. JimboWoodside on

    True, Carp – lots of stuff for Glenn and the “braintrust” to work on over the summer – I expect Kreider to be a big part of the team next season, but we still don’t know how he does as a regular, everyday player in the league.

    Glenn will probably be chasing Parise though, as you said – at this point, I think he’d probably just like to sign the kid to be able to say that he took him away from Looie Lam – I don’t think there’s any love lost between those two!

  72. I think it was abundantly clear (clear weeks ago ) that Gaborik sustained a serious upper body injury after he crashed shoulder first into the boards in game 2 Ottawa. Why did reporters assume that Callahan must have been hurt, but assume that Gaborik just simply isn’t a big game player and let the team down?

  73. Interesting projections for next year from folks. After Parise or Suter, who is there to go after? Both guys are interesting but will be costly. Suter probably less so. But there is only one year left on Gaborik’s contract before we have a lot of core players to re sign. Trade for Nash? Is the asking price going to be any less steep in the summer? If it was cost prohibitive at the deadline, will it be less expensive in the summer? Did a few players play there way onto the trading block and if they did why would Columbus want them? As for the other UFA’s do we need a defenseman? Between Erixon, McIlrath, bringing back Stralman and/or Eminger, isn’t the team okay? Staal, McMonster, Girardi and DelZaster are a pretty good top four. I see the following players as the most interesting UFA’s after Parise and Suter, however, I see them all as being risky and probably would not sign any of them unless they would take a serious cut predicated upon successfully completing a tryout training camp. Even with that there are a few that I would feel nervous about when there is the potential for some youth to join the team at some point next season.

    Brad Boyes

    Andrei Kostitsyn

    Mikael Samuelsson

    Cory Sarich

    Ryan Smyth

    Paul Gaustad

    Chris Campoli

    Johnny Oduya

  74. Michael I remember that Gaborik fall perfectly. It was hard. He was slow to get up. Could very well be why he struggled. Wait, so is Callahan hurt or not? Carp, was Eminger also one of the few that didnt talk today?

  75. I would love Shane Doan on this team but only for a cheap price and I dont see that happening.

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