Here’s the unedited version of my story from The Journal News and LoHud.com:
The 4-5 Rangers, a day after a 3-1 loss to the Devils (which, if there is such a thing, might have been their best loss of the season) had an optional practice and a film session Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s Garden game against the Islanders.
“We’re a 4-5 hockey club,” Tortorella said after the video meeting. “Maybe scared was the wrong word; maybe it was the right word. You can say it 10 different ways. I don’t want us to test the waters. I think . . . we’re testing the waters instead of trying to make a difference. That’s what I mean about being tentative and scared and all of that. Try to make a difference.
“We just finished our tape and it’s right there. So hopefully that will help. That’s what I’m trying to do, is to try to help. But it certainly has to be brought up in a conversation.”
Those in the conversation were almost certainly Michael Del Zotto, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Brian Boyle, all of whom were woeful in New Jersey.
Ryan Callahan (shoulder) could return as early as tonight. Defenseman Dan Girardi (banged up) may not.
Tortorella also took some blame for the (3 for 35) power play, which has been bad almost annually since Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999, and for all four of Tortorella’s seasons. He was asked if he self-assesses his coaching of the power play.
“Always,” Tortorella said. “We need to take responsibility along with them. We’re doing it with them, just like we do all our concepts. So, yeah, we’re trying to find and have a constant conversation with our guys: how do we get this straightened out? Are we giving you too much? Are we not giving you enough? Are there too many options?
“Certainly I’m not putting all the onus on the players.”
Photo by Getty Images.