Going into Monday’s game against the Penguins, the Blueshirts had won 4 of their last 5 games despite head coach John Tortorella‘s comments last Wednesday.
For those of you that were not in the country for his remarks, here’s a quick summary:
Following the Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Torts threw nearly the entire team under the bus, especially superstar Marian Gaborik.
“We couldn’t even make a pass,” Tortorella said, according to the New York Post. “We couldn’t even chip a puck in. We just looked brain-dead through the first part of that game. Why? I don’t know … I wish I had the answer.
“I know there’s a few guys that are tired. You never want to use that as an excuse, but there’s been a group, a handful of guys who have done a lot of work for this club. We need the other handful that haven’t to come and play our next game.”
Towards Gabby -
“He’s supposed to be our best player,” Tortorella said. “I looked at their best players, and they were pretty good tonight. I didn’t see our best players.”
You know what’s a good idea? Call out the guy who single handedly carried the team one goal shy of the playoffs last season.
I honestly don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish with these comments. Trying to start a fire under them? Negative reinforcement is almost NEVER the answer. He says “we” but you damn well know he’s talking about the players and not himself. Clearly, visiting Tampa Bay made him miss the city and the team because he was more interested in their better players than finding the answers to our own team.
Adding to my already increasing dislike and displeasure for Tortorella, this just makes me want to ask Mike Keenan to come back.
Fast forward to Monday night back home in Madison Square and facing off against Crosby & Co. The first period was quite the entertaining one, starting off with an extremely controversial play between Sidney Crosby (Cindy Cries-by) and Ryan Callahan. Cally was racing towards the puck as Crosby came up from behind him and, clearly without any doubt, slew foots Ryan with no puck in sight, taking him down to the ice hard. What’s the call, you ask? Callahan gets a two-minute interference call. Brandon Dubinsky was interviewed after the 1st period and was asked about the play. Here’s the play:
Now I hate Cries-bitch as much as the next non-Penguins fan, but one thing he is not, is dirty. Was that a dirty play? Yes. Did he get away with it? Yes. Did the refs see Callahan and Crosby go down without seeing the slew-foot and assume it was Cally’s fault? Probably.
I’ve been aggravated with the officiating all season, especially towards the Rangers. There’s obvious calls in favor of Crosby and Ovechkin, but this is for a later article.
The first period continued with Maxim Talbot scoring on a very lucky free puck in between Marc Staal’s skates. Later on, Gaborik gets on the good side of a 2-on-1 but decides to do it on his own and gets stuffed by Fluery. I can’t help but think if Torts’ words had anything to do with this play, aiding Gabby to think he HAS to do more. The team has scored without #10, now he just has to find his stride, but that doesn’t mean Dubs & Cally can relax a return to yesteryear form. That’d be a no bueno. Gabby later scored in the 3rd period with a sweet snap shot from the top of the circle to put the Blueshirts on the board, but at that point it was too little, too late.
King Henrik fared less than premiere in the game allowing 3 goals in 27 shots. Lundy had a fantastic save that’s worth highlight reel showcase, but they’re looking like diamonds in the rough at this point. He’s been putting together a mediocre year for himself so far. He’s used to rocky starts as he’s said before, but luckily for Biron, he’s been inconsistent and suffering. The 3 shutouts look great indeed, but his 2.64 Save % says otherwise. I am one of many hoping that Lundqvist finds his mid-season form soon.