John Tortorella

John Tortorella says Caps should stop “whining” about getting hit


If there’s anything you can count on in the NHL its for Rangers coach John Tortorella to not hide his feelings. Whether he’s being animated on the bench or in a press conference with a writer that won’t stop pestering him he doesn’t hide his feelings very well and that’s why we love the guy.

This week when Caps coach Bruce Boudreau took time out to sound off about Madison Square Garden and to campaign for a few more calls, especially in regard to recently returned from a concussion defenseman Mike Green. With so much talk floating around lately, it would be tough for Tortorella to stay silent in regards to all the chatter.

Thankfully for us he didn’t stay quiet for long as Katie Carrera of The Washington Post found out today. Tortorella apparently isn’t such a big fan of the kind of verbal campaigning we’ve seen out of Boudreau.

“Our mindset is just focusing on what we need to do, how we play – play the right way and get ready for Game 4,” Tortorella told reporters after the Rangers’ practice in Greenburgh, N.Y. “We have confidence in the league, we have confidence in the officials that they won’t be influenced by all the whining going on here right now.

“We’re staying away from it, and we’re focused on what we need to do,” Tortorella said. “And like I said, we have confidence in the league that this doesn’t affect the series. It’s a pretty good series. Two pretty good teams, going at it pretty hard.”

Whining is one way to put it that’s for sure. “Gamesmanship” might be the word used more by Caps fans or neutral observers as well but for now, we’ll take it from Tortorella’s perspective on this and run with it. You see this sort of thing happen all the time through the playoffs. Get a writer’s ear, say a few outlandish-seeming things, let it run like wildfire through the media.

This time around, Tortorella fired back with some shots of his own and why not. After all, in Game 3 his team got the benefit of the officiating considering how many power plays they got in comparison to Washington (seven for New York compared to three for Washington). From his perspective everything is OK. It’s all the more reason why Boudreau has been such a darling the last few days with his own words.

It’s not quite a game of chess between these two but it is far more entertaining and quotable. Here’s to hoping it lasts a little bit longer.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”