The New York Rangers’ anemic offense did OK on Friday, scoring three goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the pesky New York Islanders. If you thought that effort made Rangers coach John Tortorella happy, well … you haven’t been following Tortorella much.
His statement after the game was quite simple, as ESPN’s Katie Strang reports:
“We’re a sloppy hockey team right now,” Tortorella said.
Tortorella ranks as one of the best coaches in the NHL, but there’s a small segment of Rangers fans who believe that his hard-driving style might burn him and/or his players out. This slight slow-down might be a good test for that theory.
Appreciation for P.A.
Tortorella’s comments deflect at least some praise for a great game by Islanders forward P.A. Parenteau, who has five points in his last four contests to push his season points total to 56.
If you want to make a sports snob’s blood boil, call a mildly under-praised player “underrated.” My guess is that even that hard-to-please crowd would mostly agree that Parenteau’s great play has gone under the radar, though.
Naturally, there’s the urge to call his run flukey for a few reasons.
1. I doubted Michael Grabner’s success based on the following logic: sometimes a good player looks borderline great on a bad team because that guy’s getting more opportunities (and less criticism/surveillance) than he would on a more heavily scrutinized contender. Could that apply to Parenteau too?
2. Also like Grabner, his surprisingly strong run of play is coming in a contract year.
3.. At 28 years old, Parenteau already eclipsed last year’s career-high for points – and this is just the second season that he’s truly been able to “stick” at the NHL level.
Grabner was more streaky, however – he scored 41 points in 44 games after generating just 11 in his first 32 last season – while Parenteau’s been a bit steadier. Overall, I think Parenteau has a chance to be a consistent quality performer; the question is if he can approach this level with much frequency, though.
Whether he’s breaking through or playing over his head for a single season, Parenteau deserves more attention for his strong work – even if he doesn’t stomp around and breathe fire like the guy who coached him for 22 games in 2009-10.
(Yup, Parenteau once played for the New York Rangers.)