Give Ruslan Fedotenko credit — he’s not shying away from discussing his recent woes.
Upon learning the 33-year-old would be a healthy scratch Friday against Buffalo (his second healthy scratch in a row), BlueShirts United caught up with Fedotenko and got his thoughts on John Tortorella’s recent lineup decisions.
“If I don’t deliver then I am not going to play, that’s the bottom line,” Fedotenko said. “You never want to be sitting, but I haven’t scored as much and I feel like maybe I have been focusing too much on defense and not enough on offense.
“I’m not saying you sacrifice defense to make plays, I just need more of an emphasis on being more creative on offense.”
Fedotenko has just one goal in his last 16 games and is in real danger of not hitting double digits for the first time in his career. He has just eight goals this season — a far cry from the 26 he scored with Tampa Bay the first year out of the lockout.
Speaking of his time in Tampa Bay, Fedotenko must find it a little odd that Tortorella’s dropped him. Fedotenko was a regular lineup fixture for the Lightning under Torts, missing just 15 games over the course of four seasons. The Ukrainian was also a huge part of Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup victory in 2004, tying for the team playoff lead in goals (12) and scoring both in a 2-1 victory over Calgary in Game 7.
Tortorella recognized how valuable Fedotenko could be to New York come playoff time, and vowed to get him back in the lineup.
“He’s been there, and he’s been successful there,” Tortorella said. “He understands the intensity of it and how it ratchets up. I think it’s something that’s important, especially when you’re talking about guys who have not done a lot of this.
“Right now I am looking at some different things, but he’ll play again. I have a tremendous amount of faith in him.”