John Tortorella

Desperate for offense from his forwards, Tortorella turns to prayer

4 Comments

For a number of Rangers forwards, this postseason has been a struggle.

— Carl Hagelin’s last goal came on Mar. 15.

— Ruslan Fedotenko has 1G in 18 playoff games. And that 1G came in the 18th game.

— Derek Stepan is scoreless in 12.

— Brian Boyle hasn’t scored since Game 3 of the first round.

— Ryan Callahan’s suffered goalless streaks of five and six games.

— Marian Gaborik’s goals-per-game rate has fallen from .50 (regular season) to .22 (playoffs).

Head coach John Tortorella has tried everything to get his group going offensively. He’s benched players, switched up lines, used positive reinforcement, used negative reinforcement…but nothing’s really worked.

Now, he’s turning to divine intervention.

 Q. In this series you got three goals from Kreider, an empty-netter from Callahan. The  rest of your top six hasn’t been able to get a goal. What can you do to get those guys going?

COACH  TORTORELLA: Pray. I don’t know what else to tell you. We’re going to keep on trying to play, pray, and hopefully something good happens to them.

That New York’s made it this far with so little from its offensive stars is amazing, though we are seeing a similar situation unfold in Phoenix.

Ray Whitney led the Coyotes in regular season scoring with 77 points, but through 15 games sits a distant fifth (with seven points). Radim Vrbata led the ‘Yotes in goalscoring with 35 — 11th-most in the NHL — but has fallen almost completely silent in the playoffs with just two markers thus far.

Of course, the “Phoenix model” isn’t one to emulate…especially with the way the Western Conference final has unfolded.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

Leave a comment

Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
AP
2 Comments

Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
Leave a comment

The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
1 Comment

Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.