New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella was relatively verbose after his team’s 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, detailing the “struggle” the Blueshirts dealt with and also hammering common bullet points such as puck possession. Overall, he seemed to follow the Bill Parcells formula of being optimistic after a loss and harder on his team following a victory.
“I thought we gained some traction as the game went on,” Tortorella said. “I’m very optimistic. I still think some guys are close to getting their games. I don’t think all of us are there. But as I’ve said all year long with this club, when you get in these situations … they always find a way to find a good game. So I’m truly confident we’ll answer it the proper way when we play our next one.”
There’s a growing sense that the Rangers simply play better hockey when things are more urgent. They stepped their games up while coming back from a 3-2 deficit against the Ottawa Senators and played terribly in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals before shutting them down in Game 7.
New York has been effective in back-against-the wall situations, which means they’ll be tough to kill off but must face the threat (or at least incessant questions) about fatigue. Either way, Torts’ positivity hasn’t been misguided so far.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.