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.
Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season
Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.
Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.
Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.
Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching
“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”
“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”
More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.
Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”
“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”
The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.
Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)
You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.