Brad Richards

Video: Tortorella explains decision to scratch Richards

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New York Rangers coach John Tortorella still loves forward Brad Richards and if you don’t believe him, then he has some choice words for you.

At the same time, Tortorella decided it was important to go into detail about why Richards was a healthy scratch on Thursday after being previously relegated to the fourth line.

“By no means is this a situation when I take him out that I’m blaming him,” Tortorella said, per NHL.com. “I’m playing Brad on the fourth line, he’s playing seven or eight minutes, it’s not good for him. It doesn’t work playing Brad Richards that way, but I also feel some other guys have played better so that’s where he is right now in our lineup.”

Tortorella determined that he didn’t have a spot on either of the Rangers’ top two lines for Richards, but he also needed to give the fourth line “some sort of identity,” so Richards had to come out.

The obvious question now is what’s next for the 33-year-old forward. If the Rangers can’t find a use for him in the playoffs, they might buy out his massive contract. Perhaps that will happen, but Tortorella is still in his corner even if he isn’t using him.

“I’m sure people will pick it apart, but I want to make sure you know Brad Richards is a hell of a hockey player,” Tortorella said. “He has had struggles. He’s had struggles here. It continues. Me putting him in that role does not help him. So I’d rather have him out and identify how we’re going to run our fourth line.”

We’ll see if Richards is given a chance to bounce back in Game 5.

Tortorella says he loves Brad Richards; those who deny that can ‘kiss his [bleep]’

John Tortorella
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New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella made big-money forward Brad Richards a healthy scratch in an eventual Game 4 win, but he insists that the two remain tight.

Naturally, he insisted in a boisterous and profane way, as CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports.

“I love that guy,” Tortorella said. “I’ve grown up with that guy. Kiss my [expletive deleted] if you’ve written anything differently.”

It’s not the first time Torts’ comments have needed a parental advisory, and with the second-round series extended for at least one more contest, it might not be the last.

Of course, the bigger question is: will his buddy appear in Game 5? Tortorella didn’t provide an answer on Thursday.

He’s willing to admit that he is relieved that the Rangers avoided elimination, however.

“I’m happy for them,” Tortorella said. “They’re still breathing.”

Also still alive: the “what will Tortorella say next?” game.

Rangers’ goaltending a concern? ‘We know what Henrik is,’ says Tortorella

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins - Game Two
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It’s been a while since New York Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals in a game.

According to a tweet from Andrew Gross, the Rangers’ beat reporter for The Record in New Jersey, Lundqvist had gone 152 straight games – including playoffs and regular season – without allowing five goals.

Sunday wasn’t a good time for this streak to come to an end.

The Rangers fell to the Bruins by a final score of 5-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal and now trail 2-0 in the series.

Lundqvist allowed five goals on 32 shots. It’s also been back-to-back games Lundqvist has been outplayed by Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask.

But Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella wasn’t in the mood to openly criticize his goalie – the same one that registered 24 wins in the lockout-shortened regular season, which put him in a three-way tie with Antti Niemi and Niklas Backstrom for most in the league.

“I’m not evaluating our goaltending. I don’t need to evaluate Henrik. We know what Henrik is,” said Tortorella, as per CBSBoston.com.

Lundqvist was also stung on a Daniel Paille shot, as per Sportsnet.

“It’s my shoulder, we’ll see,” Lundqvist said after the game. “We’ll take a look at it.”

Avery: Playing for Tortorella ‘one of the best things that ever happened to me’

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Retired NHLer Sean Avery has little to do with hockey anymore — he says he’s stopped watching entirely — but still has fondness for people from his Ranger days.

One is good friend and business partner Henrik Lundqvist.

The other, surprisingly, is head coach John Tortorella.

“[Tortorella] actually probably was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Avery told the New York Daily News. “A month after I was done playing, I made the transition to what is a dream job for most people.”

Avery, now a restauranteur (he owns a spot in Tribeca with Lundqvist) and “chief strategic officer” at Manhattan’s Lipman advertising agency, said Torts played a key role in his transition to post-hockey life.

“Part of it was the relationship that I had with him as a coach,” he explained. “It definitely helped me make the transition and have a successful career.”

Those remarks are curious, especially since Avery and Tortorella routinely butted heads during their time together in New York (here’s a good historical recap).

In late March, with the feud seemingly dead and buried, Avery brought it back to life by saying the Rangers needed to “fire this clown” and that “players hate him.”

Torts didn’t respond, but team captain Ryan Callahan did.

“Sean Avery’s comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions,” Callahan told the The Bergen Record. “He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now.”

It’s hard to imagine what’s changed in less than two months, but Avery sounds as though he’s at peace with hockey no longer being a part of his life.

“I haven’t watched a game since I retired,” he explained. “I have a pretty demanding schedule, a new career. I’m more interested in that, really. I’m immersed in it. I had a great career. I loved playing.

“It’s a great sport, but it has nothing to do with my current life.”

Tortorella admits Rangers got ‘spanked’ in OT

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New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that his team matched up pretty well against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 … until everything unraveled in overtime.

“I thought it was pretty even going into overtime, but we got spanked in overtime,” Tortorella said.

It’s pretty hard to argue with that logic, even if you just notice the Bruins’ 16-5 shot advantage when things went into sudden death mode.

Brad Marchand ended up scoring the OT winner to finish it up 3-2, but the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports that Tortorella believes things really fell apart when the Bruins produced a flurry of chances on an OT power-play opportunity.

“We never regrouped,” Tortorella said. “It was a surge, we couldn’t stop it.”

The Rangers hope for better results against the Bruins in Game 2 on Sunday.