NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers protects the net against Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tortorella says Rangers should feel proud “for about an hour”

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It took the New York Rangers seven games, and they only barely managed to come away with a 2-1 victory on Thursday, but they’ve succeeded. They’re going to the second round.

“They should be real proud of themselves,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “For about an hour.”

Yes, because ultimately getting past the first round was never the goal. The Rangers finished the season with the top seed in the Eastern Conference and won more games than any team still standing. A long playoff run is the expectation, although to accomplish that they’ll have to get through the Washington Capitals. Washington dispatched them in five games last season, but a lot has changed over the last year.

“They’re a team that’s a lot like we are,” Henrik Lundqvist told PHT’s Joe Yerdon. “It’s going to be a hard series.”

The Rangers have already experienced one of those in their playoff run and so have the Capitals for that matter. Then again, there aren’t many easy playoff series anymore.

Tortorella holds very, very brief press conference

John Tortorella
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Rangers coach John Tortorella spoke to reporters this morning in Ottawa, though that may be overstating things.

If you’ve got 53 seconds to kill, have a listen, courtesy Team 1200.

For those that don’t have the time, a recap:

—-Torts says Carl Hagelin has been good for the Rangers.

—-Torts won’t comment on another team’s player (Daniel Alfredsson).

—-Torts says the Rangers won’t play any different on the road than at home.

And when some poor reporter tried to ask a fourth question a fraction of a section late?

“You missed, man. You missed.”

Tortorella talks Presidents’ Trophy, but not fines; King Henrik returns

John Tortorella
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Tonight’s Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game is more significant for the Caps than the Blueshirts, but John Tortorella admits that it means something.

Not long after dismissing the power of the Presidents’ Trophy, Tortorella admitted to Katie Strang and others that “I want to win that trophy.”

Torts was finally forthcoming about a pursuit that he previously downplayed, but he wisely bit his tongue about the $20,000 fine he received for his candid remarks about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ “(blanking) superstars.”

When asked if there was anything he’d like to say regarding the fine, he responded:

“Nothing.”

When asked if there was anything he felt he COULD say regarding the fan, he said the same:

“Nothing.”

I think we should all take a moment and appreciate the fact that Tortorella can ham it up in a big market like New York. The rambunctious head coach just seems perfect for the Big Apple – at least when it comes to our collective entertainment.

In more hockey-centric and less drama-centric news, Strang reports that Henrik Lundqvist will be back in the Rangers lineup tonight. Lundqvist raised a few eyebrows (and heart rates) when he needed to sit out a while with a “stiff” arm but being able to play tonight is a good chance for him to get his rhythm back a bit for the playoffs.

(It’s also huge news if you have King Henrik in a fantasy league.)

NHL fines Tortorella $20,000, bringing his total on the year to 50k

John Tortorella
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The NHL has slapped John Tortorella with his second major fine of the year, dinging him $20,000 for comments made following a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The New York Rangers head coach was also fined $30,000 after January’s Winter Classic for calling the officiating “disgusting” (and suggesting the refs and NBC collaborated to try and send the game to overtime).

It’s unclear exactly what comment got Torts fined this time around, though it’s not for a lack of options:

— He called Brooks Orpik’s knee on Derek Stepan a “cheap, dirty hit”.

— He asked “I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there.”

— He called Pittsburgh “one of the most arrogant organizations in the league.”

— He dropped an f-bomb: “They’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two [expletive] stars.”

Here’s video of Tort’s rant, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

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Prior to this season, Tortorella had been both fined ($10,000, for negative comments towards officials in 2007) and suspended (one game, for an altercation with Capitals fans during the first round of the 2009 playoffs.)

Bylsma on Tortorella rant: “It’s part of his coaching manual to go off”

Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Cooke
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For the second time this week, Dan Bylsma has faced sharp criticism from an opposing coach.

And for the second time, Bylsma’s brushed it off.

That’s what transpired on Friday following Penguins practice, as the Pittsburgh head coach put John Tortorella’s comments — saying Pittsburgh was an arrogant organization — into context.

“We’ve seen that in the last week all over with gamesmanship,” Bylsma told Penguins Report. “Trying to talk to, at and through different mediums to the team, referees and who might be listening to some of the talk. That’s all it is: gamesmanship.

“They’re trying to have an effect where I’m not sure they can have an effect. I think it’s gamesmanship and they’re trying to have someone hear them. Whether it’s the referees or whom I don’t know.”

Still, Bylsma couldn’t resist giving Torts a slight shot.

“His postgame comments for a lot of games this year, we’ve heard different things from hits, starting lineups, how referees ends games,” Bylsma said. “It’s part of his coaching manual to go off.”

Known throughout his career as a cool customer, the Penguins head coach has been extra cool this past week. He didn’t bite when Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called him “gutless” after Sunday’s melee; he also kept quiet after defenseman Matt Niskanen was knocked out of  action by Boston’s Dan Paille (Paille got a charging penalty on the hit.)

The way Bylsma sees it, there’s no sense in getting caught-up in extracurricular activity.

“In every series, and the series coming up, one team will win four games, there will be a handshake,” he said. “One side will wish the other side luck in the next round. The other side will go on. That will happen on the ice. We’re going to have a whale of a series. We respect [the Flyers]. We have a great adversary.

“There is a storyline going on and it will be played out on the ice.”