The Rangers’ schedule in the playoffs has been a busy one. They’ve gone to seven games in each of their first two series and had just a day off before facing off with the Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals last night. Just hearing about that is enough to make a regular person lose their breath, but the Rangers won’t be standing for any talk about being tired.
“I don’t know where you guys get all this stuff being tired. If we’re tired this time of the year, there’s something the matter,” Tortorella said. “We still have a month to play. You might as well not even ask me questions about being tired. We’re not a tired hockey club. We are ready to play.”
Note to self: Don’t ask the coach about being tired. We’ve heard this often from Tortorella and other players as well.
The Rangers might not be tired, but they’re on point about marching to the beat of the same drummer. There’s plenty of time to be tired when the season is over after all.
When last we saw the Rangers and Devils facing off, there were fights three seconds into the game and head coaches John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer were busy sniping at each other through the press. Now that they’re facing off in the Eastern Conference finals, Tortorella’s tune has changed just a bit.
“I’m not too interested in and I hope the team isn’t too interested in getting caught up in all the sideshows as far as Jersey-New York Rangers,” said Tortorella, who critiqued the “crappy setup” of his press conference on Sunday and labeled NHL hockey “a game of Ping-Pong” since the red line was removed before wrapping up after 10 minutes.
“I think it’s great for the area don’t get me wrong,” Tortorella said of the Battle of the Hudson between the Rangers and Devils, “but we have to concentrate on who we are and what we have to do.”
No word yet if Tortorella got those pesky neighbor kids off his lawn or not.
It’s amusing to see Tortorella get focused for the start of the series (Game 1 is tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN) after the way the regular season ended between these two teams. If he’s banking on the talk to be minimized though, he’s going to be sorely disappointed/angrier about things.
Check it out: John Tortorella press conference mash-up
New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella’s press conferences have become a thing of considerable amusement, from their Cliff Notes lengths to the awkward tension in the air. After a notably flat performance from his team in a 2-1 Game 6 loss, one expected another bitter one – and Torts didn’t disappoint.
Really, his assessment of the Rangers’ unproductive power play following another high-sticking minor probably captured his mood for the game as whole.
“It sucked,” Tortorella said. “It kills you. It sucks.”
When asked about Derek Stepan’s performance, Tortorella briskly declined to discuss any single player’s work. He simply said “No” when asked if the Rangers generated the right kind of effort in Game 6. Perhaps most memorably, he harshly responded to a strategy question from Pat Leonard by saying “Stop coaching, Pat.”
Ultimately, words can only do much to capture the uncomfortable glory of this press conference, so check out video of the full (and short) bit below.
We’ve been fascinated watching how Rangers coach John Tortorella handles the media through the playoffs. His answers have been short, his demeanor has been gruff, but after handling the media after New York’s Game 2 loss to Washington, he’s effectively proven he’s the master of the one-liner.
On if more open ice resulted in more shots in Game 2: “I don’t know.”
On his decision to switch top-line winger Marian Gaborik for rookie Chris Kreider in the third period: “Don’t ask me about my moves. I’m not going to give you that type of information.”
On if anything has to change for his team in Game 3: “That will be between the team and I.”
This might be frustrating for reporters looking for more elaborate answers to their questions, but for the casual observer, seeing a coach be as combative as Tortorella go to war like this multiple times a day it’s fascinating to watch.