John Tortorella

John Tortorella: “We sucked from head to toe”


Rangers coach John Tortorella isn’t always the sweetest guy in post-game press conferences. I know, shocking news there, but after the Rangers’ 2-0 loss to Edmonton, instead of blowing up at a reporter to two Tortorella kept it simple.

Brutally simple. (Video at MSG website)

If you can’t see the video, here’s your verbal gold.

“This is gonna be really quick. I am not taking any questions. We sucked from head to toe and we need to move by it. So I’m not going to dissect with you guys. I know you have to do your job, but I’m not answering any questions. OK?”

We’re being blessed by wonderful post-game quotes from coaches. It was Barry Trotz a few days ago with his rear-end-reaming rant against his Predators and now Tortorella gets in on the act here.

One thing that we were already excited about just shot up the ladder concerning Tortorella: The Rangers’ appearances on HBO’s 24/7 are going to be absolutely electrifying.

It’s a bummer that the Rangers are agitating Tortorella like this now before their cameras are following them all over the place. If this kind of maddening play from New York continues, however, we might actually see Tortorella pop a blood vessel when “dissecting” the Rangers’ play with reporters in December.

Get your popcorn ready, kids.

Rangers waive Sean Avery; John Tortorella gives brutally honest explanation

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers

There was a time when Sean Avery was a nice little “steal” for the New York Rangers, even if that had a lot to do with the fact that he came with a 50 percent off tag via the Dallas Stars’ faulty contract. In late September, speculation really began to bubble up that the polarizing pest’s slide down the Rangers totem pole has become so pronounced that he won’t even be on the big club this season.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that those rumors turned out to be true: the team decided to waive Avery today. Brooks indicates that this should be far from a surprise, claiming that the Rangers basically made that decision before he boarded the team plane for their trip to Europe. He also speculates as to whether or not the team will risk absorbing his prorated cap hit by bringing him back up through re-entry waivers at some point this season.

It’s hard to foresee what exactly is in store for Avery, who lost a battle for a final spot with shiftier forward Erik Christensen. For years, hockey pundits have been quick to paste the ” … but nonetheless talented,” label on Avery while discussing his latest controversial comment or blunder. He’s never really harnessed those talents for enough good to offset the headaches he causes for his own team, though, and at 31 years old one cannot wonder if he’s running out of chances. (Avery’s contract will expire after this season.)

That’s not to say that this is the end of the line for Avery, however. Still, one cannot help but feel that Avery already reached his pest peak and that “Sloppy seconds” and the Martin Brodeur windshield wiper incident will dominate the first lines of his career’s obituary.

We’ll see what happens with Avery, whether he gets claimed by one of the league’s other 29 teams (through initial waivers or the re-entry process) or possibly works his way back up to the Rangers’ NHL roster. This certainly marks one of the lowest points of a very up and down career for Avery, though.

Update (5 p.m. ET): Tortorella is known as a straight-shooter, but even so, his comments about Avery’s demotion were surprisingly candid.

“I think we have better players than Sean Avery — plain and simple,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said Tuesday. “I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp.

“But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we’ve added, and some of the youth we’ve added as far as depth put Sean in this spot.”

Report: Rangers handed John Tortorella three-year extension months ago

John Tortorella

When people saw the headline “John Tortorella looks to future after Rangers first round defeat,” they instantly latched onto jokes about the fiery coach finding employment elsewhere. That wasn’t really the intention of the headline, but it was admittedly an amusing reaction.

If a Larry Brooks report is correct, then those amusing reactions were notably off-base. The New York Post writer passes along word that the New York Rangers signed Tortorella to a three-year contract extension “a couple months ago.”

His contract was set to expire at the end of this season, so that contract extension would reportedly run through the 2013-14 season. Of course, following the nature of the coaching profession, he might get paid for those seasons but a sudden firing is always a threat.

Again, it’s important to note that this is a report, but if true, it justifies all of his forward-thinking comments. It’s a solid choice if you ask me, as the Rangers were significantly lacking in talent but still managed to make the playoffs this season. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect playoff series, but the team seems to be in pretty good hands with Torts. Now it’s a matter of building on that foundation of hard work with young players who can cause much more damage.

Video: John Tortorella looks to future after Rangers’ first round defeat

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Four

(For a full recap of the Washington Capitals’ 3-1 win over the New York Rangers – a win that makes Washington the first Eastern Conference team to make the second round – click here. Consult this video for footage of Mike Green‘s scary injury and check out this post for Alex Ovechkin‘s outstanding game-winner. Want to see all the goals? This post has all four plus Net Cam highlights.)

Rangers fans are mourning their team’s final meaningful hockey game until October and the 2010-11 season rolls around. Meanwhile, hockey media members might be a bit sad themselves, but it won’t be for the lack of the Blueshirts as a whole. Instead, they’ll miss the occasionally uproarious commentary of head coach John Tortorella.

The outspoken coach was pretty even keeled in his post-game preference today, though. Torts correctly points out that the team could have a bright future considering their improving young players at the NHL level (with prime players such as Marc Staal and newbies like Derek Stepan) as well as promising prospects such as Chris Kreider. Sure, he discussed missed opportunities in this series, but the implication is clear: they might be better equipped to make good on them in the future.

Whether the Rangers go after a big free agent like Brad Richards or not, the team’s growth will still depend upon Tortorella’s teaching skills and their development process. Watch him discuss that future in the press conference video below.

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John Tortorella says Caps should stop “whining” about getting hit

John Tortorella

If there’s anything you can count on in the NHL its for Rangers coach John Tortorella to not hide his feelings. Whether he’s being animated on the bench or in a press conference with a writer that won’t stop pestering him he doesn’t hide his feelings very well and that’s why we love the guy.

This week when Caps coach Bruce Boudreau took time out to sound off about Madison Square Garden and to campaign for a few more calls, especially in regard to recently returned from a concussion defenseman Mike Green. With so much talk floating around lately, it would be tough for Tortorella to stay silent in regards to all the chatter.

Thankfully for us he didn’t stay quiet for long as Katie Carrera of The Washington Post found out today. Tortorella apparently isn’t such a big fan of the kind of verbal campaigning we’ve seen out of Boudreau.

“Our mindset is just focusing on what we need to do, how we play – play the right way and get ready for Game 4,” Tortorella told reporters after the Rangers’ practice in Greenburgh, N.Y. “We have confidence in the league, we have confidence in the officials that they won’t be influenced by all the whining going on here right now.

“We’re staying away from it, and we’re focused on what we need to do,” Tortorella said. “And like I said, we have confidence in the league that this doesn’t affect the series. It’s a pretty good series. Two pretty good teams, going at it pretty hard.”

Whining is one way to put it that’s for sure. “Gamesmanship” might be the word used more by Caps fans or neutral observers as well but for now, we’ll take it from Tortorella’s perspective on this and run with it. You see this sort of thing happen all the time through the playoffs. Get a writer’s ear, say a few outlandish-seeming things, let it run like wildfire through the media.

This time around, Tortorella fired back with some shots of his own and why not. After all, in Game 3 his team got the benefit of the officiating considering how many power plays they got in comparison to Washington (seven for New York compared to three for Washington). From his perspective everything is OK. It’s all the more reason why Boudreau has been such a darling the last few days with his own words.

It’s not quite a game of chess between these two but it is far more entertaining and quotable. Here’s to hoping it lasts a little bit longer.