The rise of Chris Kreider’s star power in the playoffs has been something else to see. He’s breaking obscure records and giving the Rangers a speedy scorer they never thought they could count on in the postseason.
With this kind of NHL baptism of fire, Rangers coach John Tortorella is happy to get the kind of production he’s getting out of him but he tells Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants he’s not trying to give him too much to think about either.
“There’s enough things going through his head where we just want him to play. He’s had some breakdowns away from the puck. Those are things we’ve tried to teach a little bit but not too much. But this is instinctive. He’s an instinctive player. We’re just trying to let him go.”
For a control freak like Tortorella it’s got to drive him crazy just having a guy play on instinct and natural talent alone, right? Well…
“Maybe if he’s more seasoned, he’s coached, we might screw him up,” Tortorella said. “I don’t know how to look at it. Right now he’s doing some good things for us and we’re going to leave him the hell alone.”
It’s a fascinating thing to watch because Kreider has had moments where he’s made rookie mistakes but Tortorella has helped nurture him the way he has with other players. For a rookie, Kreider’s become one of the guys pretty fast.