On Saturday, John Tortorella praised the Rangers by saying “I love our jam, I love our balls.”
On Monday, he was less effusive.
“If you’re content that’s when you go by the wayside. We have to continue to improve as an organization,” he told reporters. “I think some guys get it, I think some guys don’t get it.
“We need to continue to filter.”
It was unclear what Tortorella meant with the “filter”, though I’d guess it’s the buy-in required to play Rangers hockey. Torts describes it as straight-ahead, direct, come-at-you hockey that emphasizes defensive responsibility, physicality and — yes — shot blocking.
Players that fit the bill include Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Callahan.
Players that don’t…might get filtered.
Players like Brandon Dubinsky, who spent a good chunk of the year mired in Torts’ doghouse and was floated in trade rumors. Or Artem Anisimov, who had a bad second half and saw his ice time decrease in the Eastern Conference finals (twice he got less than nine minutes.)
What about Michael Del Zotto? Even though he’s 21, gifted offensively and coming off a career-high 41 points, his time under Tortorella has been rocky. Getting benched in Game 4 of the New Jersey series was well-documented and his turnovers have earned him the “Del Zaster” nickname among some Blueshirt faithful.
(Del Zotto’s also an impending RFA. He says he has no idea what will happen with negotiations.)
Finally, a big filtration could come during free agency. Veterans Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust, John Mitchell, Anton Stralman, Steve Eminger and backup goalie Martin Biron are all scheduled to become UFAs on July 1.