Tortorella says Richards struggles because he “cares so much”

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It’s no secret that Brad Richards has struggled this season with the New York Rangers. The team isn’t doing as well as they did last year, the offense is struggling, and they’re fighting to get into playoff position.

While Richards had a strong game on Thursday night with Rick Nash’s return, Rangers coach John Tortorella offered up a different explanation for why his top centerman has had trouble this year as he shared on the team’s website.

“I think Brad played his best game of the season on Thursday,” said Tortorella. “He cares so much, and sometimes I wish he didn’t care as much because it paralyzes him a little bit. He allowed himself to play, and you could just see the flow in his game (Thursday). It’s encouraging.”

Of all the reasons for a guy to struggle, caring too much is up there as one of the more unique ones. That said, with the team playing the way they have, trying too hard can lead to mistakes and squeezing the stick a little too tight. Now that the Rangers are getting healthy again, maybe a few other guys can help Richards not care quite so much.

Tortorella: Habs-Rangers game among worst I’ve been involved in

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Coach John Tortorella didn’t like the Montreal Canadiens’ play in their 3-1 victory over his New York Rangers, but he will grant them this much: They sucked less.

“I thought it was probably one of the worst hockey games I’ve ever been involved in,” Tortorella said in an ESPN report. “Both teams. But they were better than we were.”

The two teams didn’t manufacture many scoring chances early on, although that’s a given when squads combine for just eight shots on goal in the first period.

Montreal focused on waiting for and attempting to capitalize on errors in the Rangers’ transitions in a strategy that Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thought was “boring,” but “smart.”

In turn, the Rangers attempted to, in captain Ryan Callahan’s words, “be patient with it, get pucks in deep” and avoid turnovers. The Rangers ultimately fell short of that goal early in the third period, which resulted in 19-year-old forward Alex Galchenyuk netting the game-winning goal for Montreal.

“Just two bad teams playing and we were worse than they were,” Tortorella said in summary.

The Rangers were without Rick Nash and have been secretive with regards to his status. Who knows if he’ll play on Thursday, but either way, Tortorella will certainly be looking for more from his club.

Rangers lead NHL in bench minors, Tortorella calls it ‘stupid’

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After getting dinged for too many men during the second period of last night’s win over Boston, the New York Rangers now lead the NHL with six bench minor penalties through the first 12 games of the year.

To put that figure in perspective, it’s more bench minors than 14 other NHL clubs — Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Florida, NY Islanders, Ottawa, Dallas, Anaheim, Carolina, St. Louis, Buffalo, Toronto, Colorado and Pittsburgh — have combined.

For another perspective, here’s Rangers head coach John Tortorella.

“Another too-many-men, huh?” he said following Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win over Boston. “No, I don’t want to expand on it. It stinks, what do you want me to say.

“It’s stupid. It sucks. It’s brutal. I can use a lot of different things.”

All six of New York’s bench minors this season have been of the too-many-men variety, which is a very odd development given the discipline the team has shown in years past.

Last season, the Rangers only had seven bench minors through 82 games, 10th-fewest in the NHL.

To be clear, Tortorella wasn’t putting all the blame on his troops for the lousy changes.

Reports claim Torts was yelling at Anton Stralman following the whistle for too many during the Boston game, but suggested he wasn’t pleased with the linesman for making the call and not giving leeway to the Rangers on a dump-in.

In the future, we suggest Tortorella take the Marc Crawford approach to dealing with this situation:

Once the players hear that, they’ll never make a bad change again.

Rangers’ Tortorella: ‘Maybe scared was the wrong word’

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John Tortorella backed off comments he made about members of the New York Rangers playing “scared” following Tuesday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Or did he?

“I’ll tell you about our hockey club right now,” Tortorella, the Rangers head coach, told the New York Post following Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat against the Devils. “…we have some guys that are really playing hard, and we have some guys that look scared to me, and tentative.”

On Wednesday, he tried to clarify his remarks.

“We’re a four-and-five hockey club, and I don’t want to turn this into a criticizing of the players when we lose,” Tortorella told the New York Daily News. “That’s not what I’m trying to do. . . . Maybe scared was the wrong word, or maybe it was the right word. You can say it 10 different ways.

“That’s what I mean by being tentative and scared and all that. Try to make a difference. Don’t look to someone else, and don’t give your problems to someone else.”

The Rangers have won three of their last six games and are still trying to get themselves within the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference. They are, despite their struggles, one point behind the eighth-place New York Islanders.
The two teams meet Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Rangers’ Tortorella: ‘Worst we’ve played all year’

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There must be something about The Big Apple that brings out the best in the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin opened the scoring, James Neal gave the Penguins a two-goal cushion and Simon Despres put it away in the third period, as the Penguins rolled to a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers.

While the Penguins celebrated, the Rangers lamented.

New York’s head coach John Tortorella called Thursday’s loss, “…probably the worst we’ve played all year, collectively.”

The Rangers were without their captain and leader Ryan Callahan, who injured his shoulder two nights ago in a fight with Philadelphia Flyers forward Maxime Talbot.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in there,” Rangers blue liner Dan Girardi told the New York Times.

“I know he brings a lot of energy and finishes a lot of checks, but we have guys that can do that as well in the lineup right now.”

Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves for his 48th career regular season shutout.

“I think we knew Tomas is a very good goalie and he has pretty good numbers,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told NHL.com.

“He’s been a starter. We knew were going to get a guy who can come in and win games, win big games for us, and he’s done that twice in this building. He had two or three big saves that he had to make. He was great.”

It’s as if the Penguins can’t lose at Madison Square Garden, or to the Rangers for that matter.