So what does Tortorella get today when he comes to practice? Tortorella gets a team that is in free fall, a team that is 2-7-3 in their last 12. He gets a team that is currently 6th in the East with 69 points, but just 2 points out of 9th, and 4 points out of 10th.
He gets a team that is 29th in the league in scoring, at 2.33 G/G (Nashville is last). He gets a powerplay that has been god awful at 13.8%, good for 28th in the league. In short, Tortorella gets a team that relies on holding their opponent to 1 goal a game.
Tortorella is the exact opposite of Tom Renney. He is an in your face guy, and most importantly, will hold the high priced guys accountable for terrible play. It looks like the high priced guys knew this was coming, because Gomez and Drury have been playing well lately, and Rozsival and Redden have been better. Yes, Redden has been better. He still cracks a little bit under a rush, but his first passes have been solid.
Torts is a “safe is death” guy. So expect a lot more scoring chances, at the expense of defense. I say chances because we never know if this team can actually finish. Hank will have a little bit more of a workload as a result, but that shouldn’t really worry or surprise anyone.
The powerplay should also look a lot better. Torts will get in Rozsival’s and Redden’s faces about shooting more. We may actually see Marc Staal on the powerplay, which will make all of us very happy.
Basically, expect to see the Rangers evolve into a different type of team. They will attempt to play an up tempo game. Torts was the best hire that Sather could have made.
A few side notes from the Torts hiring:
- Torts does not like Avery. Do not expect him back with the Rangers any time soon.
- Torts is not the savior of this team. It is still a very flawed team built by a flawed GM. Sather should be praised for this move, and the Zherdev move. But his signings have been ridiculous.
- Don’t underestimate the value of having Schoenfeld behind the bench as an assistant. He knows this current team better than anyone within the organization, and will help Torts get acquainted.
- Expect a transition period. The Rangers will be going from a defensive system to an offensive system, and there will be some collateral damage. Expect them to make some glaring mistakes while they adjust.
Who knows what Torts will do. Maybe he reads this blog and knows that we want Prucha in the lineup in lieu of Voros. I can only hope.