We here at BSB are big fans of John Tortorella. Sure, he’s curt with the media, but we aren’t media, so we really don’t care what he says in interviews. We are more concerned with his on ice decisions, his roster decisions, and how he handles the locker room. This brilliant move covers the third aspect, and it is directly related to Chris Kreider.
Elliotte Friedman of CBC pointed out –during his weekly 30 Thoughts column– that Torts approached the team about the Kreider signing:
Tortorella asked the team to trust the organization’s decision to bring in Chris Kreider so late in the season, knowing it could upset chemistry.
It was likely a short discussion, but it was one of those necessary discussions. The Rangers won 50 games without Kreider, so why would they risk bringing him in for the playoffs? The Rangers were the top seed, and did it all through hard work and playing for each other. What if Kreider didn’t fit in with that mentality? It was a big risk.
Tortorella asked for trust. They gave it to him. Kreider rewarded him.
Another point brought up by Friedman was how Torts found a spot for Steve Eminger, even though it was in a limited role:
Putting Eminger in the lineup for that one game showed the Rangers that Tortorella would find opportunity for someone who’d been around most of the year (despite injury). Small thing, but a big thing.
We’ve been saying since 24/7 that the Rangers will skate through a wall for their coach, and it’s little things like this that make us realize why. Eminger has been a good soldier for the Rangers for the past two seasons. He has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him. A player like that deserves to be rewarded, and he was, even if it was with limited ice time.
The coach of any hockey team is an easy target and an easy scapegoat. It’s a part of the job. He’s not here to please the fans, he’s here to do what he needs to do to win a Stanley Cup. The one thing we’ve learned is that Torts has his players doing whatever it takes to win. We just learned that doing whatever it takes to win will get rewarded as well.