John Tortorella speaks at length with Michael Kay

May 31, 2012, by

You all come here every day to get our take on the players, the coaches, and the organization at large. A lot of what we do day in and day out analysis-wise is based on our own experiences playing the game, observing it, or having been employed by it.  With that said, we don’t have access to the team or permission to speak with John Tortorella. We don’t have credentials and likely never will. So whenever there is a chance to hear a coach speak at length about the team, we will do our best to find it and post it here.

Torts’ interview with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN Radio was great and deserves a listen.  They asked him some tough questions and spoke about many of the topics we have covered relentlessly over the past several months.

Some key points he made:

The Devils Series – Plain and simple, he thought they were the better team. They had more balanced scoring and greater roster depth.

The Rangers style of play– He doesn’t think blocking shots or relying on an aggressive heavy hitting forecheck contributed to their loss at all. Actually, he thought the Rangers executed their style for large parts of game 5 and 6 and believed our team should have won those two games.

He said blocking shots is something the players want to do and they all believe it is part of playing defense. The media blaming these losses on blocking shots is a cop out. He thinks those who wrote negatively about shot blocking are disrespecting our players and the team. Still, at no point does Torts ever tell his team to not carry the puck for the sake of blocking shots.

* Side note: We actually tore apart those who wrote negatively about the whole shot blocking mentality and much of what he said was echoed in our posts. If you’re not caught up on that narrative, it’s worth a read.

Bringing in a premier scorer who fits the system- He said we are going to look to improve our team, but he’s not looking to turn a potential prolific goal scorer into a checker or a grinder. He said that’s not what we do here. He thought getting a scorer would be nice, but thinks the defense needs to be addressed first.

*Side note: He also spoke about not trusting Bickel or depth guys, so expect the Rangers to target some bottom pair blueline help over the summer. We’ll talk more about team needs as the off-season progresses.

The Media & Press Conferences:  Torts thinks there’s some really good guys covering the team, but thought he got asked a lot of stupid questions. For example, during the Capitals series, he was asked about why he called a timeout after an icing. He said the players were exhausted and those types of questions are no brainers.

*Side note: I was glad he brought this up because it’s a terrific point about some of the ridiculous stuff this guy gets asked. This specific incident was curiously not covered elsewhere, but again we talked about this here.

Torts did admit to not being very good with the press, but didn’t think they understood that he doesn’t want to give out too much info when we’re playing the same team for two weeks in a row. He said he likes talking hockey and receiving good questions, but at the end of the day, he is just trying to protect his team and have a bunker mentality in the playoffs.

He spoke more about Sully and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as Kreider, MDZ, Gabby’s benching and Bickel’s play. He also talked about team expectations. The interview runs about 25+ mins. Give it a listen. It’s worth it.


  1. Dave says:

    I’m still convinced a lot of MSM guys never played the game.

    • The Suit says:

      According to Torts, they’ve never played sports period haha

      • Dave says:

        That’s a bit overboard, but it’s painfully obvious which guys have played the game before.

        Carp, for example, knows his stuff. I like reading his recaps.

        • The Suit says:

          Carp is a good one. Enjoy Rothman too. Ill always read Brooks for entertainment value. Gross seems genuinely like a good guy too. The rest, meh…

  2. Walt says:

    I listened to the interview, and Torts is a very thoughtful, articulate, insightful man. The funniest thing he said was that the three coaches, Sully, Schoenfeld, and himself are all type A’s, and they all speak their minds. I would never have thought that John was a type A, ha ha ha!

    Say what you may, this guy is for real, and the more I hear him talk, the more I understand why his players will go to the mats for him!

  3. becky says:

    Loved the part where Michael asked if his family ever gets mad at him and he response “Half the time my wife won’t talk to me” … I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more, I’d run through a wall for Torts. He’s a perfect leader. So glad to hear him talking positively about the future of this team. Kudos to Michael Kay and Don La Greca also for a great interview.

  4. Comnsnse says:

    The media flacks not bright? Gee,I guess you folks aren’t tuned into the MSG “omerta” concept! This entire organization has been insulting the press since John Dellapina worked for the DN,or since Sather came on board in 2000. Torts didn’t talk to Brooks for a long time. As for Sather,his “Heinie-ness” only consults with Junior about cigars and sax players! Get real,this org has gotten away with murder for years because the editors of the local papers have been intimidated by MSG suits. What other sport does the GM declare “no interviews during the season”? End of rant…..temporarily. BTW, I’ve been saying for weeks that the D is a clear out hitter away from being a very good D. McIllrath or a FA.

    • Dave says:

      And I’ve been countering for that same number of weeks that the player they had there was Sauer. He got hurt. It happens.

  5. Comnsnse says:

    Addendum. Didn’t someone say Sather made a “good move picking up Woywitka during the season”? Maybe they’d like to amend that comment,since he’s useless and the coach didn’t even mention his name for next season!

    • Justin says:

      I wish we had that face palm emoticon that I’ve seen around the inter-webs. You’re betraying your name buddy…I explained to you in the post yesterday that just because Woywitka doesn’t have a long term place within the organization doesn’t mean that at the time it wasn’t a good move. The D-depth was seriously compromised and Woywitka was more than serviceable until Staal returned. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s all I was asking/expecting of him.

      Side note: what difference does it make to you how the org treats the media? Media coverage is part of the sport, but where do the guidelines exist as to how much access or to what kind of personnel/info the media must be given access to?

      • Spozo says:

        It’s useless asking him questions. He never responds.

      • Rickyrants13 says:

        Everyone of the Def players the Rangers brought in gave us more then we could have expected. How great do you think players are gonna be that are even available at that time of the year. Jeff played far better then anyone thought he would and at one time was getting even better. And Stralman ave us that and then some. And might even have earned himself a big payday.

      • wwpd says:

        I get far more entertainment value out of Torts’s 60 second pressers than from Tom Renney’s soporific meetings.

        and I can hardly remember the last time I heard one of those media doofuses ask a question that I thought Tort should answer but didn’t. mostly they are just trying to get the sound bite or quote to insert into a statement they have already written. 85% of which is asinine

    • VinceR says:

      The exact quote was: “Jeff Woywitka was shrewd waiver claim that helped keep the ship afloat until Marc Staal returned from injury.”

      It took me two seconds to find that, it was 3 posts down the page. Also your claim above is completely irrelevant to that statement. You should read with a little more attention. However I’m not quite sure you are here to add to the conversation, so you might be getting just what you want out of all of this.

      And really, what do you care about how the media is talked to?

    • Walt says:

      Get off it already, in the pinch the man worked out well. No one ever said that he was an all-star, but when we were in dire need, he filled in the hole for us. What about your hole, fool.

      Some of the idiots in the media are being treated poorly, they are a bunch of fools who think they know it all, a bunch of tools! Personally I get a kick out of them being put in their collective place. I hope next season, if some jerk asks stupid questions, Torts reacts the same way.

      • Rickyrants13 says:

        Hey guys lets not forget what forum were in here? Just because someone isnt saying what we want to hear doesnt meen we need to call him names. This forum isnt like that And if we treat it like that Thats what it will become.

        If you want to beat them Do it with knowledge not words.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t understand you. For some reason, you seem to think that every acquisition needs to be a franchise player that does everything for this team. I’m sorry, but you are flat out wrong.

      A successful acquisition means that the player performed his role for the good of the team and was a useful player for a period of time. Without Woywitka, the Rangers would have been dressing Suit on defense. They had no one else. Woywitka was decent in his time, but he was clearly a temporary solution.

      Enough is enough.

  6. Chris F says:

    I really loved what Torts had to say in this interview. His response to how ridiculous some of the questions have been at the press conferences was pure gold. Referencing the question that was posed about how Hagelin felt coming off the 3 game suspension, Torts, dripping with sarcasm, posited how he should have responded to that question. It was classic.

  7. Tim B says:

    Torts wants to protect his team only from Larry (“Brooksie”) Brooks. He is the one of the cery few who asks bad questions instead if good ones.

    • Chris F says:

      Yea, sure…

      Stan Fischler asking why Torts took a time-out on an icing call when the team was visibly tired is a good question? That’s just the first that popped in my head, I heard literally 50 absurdly elementary or convoluted questions asked of Torts throughout this playoff run.

  8. Chuck A. says:

    Call me a birther – are we sure Torts wasn’t born in Brooklyn??

  9. Mikeyyy says:

    I do like torts… Now. But I am concerned with his career playoff record. Lots of ousting in the first round. And a career .500 playoff record…which is funny because the rangers were 10 and 10.

    I do hope we can see a more uptempo game going forward. Otherwise aren’t we playing the same brand of hockey Renney had us playing?

    • The Suit says:

      No Renney’s system was much more passive in all three zones. He had them playing a 1-2-2 neutral zone forecheck. The Rangers are aggressive in the neutral zone and the offensive zone. Renney also didnt really allow his defensemen to pinch or join the rush, where as Torts wants them up ice joining the offense.

      The Rangers had problems executing the system in the post-season, but as Torts has said many times, he wants them hunting the puck, much in the way LA plays.

      I wouldn’t be too concerned about records, past Cup wins, Jack Adams, or the losses either. It’s all in the past. All of it. A little more speed in this line up and a little more depth will get us back where we belong.

  10. rob sahm says:

    love him or hate him torts gets the best out of his teams. and he is leading the rangers in the right direction i am glad he is our coach

  11. Rickyrants13 says:

    You guys arent being fair to some of the media. First off I’de bet my right leg that a guy like Stan knows more about hockey then Torts ever will. And I bet he asked that ??? for us. And not for his own reasons.

    You have to remember that alot of the media ask the ??? that the average fan wants to know. Not guys that follow the sport like us.

    Plus the fact that no one knows how Torts is gonna act from the time he walks in the room. I think that Torts just doesnt like doing these things. He’s not a people person and it shows.

  12. wwpd says:

    did anyone see that episode of Behind the Bench with torts and keenan? another example where he can give a long thoughtful interview when he’s not all worked up immediately pre- or post-game