John Tortorella speaks at length with Michael KayMay 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.