Dec 24, 2011, 3:31 PM EDT
Any team that played without three starters on defense would likely find ways to struggle. The Rangers have found ways to thrive, instead.
With no Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Steve Eminger, and Jeff Woywitka – a mix of starters and depth alike – the Rangers have been able to plug in a mix of rookies and journeymen to keep winning. Chief among them is Anton Stralman, a guy that John Tortorella wasn’t exactly a big fan of as Dave Lozo from NHL.com finds out.
“I didn’t know who the hell he was when we got him,” Tortorella said. “When I first saw him, I didn’t like him.”
Stralman’s reputation before coming to New York was that of an offensive defenseman who was virtually allergic to playing physical hockey. Instead, Stralman has adopted to Tortorella’s ways and stepped up his game all over the ice. Tortorella says that as they’ve given him more to do, the more he’s played the way they want him to both offensively and defensively.
Seeing Stralman fit in better has to be frustrating for both Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs fans alike who saw him struggle with their teams. Now he’s working out well as a guy able to keep the Rangers defense rolling along during a mild injury crisis. Not bad for a guy who was once thought to be too soft to stick in the NHL.
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 13
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 11
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 33
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) 110
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 4
- Blues come back to stun Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime, take 2-0 series lead 30
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2) 4
- Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again 51
- Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser 77
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 7