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Rangers’ Tortorella: ‘Maybe scared was the wrong word’

Feb 7, 2013, 2:06 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins Getty Images

John Tortorella backed off comments he made about members of the New York Rangers playing “scared” following Tuesday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Or did he?

“I’ll tell you about our hockey club right now,” Tortorella, the Rangers head coach, told the New York Post following Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat against the Devils. “…we have some guys that are really playing hard, and we have some guys that look scared to me, and tentative.”

On Wednesday, he tried to clarify his remarks.

“We’re a four-and-five hockey club, and I don’t want to turn this into a criticizing of the players when we lose,” Tortorella told the New York Daily News. “That’s not what I’m trying to do. . . . Maybe scared was the wrong word, or maybe it was the right word. You can say it 10 different ways.

“That’s what I mean by being tentative and scared and all that. Try to make a difference. Don’t look to someone else, and don’t give your problems to someone else.”

The Rangers have won three of their last six games and are still trying to get themselves within the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference. They are, despite their struggles, one point behind the eighth-place New York Islanders.
The two teams meet Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
  1. mrpigs - Feb 7, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    Sluggish, lazy, lack of grit, rusty, searching for an identity… All could describe my NYR team right now. Extremely frustrating to watch! I haven’t seen 1 player bring it hard every night except for Nash so far, millers start was very impressive as well.

    • johnstone17 - Feb 7, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      In fairness, Cally, when in the lineup, always brings it. But your dead on accurate with your comments!

    • thecheeman - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      This team is built to go up and down the ice and outgun the other team. Nash, Gaborik, Richards, Stepan, Del Zotto, Kreider, Hagelin. When you have more weapons than the other team you open it up. You have the best goaltender in the world supposedly, it’s ok to put him in a position to face more shots, he should do better than the goalie on the other end.

      Prust is gone. Rupp is gone. Fedotenko is gone. There’s no point trying to squeeze the current roster into some tight interpretation of Torts’ preferred idea for winning hockey, as if nobody’s every won a Stanley Cup without having everyone get down and block shots all game.

      Let the horses run. It will bring Nash, Kreider and the young guys along faster with the team so they can be more reliable contributors in the postseason.

      If you’re counting on winning by having Nash throw his face in front of pucks in June you’re going to be disappointed.

  2. mojosmagic - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    John Tortorella is a great coach with a history of wearing out his welcome’s rather quickly. Think Mike Keenan.

    • johnstone17 - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Alot of similarities to Keenan

    • thecheeman - Feb 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Going that deep in the playoffs last year and getting outworked by the Devils has probably taught these players that there are more important things than burning all your energy out in Game 10.

      Torts is going to have to learn to accept the reality that this team will almost certainly make the playoffs playing any style, and to not freak out and start challenging guys’ manhood if they don’t finish first in the conference again. Torts has been around long enough to know this. We all just watched an 8 seed put it all together at the end of the season and smoke the entire league with only 3 total losses in the playoffs.

  3. tfaltin - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    I’m a bit worried as a Rangers fan. For years the Rangers were patient, brought along the kids, and under Torts finally developed an identity where they were defensively intimidating and dedicated to outworking their opposition. Now the roster has changed. Fedotenko, Prust, Dubinsky, and Anisimov are gone, and apparently the effort and attitude went with them. (Not to say Nash, Pyatt and Kreider don’t work hard individually, it could be an issue of being in sync, but the unit as a whole looks passive.) Those were 4 defensively stout forwards that may have been more valuable that we originally thought. Now it seems the Rangers have the personnel for a different style of play, and it’s disconcerting.

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