New York Rangers Hockey: ‘Grab Points When We Can’

You would think you could tell how pissed off John Tortorella is by how short and snippy his answers are, but that’s only part of the equation. To really tell how pissed off Tortorella is just listen to how many names of reporters he drops in his answers following a loss. On Thursday night in Ottawa, he used “Sam” for Sam Rosen of MSG, “Pat” for Pat Leonard of the Daily News and “Zip” for Steve Zipay of Newsday. It was the most pissed off Tortorella has been all season.

Keeping with tradition, here is the analysis of John Tortorella’s postgame press conference from Thursday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Senators.

On what areas he sees improvement.

“Oh, Sam I’m not going to go over areas and all that. I’m glad we got a point. I still don’t think our full lineup is playing, so we just got to keep grinding away until we get people playing and try to grab points when we can.”

Aww, poor John Tortorella and the Rangers. They don’t have their full team! They don’t have all of their best players! They don’t have their complete roster! Paul MacLean’s Senators just lost their Norris Trophy-winning defenseman for the season with a torn Achilles and overcame a late third-period deficit with their backup goalie after their starter sprained his ankle and still beat the Rangers. And Jason Spezza has only played five games (and has five points) due to injury. I didn’t hear Paul MacLean crying about his team’s injuries after Thursday’s game.

No one is going to feel bad for the Rangers and no one should feel bad for them. Yes, it sucks that Rick Nash has missed two straight games and will miss his third on Saturday, but part of being a good team is having depth and the Rangers don’t have much of it even when they are at full strength. Some people want to blame the lack of depth on the Nash deal that saw Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anismov get shipped to Columbus, but if you want two dimes for a quarter then I can’t help you.

If the Yankees used “Heroes remembered, legends born” last season and are going with “A Timeless Legacy” in 2013, well John Tortorella gave us the 2012-13 Rangers’ slogan: “Grab points when we can.” Because when the lockout ended, coming off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance and with the addition of Rick Nash, “Grab points when we can” was exactly how I thought this season would play out. I was terribly mistaken to think that the number 1 seed a year ago could possibly keep up their level of play. Stupid me. So eff it! “Grab points when we can!” Let’s go Rangers!

On whether or not he sees the power play getting more consistent.

“I thought the past couple of games it’s been OK. We scored a big goal tonight. We still … we don’t have enough guys playing. We don’t. But we get a point, so we just gotta keep trying to grind way and get points until we have our full team playing here.”

Here are the facts aside from the most telling stat the the Rangers are 4-for-31 on the power play in February and last in the league on the power play on the year.

1. Rick Nash didn’t play on Thursday night.

2. Of Rick Nash’s 292 career goals, 83 (28 percent) of them have come on the power play. Of Rick Nash’s 267 career assists, 100 of them have come on the power play (37 percent).

3. Of Rick Nash’s 183 power-play points, one of them has come with the Rangers.

What does all of this tell us? Two things.

1. With Rick Nash in the lineup, the power play still sucks and Tortorella shouldn’t be blaming his absence on the special teams’ struggles.

2. The players Rick Nash plays with on the power play shouldn’t be on the power play.

How do we know this?

Rick Nash was a productive special teams player on the worst team in the league. He’s now supposedly playing with better players on the man advantage, but for some reason the power play isn’t scoring and it certainly isn’t because of him.

The power play needs new personnel. Michael Del Zotto doesn’t belong on the first unit and that needs to be the first change. Pierre McGuire told Mike Francesa that when Tortorella was an assistant coach he was a special teams expert, which only further complicates the situation since this should have been fixed by now.

(Everything else from Tortorella’s answer is the same as the first answer. Poor, Torts! He doesn’t have his best player! But his team has had the lead in their last three losses, but let’s not talk about that.)

On what was working on the line when Halpern jumped up with Callahan and Pyatt in the third.

“They forechecked. They had the puck.”

Can’t argue there.

On why he thought it was necessary to make that line change.

“Because we weren’t developing any offense, Pat.”

Fair enough.

On if he sympathizes a team that lost their number 1 goalie.

“Do I sympathize for what’s happened there? No, I … No.”

Then no one is going to sympathize with your injuries, so why keep bringing them up?

On if the play that injured Anderson was an accident.

“He was tripped. It was a goal too.”

OK.

On what happened with the quick whistle on Halpern’s waved-off goal.

“They said they must have lost site of the puck. I didn’t get an explanation. I don’t bother with that anymore.”

You don’t bother with should-have-been goals, but just said that Chris Kreider getting tripped into Craig Anderson should have been a goal. OK then…

On if Gaborik played better for the whole 60 minutes.

“Are you asking me a question or telling me, Zip? Ask me the question.

“That line played well.”

If Gaborik’s line is the only line that plays well on Saturday night in Montreal, I’ll have a postgame press conference to analyze on Sunday.

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