I've known Brandon Fortunato for a few years now -- I actually started coaching him when he was 12. You see a kid with a lot of hockey sense. He really understands the game and the flow of the game for a defenseman. He really has the wits and the knowledge and he sees the ice very well out there. He knows how to make things happen, especially in the transition game.
Brandon really came in with a lot of intangibles that a lot of young athletes or young kids don't have these days. It's his headsy play, his smarts and his understanding that separates him from a lot of kids. He controls the game very well. If anything, he's really improved in his ability to defend against bigger guys. He's very intelligent and he plays the angle game well. He continues to improve in a lot of areas consistently.
Brandon is more of a leader in the way he performs on the ice. He's a quiet kid. He loves just being a part of the guys. He's one of the guys when he comes into the room. You really don't have to say much to him. He brings it pretty consistently the majority of the nights. I don't see too many nights that he's taken off. He's one of those guys who is very easy to coach. You don't have to spend a lot of time trying to motivate him. He wants to do well every night. It's fun to watch him play with the puck.
If Brandon gets to the next level, it's going to be because of his head. He's always going to be one of those really intelligent guys. He's got to use that to his advantage. I think he's got to continue to use that in games, especially as he goes up against bigger and faster guys.
If he goes up through the process into college, I see him definitely being a valuable asset.
For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.
— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday