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Tortorella puzzled by Rangers' poor play vs. Flyers

Wednesday, 12.30.2009 / 11:23 PM / NHL Insider

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

"If we have to go with the coach losing his mind and making an idiot of himself every five games, then we're beating our head against the wall. It can't be that. It cannot be that way.  We have to find some consistency. I think we played pretty well after that Islander game. But guys, I'm being honest with you, I don't have an answer on why we played the game tonight the way we did. Because I thought we practiced well, I thought we got enough rest. They were in good spirits. I just … I don't know why."
-- Rangers coach John Tortorella

NEW YORK – If you're having a hard time figuring out the New York Rangers, don't worry -- coach John Tortorella knows exactly how you feel.
 
After a lackluster effort by his players, who he said look like they "don't care," Tortorella tried explaining what was wrong with his team. But much like his players during a 6-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, he didn't have any answers.
 
"I have a good understanding of the people in the locker room, but the way we played, I'm stumped," Tortorella said. "After the first period, it was a period that I just could not understand. Our soft passes, our turnovers, our coverages, right on through."
 
To his credit, Tortorella kept his cool following the game Wednesday, although he was visibly upset after calling a timeout during the first period after the Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. It was a far cry from his expletive-laced tirade following a 2-1 home loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 16.
 
The passionate outburst seemed to work, as the Rangers won their next four games. But they've followed that with back-to-back losses, both at home.
 
This time, Tortorella doesn't believe yelling is the answer.
 
"If we have to go with the coach losing his mind and making an idiot of himself every five games, then we're beating our head against the wall. It can't be that. It cannot be that way," Tortorella said. "We have to find some consistency. I think we played pretty well after that Islander game. But guys, I'm being honest with you, I don't have an answer on why we played the game tonight the way we did. Because I thought we practiced well, I thought we got enough rest. They were in good spirits. I just … I don't know why."
 
Wednesday's loss dropped the Rangers to 11-16-4 after opening the season 7-1-0. They have just one win in their last eight games at the Garden.
 
Center Brandon Dubinsky was one of the many Rangers who didn't bring his best game to the rink. He finished the night minus-4, and his turnover in the first minute of the second period led directly to the first of Simon Gagne's three goals.
 
"Tonight is not a night for me to talk about how the team played," Dubinsky said. "I'm one of the go-to guys here, one of the guys the team relies on, and a performance like that is unacceptable. It was probably my worst game as a New York Ranger. I just have to make sure that, if I get the opportunity to play (Thursday), I'm ready.
 
"I know I was awful. I committed turnovers that cost us goals tonight. So I have to make sure I come back and have a good game (Thursday) and play the way I need to play."
 
Tortorella considers the fact the Rangers can get right back at it with a game at Carolina on Thursday night as the only silver lining.
 
"We start over," Tortorella said. "That is the best thing for us right now, to get on a plane and play. Some things, obviously, there has to be some discussion on certain situations, but we have to start over. The best thing for us is to play right away."


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