On Thursday afternoon, Rangers head coach John Tortorella took part in a conference call with reporters. Here is a complete transcript of that call.
Question: John, can you just look back to yesterday's game and tell me some of the positives you saw from your team?
COACH TORTORELLA: To be honest with you, not many. I thought we played some minutes in the second period, found a way to score some power-play goals; but other than that, we didn't play enough minutes.
Question: Historically you've rewarded players that play hard with more ice time and more responsibility. And conversely, players who don't do the things you want see less of that. What is the importance of sending that message not just to the individual but the entire team?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think all coaches do it. You're trying to put players into situations that are going to try to help you to win games or help you in certain situations and momentum swings. Conversely, some guys when you just don't think it's working, they don't see the ice or they don't get the minutes. So those are decisions that we make every game. You guys like calling them benchings and all that stuff, but as coaches we're trying to find a way to win a hockey game, and we make decisions accordingly.
Question: How do you address your team's recent trend of not being able to capitalize on those strong Game 1 wins in these three series here?
|Rangers head coach John Tortorella was not happy with the Blueshirts performance in Game 2, but expressed confidence on Thursday that the players will respond with a better effort on Saturday. |
COACH TORTORELLA: We don't spend too much time. You have a short-term memory come playoff time. Playoffs are a whole different animal. We don't spend too much time talking about streaks. We just spend time trying to make corrections in our game, trying to be better in the things we think we need to be better for our next game and go about our business.
Question: Throughout the three series it seems that it's been one up and one down for most of the time. Do you think that's because there's so much parity among these teams?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, when you're in the playoffs, all the teams are good teams. If you want to use parity, use it. Again, as I said earlier, you throw out the seedings These are good hockey teams that are playing this time of the year, especially when you get to the final four. The teams must be doing something right. We do play against another team. We want to try to win a couple in a row. But the other team doesn't want to lose a couple in a row. You play and each team is trying to find their way. We didn't last night. We moved by it. We learned from it, and hopefully we're going to be a better team come Saturday.
Question: How much at this point when it comes to bouncing back from a loss is Xs and Os on the part of you and your coaching, and how much of it has to happen in the hearts and the minds of the players do they have to just do it like you've been telling them and do it better, or do you change the game plan to any extent?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, at least this team here feels we like the way our team concept is. We have a way we like to play. I think in situations it's different. If you're asking about Saturday's situation, I think it's both. I think there are some corrections in our game we have to make, but I also think at this time of the year I know everybody likes talking about adjustments. But it simply comes down to a little bit of will and a mindset. Going into Saturday's game, I think we fall into both categories.
Question: Which category is it more so with Marian Gaborik for you? Is it will or executing a game plan?
COACH TORTORELLA: I'm not going to get into individual players. I think as you go into Playoffs and you go into the momentum swings of winning a game and losing a game, it's not one individual guy. Certainly in last night's game, it wasn't one individual guy that we end up on the wrong side of that. There are a number of things that we have to be better at as a team, and certainly, as you said, the two perspectives there. The Xs and Os and the mental part both come into our play come Saturday.
Question: You're not going to talk specifically about Gaborik, but when a guy like him, a goal scorer gets robbed the way he did by Brodeur. In your history with goal-scorers, does that stick in their mind and affect them later on in the game?
COACH TORTORELLA: It can't, and I don't think it does. I think that's the greatest thing about these games in the playoffs is handling the surges, handling situations that don't go your way. I think the teams that are still involved in this handle those types of things very well or they wouldn't be here. So I don't look at it that way at all. I speak for our group. I think our group handles the surges and situations that happen in games. Whether it be within the team or an individual very well, or we wouldn't still be playing.
Question: Everybody knows that hockey is a team sport. But when you look at the playoffs every team has a guy that goes on a hot streak. You guys have been playing some good hockey collectively, but are you looking forward to getting, especially on the offense, getting somebody that could get to the other gear and get something going on a more consistent basis?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think as you're involved in the playoffs and the further you go in it, you're looking for big plays at key times. We have found our way. One of the most important ingredients for us to be consistent and to be able to play at this time of the year is really to play as a team and not have any one specific guy be the guy. Having said that, you certainly want big plays at key times. I think that's what's going to -- I think that's what determines a lot of the winning and losing. Who made that big play. It's not always an offensive play, it could be a defensive play. So to answer your question, I think it's not just one person that we're looking to get hot. We're looking for the group of them to continue to play under our team concept, but also someone step up each and every period or each and every game or a key time to make a big play, and I think that's where you find your way.
Question: Would you agree with me that you basically got those big plays at big times on your defensive side of the game? Your defensemen have given you, most of the game, some great plays at key moments, and it's more on the offensive side that you were not able to get it?
COACH TORTORELLA: Well, I think consistency-wise, yeah. I think we're looking to get more consistent offensively, at least with our forecheck to develop some offense going into these two games here in the series. I think a pretty important play last night is really a defensive play. I thought the second goal they scored at the end of the period to tie it up was a really big play in that game, and that's not an offensive play, that's a defensive play and we get hurt there. So it could go either way. But certainly, as you play in these close games, would you like to get a couple of goal lead and all of that. Both teams would like to do that. So you're certainly looking for some offensive people to make big plays at key times.
Question: When you were reviewing the video of the game last night, you talk about not playing enough minutes. How much credit do you have to give to the Devils for taking some stuff away. And how much was your team for not giving you that next gear?
COACH TORTORELLA: I coach our team and that's all I'll speak on. We look for what we do, and we didn't do for a number of minutes. I'll put it to you that way. We just didn't do for a number of minutes in that game, and that's something that needs to be rectified.
Question: I was wondering when you get to this point in the playoffs and the focus of the entire sport is on you and three other teams, I was wondering if there were any additional measures you took as a coach to block out distractions either for yourself or your players to make sure that your voice is the only one that they hear?
COACH TORTORELLA: I think it's very important that we're concerned about our locker room and what goes on in there. It's not just listening to me, it's listening to some of the experienced people that have been through some of this stuff. A lot of our guys are new at this as far as playoffs, let alone playing in the third round. So I think it's very important that they listen to their teammates, whether it be in between games or within the game itself, in between periods. So that's what we try to do. We're concerned about our locker room. We're trying to close that down and just take care of business ourselves there. We really don't spend too much time worrying about what you guys are speaking about, and that's certainly not trying to be disrespectful, but we certainly don't. We have a lot of things that we have in our room that we have to fix, that we have to deal with, and really block out all the other stuff.