During his meeting with the media today, John Tortorella fielded questions about how the Rangers have changed since bringing in Mats Zuccarello, Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore around the trade deadline.
Tortorella said that while he has always felt good about the team, the lack of depth in the middle of the lineup was not allowing the Rangers to play 60 minute games.
Tortorella then said that the Rangers better play after the deadline was not an indictment of Marian Gaborik or the relationship that the two of them had. He called Gaborik a “hell of a player,” who helped Columbus nearly make the playoffs and is a player who the Rangers miss in a lot of situations.
He said that making any accusations about the relationship between Gaborik and Tortorella is “wrong and unfair” to both of them and that the trade was made because the Rangers picked up players who helped solidify the middle of the lineup.
On a conference call yesterday, Gaborik said (via Ranger Rants) that he wasn’t having fun this season and that he doesn’t think the entire team was having fun.
On his relationship with John Tortorella, Gaborik said “There was nothing there for me. It was nothing personal. Sometimes we didn’t see eye-to-eye but that’s it. That’s hockey. Everybody goes through stuff like that with their coaches.”
He also said that he spoke with Vinny Prospal, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov about moving to Columbus
On Sportsnet, Jeff Marek, John Shannon and Brad May did a segment on whether Marian Gaborik is in play at the trade deadline.
Marek asked Shannon if he thought Gaborik was in play and Shannon said “no…..next question. Listen….$7.5 million, that is the reason. The other thing is that I know they aren’t scoring any goals in NY and I know that Marian Gaborik has under performed, but remember, this is a defense first team with John Tortorella running it and there is a lot more pressure on Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash to score goals. I don’t blame Gaborik at all for anything that has happened there, in fact what they should try to do is let him loose and let him go into the offensive zone.”
May said “This is a player with great offensive instincts that you can’t teach. When you are playing defense and that is your first mandate when back in the offensive zone, you are a lot slower. You are not anticipating, you are not cheating to those openings. When you are focusing on defense first you are not as quick going the other way.”
Shannon responded and said “remember, this guy learned the game in a Jacques Lemaire system so it’s not as if it is foreign to him. He can do the job on the defensive side, but this is a 40 goal scorer. That is talent that you can’t get rid of and they love it at Madison Square Garden. I just don’t see him going anywhere.”
May said “there is only one place, and I am making this up, the San Jose Sharks because of the rumors that Ryan Clowe, who would fit great with the Rangers, and Dan Boyle. If he did that it would be a package trade. If I was a GM I would want Marian Gaborik, but I would want a defenseman coming with him. Boyle and Clowe to NY.”
Shannon said “in the cap world that is dollar for dollar and actually makes some sense.”
4:43PM: Gaborik, via the Daily News, said today that the bottom line is that he needs to be better.
Gaborik said, “I have to make a difference, so I have to bring my game to another level, try to have something right away. I have to get going, be more engaged and get something going right away – if it’s a good play or a chance, I have to get my legs going right away and things can happen.”
4:12PM: According to Steve Zipay and Andrew Gross, Tortorella and Gaborik had a 12 minute chat during practice today with Tortorella doing most of the talking and Gaborik doing most of the listening.
Gaborik told Blue Notes that it was a “good conversation.”
3:18PM: After scoring five goals in seven games in January, Marian Gaborik has scored four goals in the last 26 games.
He had two in 12 games in February and has two in 14 games in March.
In the past two games, Gaborik has two shots on goal. In the two games prior, one of which he scored in, Gaborik had 13 shots on goal.
Gaborik has played about 15:40 in the past two games and was skating with Kris Newbury and Taylor Pyatt during Friday’s practice.
John Tortorella told the Daily News that Gaborik needs to move his legs. He added that Gaborik’s skills are “still there” and “he’s a really good player, but it’s just a matter of getting himself on track here. It starts with his legs.
Dave Maloney said of Gaborik recently, “he needs to take the bull by the horns and be the player he knows he can be. Gaborik needs to take responsibility for being the player he needs to be.”
Adam Rotter: Gaborik starting the game on the fourth line doesn’t mean he will spend the whole game there, but with his struggles, the fourth line could present a match up that he can take advantage of. John Tortorella, at least publicly and probably privately, is trying to build up Gaborik, but he has had him in the top six recently and Gaborik hasn’t produced. Mats Zuccarello is around and they need to see if he can spark anything.
I still don’t think the Rangers move Gaborik at the trade deadline and instead look to trade him around the draft.