Prior to the lockout, John Tortorella was asked about where, as an organization, he felt the Rangers were. Tortorella talked about how the goal last season was to get out of the mode of fighting for a playoff spot and instead going after home ice advantage in the first round.
Tortorella, who always preaches one day at a time, said that the Rangers still have steps to take to get where they need to be.
Marc Staal told the Daily News that he feels the team is ready to make a run at the ultimate prize. “With what we did last year in the playoffs, the guys we have coming back, the guys we added, there is a real excitement. Instead of talking about making the top five in the conference and getting into the playoffs, now we’re talking about making a run for it and winning it. So it’s unfortunate that we’re in this position, and hopefully it ends soon.”
Mike Rupp told Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants that the window for the Rangers is open and they need to take advantage of it, “You only have certain windows of opportunity and we have a window of opportunity. You don’t want that to fall to the wayside. We were talking about it as players. You never want that what-if. Now we have our shot. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Before last season many Rangers, including Brian Boyle, said that they thought the Rangers had a team capable of finishing in the top four and claiming home ice in the first round.
Boyle said, “I think we have the team that can be and should be a top-four seed instead of being the fight somewhere between sixth and ninth.”
During the Q&A that John Tortorella held with fans at the Rangers Dog Walk, provided by the team, the Rangers coach noted that the team still needs to take the necessary steps to get where they need to be.
Quite honestly I have corresponded with the players. Listen a couple of years ago we talked about taking some steps, instead of being that 7th, 8th, and 9th team just fighting to get in and then going out in the first round, we started trying to take our steps. This year, honestly, we were trying to get into that 4th, 5th. We exceeded that, ended winning our conference and going to the Conference Finals. Having said that, you can’t look by anything. We still have a lot of things to learn as a hockey club, and we’re still a very young hockey team. But I think they understand to take things one day at a time. That’s so important. I have full trust in these guys that they are ready to answer the bell here.
“You always hear coaches say we need to go on the road to get the camaraderie. I think that home or away or wherever we’re at, I think it’s a tight group. I don’t think there have been a lot of changes with our club from last year. We’ve been on the road quite a bit. It gives us a chance to get together, but having said that, I think they’re tight anyway. As I’ve said right along, I like the hockey club. We have a lot of work to do to get where we want to be, but I like the hockey team.”
It’s been rough here the first nine games, but we’re confident we have the group to play this year. It’s really a bunch of little things that have hurt us, so I believe we just need to do the simple things better. We are staying upbeat and positive, and we believe in each other.
Dan Girardi to Blueshirts United
We like the direction the team has gone in the last couple of years. We added some strong pieces to the group. And of course, when you have a goalie likeHenrik Lundqvist, you’re always in the game. We feel pretty good.
On the postgame show on MSG last night, John Tortorella came out of the Rangers dressing room and told reporters that he wasn’t going to take questions and dissect the game with them.
He did give one quote and say “we sucked from head to toe and we need to move by it”
That won’t buy him any sympathy from reporters, who need his quotes to do their job, but I found it to be hilarious. I also think that this is Torts getting proactive and not letting a bad game lead to another embarrassing situation where he is arguing with reporters after a loss.
The fact is, the Rangers did stink last night. Edmonton has a lot of talent and a great coach in Tom Renney, but the Rangers beat themselves with bad passes, not taking enough shots and a couple more bad penalties. It is still early and there are still some growing pains with the team but this wasn’t the type of game that you wanted to see after the third period in Vancouver and then the Calgary game. As Torts said, they move on and start to focus on Winnipeg. If last season is an indication, they will come out and play well on Monday.
“I read a Mark Messier quote a while back where he mentioned that you don’t focus so much on goals and assists, but just do whatever it takes to win. That’s the mentality of this program — we all want to win here. We all appreciate a blocked shot as much as a goal. So for me, it’s just doing whatever it takes to help our team win, to be an effective player night in, night out.”
Chris Kreider to College Hockey News
The kid gets it. I know that most of you are upset that he stayed in school and wish he was on the team now, but I am pretty sure that the wait will be worth it
More on Kreider from The Fourth Period