Recap: Behind The Bench (Torts on Injuries, Protecting Players and Advanced Stats)

John Tortorella

  • On the season, “Up and down. Lack of consistency, but you take it day by day and try to get better. I think we have played some good minutes, have lacked energy, all teams go through it. A lot of teams go through it, the key is continuing to try and get better.”
  • “There is the supp discipline, I don’t totally get it sometimes, I think it’s inconsistent. I think the players need to police themselves. I am all for doing everything you can to win a hockey game, I just feel that there has been a lack of respect amongst the athletes. The hit from Kaleta is just a dirty hit, probably one of the most dangerous hits I have seen this year. I don’t think Brad is injured that bad, but forget about hockey, that had a chance to be a life threatening situation the way he went in there. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but it’s wrong.

  • Keenan: “We have taken part of the game away from the players. There is a lack of respect and a lack of protection for themselves. They think the rules are going to look after them. I tell the players that they have no friends on the ice, even your teammates could accidentally injure you. These people who are going after people, knowing there won’t be any repercussions.”
  • “Maybe it’s a little old school, but the players need to police themselves and the league has taken it away from them. You can get suspended, fined, but your team down a man. I’m not saying it needs to turn into a brawl, but they have taken so much away from the players that I think players don’t think they are going to get hit and they don’t protect themselves. It comes from on the ice where if a guy cheap shots a you, he knows he is going to pay the price in the game. I think players would be more aware. It’s the same guys in our league who continue to do this.
  • On not revealing information about injuries, “It’s to protect the player. This with the media thinking that they need to get all info, I don’t agree with it. We give them what they need but they don’t need to know everything going on with your hockey club. That includes the paying customer and public. They pay a lot of money and we try and put on a good show, but they do not need to know everything going on with your team.”
  • “Don’t tell me that there isn’t targeting going on in football. We are not trying to do it the wrong way, I think it’s the right way. My responsibility is the hockey team, those players, not you, not the public. We demand a lot out of them and I think we need to protect them.
  • On targeting an injured player, “I would not bring it up, but the players would know. Amongst the players. I know we are in the entertainment business, but we do not need to give out all the info. I listen to some managers and coaches spend 15 minutes talking about injuries. I think it’s ridiculous, it’s not right or wrong.”
  • I tell my players not to talk about injuries or if you are 50% or 75%. I don’t believe in the percentages either. It turns into I tweaked this, I tweaked that. Don’t talk about it. I always ask Rammer, can they play, yes or no. I just need a yes or no. I don’t need percentages, I just need to know if they can play.
  • What drives Michael Del Zotto, “the love of the game.
  • Torts on MDZ, “he is playing well. He is growing up. This is a number of years he has been in the league. I think it helped him to go to the minors, he may not think so. He has a lot to learn. He may not think so, but he does. The biggest battle is that he needs to know he doesn’t have it all figured out.
  • Jim Schoenfeld talks with Derek Stepan about changing the curve on Stepan’s stick to help him receive passes better.
  • Torts: “Schoeny…I think he is trying to do something the right way. Step has really struggled one-timing pucks.”
  • On hockey stats, “I look at the league stats and I know they aren’t correct. I am not a big stat guy. I like judging and watching players and seeing how they react in situations. I don’t rely much on stats, the plus-minus is probably one of the most talked about ones and the false representation. There are some I keep a close eye on, not too many. There is so much technology. I like watching and seeing how they play.
  • Keenan, “you need to have a feel for the player and know their hockey intellect. I don’t know what is out there that can measure hockey intellect.
  • On sending players down to the minors, “your telling a kid that they are not going to play at the top level. It’s not hard, it’s necessary. If that kid wants to get here and stay here then it’s a step he needs to take. I don’t find it difficult at all.