Recap: John Tortorella On The Michael Kay Show (Prust/Worried About Being Fired?/PK-PP)

Tortorella 24/7

  • On when the Rangers clinched, “I was happy for the guys. I think they have stuck in there. We are 9-3-1 in our last 13. I think they have concentrated on taking each day at at time. It’s been an up and down year but I think we solidified ourself with our confidence.”
  • On the first goal, “the first goal is so important, but I think we have handled ourselves really well. We have been more consistent with our starts. Even through all the ups and downs, we have such a good leadership group and a young leadership group that doesn’t get too high or too down.”
  • On this season and thinking it would be tougher, “I don’t think so. One of the biggest things for all of us is how our team felt right away. I started it and it’s the truth, we lost the middle of our lineup. We picked up a hell of a lineup with Rick Nash but I don’t think anyone realized how much the middle of our lineup stabilized us. That caught us and I knew it right away. I felt like I had no maneuverability to try and get a push or change the lines. It just wasn’t there. I think the deal we made helped us and it helped Columbus. It has restored some of what we are able to sustain in a 60 minute game.”

  • Would it have been easier to not make the trade for Nash, “I don’t think you can ever, I make that deal 10 out of 10 times. He has 19 goals, 40+ points. You can’t look by that. As the team keeps evolving, to have Nash, I think you can fill in the other parts. You can replace the Dubinsky, Anisiomv, Prust, they are really important but you can replace them. You can’t look by getting Nash not just for this year but for the future.”
  • On the step the Rangers took this season, “I’m not afraid to say it. I think it’s a sideways step. I don’t think anyone wants to say that. It just doesn’t go 1+1 equals 2. It just doesn’t work that way. We lose a major piece with our personality and our lineup with Prust. I don’t think we should pay that money for Prust so he goes. People think that you go to the Eastern Conference Final and then just walk into the Stanley Cup Final, it doesn’t work like that.”
  • Which is more important to get going, PK or PP, “both. I think that the PP has been sporadic but it has been much better. The PK has bothered me because in the past it has always stoned teams when our PP has struggled. We have really struggled this year with the basic part of PKing and that is getting the puck out. It’s something that can be fixed and it needs to be if we have any chance. I still don’t think we have a true QB on our PP. I think in the future it needs to be looked at.
  • Can you tell us the status of Ryane Clowe, “No.” Can you give an update on Marc Staal “….No.”
  • On seeding/tomorrow’s lineup:”I think if the Islanders lose tonight we are in a pretty good spot. I think we just need to keep on trying to play our best hockey in our last game. If the Isles lose it changes some of my thinking. We are banged up. That is a major concern of mine. I’m gonna look at the scoreboard tonight and that may dictate our lineup tomorrow. I think we need to win that hockey game. I think you look at some of the teams who have clinched, it’s been a battle. We haven’t been pretty, but we have found ways to win hockey games.”
  • On Zuccarello, “He is much better. I have Brass, Clowey and I forget who at RW but it’s not working. I have Brass, Kreider and Nasher playing and they are doing nothing. We put Richards and Zucc with Nasher and he takes off. Zucc makes people better. He has such a great offensive instinct. I think he just makes people better. Where he has come from where we let him go to where he came back, he has been a huge plus.”
  • Was he worried he would be fired, “I don’t worry about that. I never have. It’s all part of the business. If you are a coach and you are running a team you will make the wrong decisions at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons if you are trying to save your ass. If you have your convictions and think you are doing it the right way, stick with it. If the people above you don’t like it they will show you the door, and so be it. I think a number of people want my door open and to be shown the door….it doesn’t bother me.  I answer to the team. That is where my decision making is, that is where my convictions are….are we doing it the right way. I always look at the man in the mirror. I have to asses myself and I do everyday. Am I doing the right thing for the hockey team? If you are then you are okay. If people don’t agree then you are gonna get fired, so be it.”
  • On whether upper management was on board with thinking it would be tougher this year, “at the time of the Nash deal…..no. Everybody felt that when you get a guy like Nash and the way we grew as a team this year, we were ready to take the next step. Whether that means the Stanley Cup Finals or whatever that may be. I don’t think anybody, and they would be lying to you if they did, thought we would be as naked as we were in the middle of our lineup at the beginning of the year. I wanted to keep Prust. He had a personality in our room, I think a team needs to have a personality. Dubinsky was a hard player, Feds was a hard player. At one point in time I wasn’t sure which guy should go, Stepan or Anisimov, that is how I felt about Anisimov. You have your thoughts, Johnny Mitchell made some huge plays for us, it’s not like we didn’t try to sign some guys. Other teams are interested because we had success. I didn’t think we would be as naked as we were but that is part of a team changing every year and you just need to find a way to keep your traction and get in. Where we go from here….we will see what happens.”