Recap: Rangers Dog Walk with Coach Tortorella

Written by Bryan Finkel

On Sunday morning, Riverside Park was flooded with people and canines for the first annual Rangers Dog Walk with Coach Tortorella. Hosted by the John & Christine Tortorella Family Foundation, in conjunction with the national organization Best Friends Animal Society, the event raised money for the Westchester Humane Society and other organizations dedicated to promoting the humane treatment of animals.

Hundreds of fans—both of the Rangers and of dogs—signed up for the event over the course of the summer, and registration tables were further flooded with same-day entries this morning. The line to enter the event, while already hundreds-deep by 8am, featured as many dog-sized Rangers jerseys as it did people-sized jerseys, and everyone was in good spirits. Ahead of the event, current and former players mingled throughout the crowd and happily posed for photos, signed autographs, and talked shop with fans. Some—including Dan Girardi—came with their whole families, while others, like Henrik Lundqvist—came with their own canine participant.

After a few brief words of thanks from Coach Tortorella, the walk began. Taking advantage of the dwindling summer weather, the crowd completed a loop through Riverside Park at a nice pace, stopping only for the occasional photo with players who were conspicuously the few walkers who were not wearing Rangers garb.

Following the walk, Coach Tortorella—seemingly out of character for anyone that remembers the brevity of his interviews during the playoffs—willingly participated in a lively 20-minute Q&A session as fans sat on the grassy hill around him. He spoke with passion about the work he has done with humane dog shelters, and about the newest member of the Tortorella family, Blaze, his fourth rescue.1

Coach Tortorella also accepted and answered questions from a number of fans, about hockey and non-hockey topics alike.

Some highlights below:

Q:Speaking about being a head coach of an original-six team and having a platform to support a cause like this:

A“To have an opportunity to coach in this city in a head coaching position, it does open doors… we want to try to take as many opportunities while we are in this position—before you guys try to kick me the hell out of here!—and try to make a difference.”

Q: About the Rangers chances going forward:

A:“I think we have become a really good hockey club. I think we have really good people… I believe—I’m not going to predict—but I think it’s a team that’s going to be very competitive for a long time because we’re so youthful and [the players] go about their business the right way.”

Q:About the recent roster developments, namely the acquisition of Nash:

A:“[Nash is] here; I saw him. I’ve talked to him once, I don’t know who the hell he is, but I’ve heard such great things about him! I’ve seen him play from afar… I’ve talked to a few players that know him, and he’s going to fit in… We have him at a great time in his career… I think the next step for him is to get us there and become that impact player that I believe he will be for us.”

Q:On the potential lockout:

A: “I’m not paying any attention to it… we will be ready for our camp 9/21. If we get the go-ahead, we’ll be ready to go. If they say that we have to wait a few days, we’ll be ready to go then. My opinion, and it’s very uneducated…is that we don’t want this hiccup here and when it gets down to those last hours, something is going to get done.”

Q: On Chris Kreider’s development:

A:“He made a tremendous impact on our team in the playoffs… I think he can be a really big part of our club.”

Q: On Lundqvist, as someone in the crowd asked what kind of dog he would be if he were one:

A:“A pit bull. No question, a pit bull. Now if you’re talking about Brad Richards, it might be different…!”

Q: On Nash’s potential linemates:

A: “We’re definitely going to try to work Brad [Richards] and Nash together, especially with Gabby [Marion Gaborik] being hurt… I think it will work—I’m really anxious to see them play together.”

When asked who is the team-to-beat in the NHL this season: “The New York Rangers,” an answer which lead to quite a roar from the crowd.

On the chances of seeing Michael Sauer in the beginning of the season: ”I don’t think you’ll see Michael. Michael hasn’t responded that well—I’ll be quite honest—I do not think you’ll see him at the beginning of the season.”

The event, which Coach Tortorella billed as the first in a series of annual dog walks which will be hosted and sponsored by his foundation, was a rousing success and was enjoyed by everyone in attendance, whether two-legged or four-legged.

1. As an aside, Christine Tortorella is currently on crutches as a result of blaze having “run her over” recently, a story that John willingly shared with the crowd




175 comments
darkflyer
darkflyer

Question that may or may not be relevant.  Michael Vick is a left handed thrower, would the line, particularly the RG and the RT, need to learn how to block for a left handed thrower because now that side's the blind side, or does that not matter much, and if it does, would 25% of the snap be enough for them to get used to the difference?

Nadnerb
Nadnerb

Geno needs 100 percent of the reps if he's going to start!

Nadnerb
Nadnerb

If the Jets had only an average QB Rex would have already hoisted the Lombardi.

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

All jokes aside, If the Jets don't make the playoffs, Rex is gone. Woody's phrase "The time for patience is over," says it all! I don't know too many coaches who haven't made the post season  in what would be 4 years if the jets fail this season, and still keep their job. This is now a what have you done lately for me league. If the Jets win 10, and don't make the playoffs, I say it is 50/50 that Rex keeps his job.

a57se
a57se

@Nadnerb 

If I had a couple billion dollars I'd buy the Jets and straighten this franchise out in NO TIME!

SackDance99
SackDance99

@UncleJoesJetFarm It really depends how the team plays, and especially how it finishes.  It's hard to win in the NFL when your QB is a liability.  And, that's on the GM, not the HC.

jsadolph
jsadolph

@UncleJoesJetFarm 

Lets look at the Big Picture.

In the AFC the Div Leaders could be N.E?, Den, Cinn, Ind.

That would leave who for us to beat out for the Wild Card(if we don't catch lightning in a bottle and whip N.E. outright).

S.D.(maybe),  Balt.(not sure), Buff(haha), Miami(no), Oak(maybe). 

I don't see that we are worse that any of those teams.

a57se
a57se

@UncleJoesJetFarm 

I think Woody is a fool if he bases the decision to keep Rex or not on whether a team with a second year QB makes the playoffs or not.

Brendan
Brendan

@UncleJoesJetFarm Seriously, Joseph? Stop being a misleading sht-stirrer. 


The man predicted the team will make the playoffs. It is illogical to insinuate that he's trying to distance himself from being responsible if the team doesn't, since he already predicted they will. 


Glad to see the old Florio is back and I can go back to completely despising that joke publication. 

jsadolph
jsadolph

@a57se @Nadnerb 

If I had a couple Billion Dollars, I would make a couple investments and be a Millionair in no time. 

a57se
a57se

@jsadolph @UncleJoesJetFarm 

SD, KC, Pitt and Balt. barring anything crazy happening in Houston, Cleveland, Miami or Tenn.

The field is limited so the Jets chances are better then they have been some other years but their schedule isn't the easiest either...that, of course, is based of perception from last year and may play out very differently.

Brendan
Brendan

@jsadolph KC should be in the discussion. And I'm throwing Houston in there. If they get mediocre QB play, they can make a run for the WC. 

Monty
Monty

@jsadolph @a57se @Nadnerb yeah whoh is me...why do jet fans whine so much like little b#t#hes. Nut up weve have a really competitive team for a while..ask the bills Raiders and browns fans if they would trade places with you.


Make a list  like some other "fan"sites 10 most depressing jet disasters  and cry yourself to sleep

Were going to have a fun year this year.. if you want to whine about farve or marino do it before you go to bed in your moms basement. Training camp son get psyched!!

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @jsadolph 

The Texans need the running game to be at its' best along with the defense because if the offense has to rely on Fitzpatrick to carry them, they'll be toast.

jsadolph
jsadolph

@Brendan @jsadolph 

KC lost Brandon Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwarts from their OL and Mcluster is gone so they won't have the great field position they had last year and how good will Jamal Charles be with no line.  They also lost Brandon Flowers and Quinton Demps.

Even KC homers are mailing it in this year.

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@UncleJoesJetFarm @a57se 

There's a big difference between excuses and circumstances.

Excuse: I lost the race because I was thinking about animal rights when the starter gun went off.

Circumstance: I lost the race because the airline lost both my prosthetic legs, so I murdered my girlfriend and couldn't attend.

cosmicwy
cosmicwy

@UncleJoesJetFarm @a57se "No more excuses" is a stupid policy when making a proper evaluation.


I don't think Idzik would allow from that type of decision making process.

Bent
Bent moderator

@UncleJoesJetFarm @a57se What if several key players get injured and Rex keeps the team together and they go 9-7 but narrowly miss out.  You'd fire him in that situation because "no excuses"?

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se If the team goes 10-6 and they miss the playoffs, no. If the team goes 6-10 and they miss the playoffs, probably. 

Nadnerb
Nadnerb

@a57se @Nadnerb I was screaming on draft day for the Jets to move back up and get him. I'm pretty sure they could of had him at 23 if the morons in the mngmt department didn't trade our first pick for JOLLEY! are they serious!!!

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Well, if they're healthy, the OL and Foster are enough to make that running game happen. Big if, I know, but for the sake of this discussion they're at least worth a mention. We know there's at least one team every year that goes from awful to competitive and I think Houston has a great shot to be that team. 

a57se
a57se

@jsadolph @Brendan 

I think KC was a mirage last year but they still have a lot of talent on their roster...I think they'll be on the fringe of the playoff race and could sneak in with a bit of good fortune.

Brendan
Brendan

@jsadolph They also have a defense that is legit and could wreck house out in the West. 


They have talent on offense still and barring injury Charles could easily eclipse 2000 all purpose yards, even with his questionable OL (which, I agree, is a definite downgrade from last year's group). 

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@Bent @UncleJoesJetFarm @a57se Since you put it that way, I wouldn't fire him, but under as close to normal circumstances, without key injuries, and if they miss the playoffs with 9 wins, I think he is toast. Woody seems out of patience and knows the playoffs = more money and also,Woody wants a winning team like all owners and going on 5 years with no playoffs wont cut it.

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Even if the payoffs for this team are really unrealistic expectations?

I don't think Rex should get fired if this team fails to make the playoffs.

a57se
a57se

@Nadnerb 

Oakland got the Jets 26th pick in that draft in the Jolley deal. they traded up with Seattle at 23  for a 4th rounder, I think.

The jets could have done rthe same deal if they hadn't traded for Jolley.

Nadnerb
Nadnerb

One of the worst trades in franchise history!!!

jsadolph
jsadolph

@Brendan @a57se 

I agree with Houston, I think last year was an aborition.  Not sure how they thought that ditching Schab for Fitz was an upgrade, but they could be better than they were at the end of the year.  But my awful team to make the jump prediction this year is the Raiders.  They have been active this offseason and made some very non-Al Davis moves.  Could work for them.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Are they unrealistic expectations? Most fans don't seem to think so. 


And I'm not going to state whether he should/shouldn't be fired if he makes the playoffs because there are many variables that could have him keep his job if he doesn't make it. 

Monty
Monty

@a57se @Nadnerb if only ..poor poor us.. hey nadnerd why do you have a picture of Brenden as your image. :) 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

I would be surprised if MOST fans DIDN't think the team could make the playoffs...

The Jets management should  be more sober in their expectations to me.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Sober? Huh? 


The team should be confident in itself, if they're not they shouldn't bother suiting up. 

a57se
a57se

@jsadolph @a57se 

Haha...I have to reread just about everything I post and I still miss things!

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

You have to play the games regardless of how good you are. A good GM and upper management of a Football team should have a pretty good idea where their talent level compares with the rest of the league and what a realistic expectation for the team is...

What they say to the media and what they actually believe about the team may be two different things.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Well, sure, but there's nothing wrong with showing confidence publicly. 


And I never understand this whole "play dumb" thing that we as fans clamor for. We know that teams talk about this stuff behind closed doors, so why do we get critical when the team says it out in the open. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

There is a difference between showing confidence and bloviating. Rex tends to bloviate, IMHO.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se You're sounding like Hank now. 


Go read his actual quote and explain to me how predicting a playoff trip after not doing that for multiple seasons is speaking emptily. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se It's not a debate, though. Bloviating has a definition, Rex saying "we're rebuilding, but I think we make the playoffs" isn't blovating. 


2009/2010 Rex? Sure, you could argue that. You could even say he was like that in 2011 still, but acting like this is anything like what you're painting it as is inaccurate.