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





109 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.

jsadolph
jsadolph

@a57se @Nadnerb 

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

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!!!

Nadnerb
Nadnerb

One of the worst trades in franchise history!!!

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!!

Monty
Monty

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

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"?

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.

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. 

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.

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

@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.

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). 

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Sober? Huh? 


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

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. 

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. 

Zartan
Zartan

may sound crazy but lots of people go through life not knowing but i think Geno may be autistic, as is both Mannings. Also believe Tom Landry had a mild autism .


Geno may very well turn out to be the best jet QB to play the game.


Also want to add, that it's said that Einstein was autistic. Most ppl with mild autism act like Vulcans.

Zartan
Zartan

@a57se @Zartan


my observation of him and others like Payton. I'm on the spectrum and know how the mind works. They will have and obsession with not just figuring the game out but mastering it. Even changing it up at times.


Note; not completely sure about Geno, just the little gathered from him but it seems so.

jroc
jroc

@Zartan I'd personally appreciate it if you never post here again if you're going to make assine comments like that, but that's just me.

Lloyd Jay Reife
Lloyd Jay Reife

@Zartan

This is the other reason why I come here. I like to see how strong my brain cells are by submitting them to this kind of utter stupidity and see if they can withstand the torture


SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se Staubach?  EDIT: Steve Young?

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@a57se 

See: The Wildcat.  The Jets offense has been a day late and a dollar short, in terms of innovation.  If it were up to Rex, they wouldn't allow forward passes.  The Jets offense is the Flintstone car of the NFL.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Ceifus Hornswoggle @a57se QBs in the WCO have always run.  Even Montana had as many as 61 rushes in a season.  Young averaged @ 65 per season in his great '92-'94 run (he had 7 rushing TDs in '94).  EDIT:  I forgot to add Aaron Rodgers, who also averages around 60 rushes.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Geno rushing it 72 times is not more prolific than Steve Young's output, though. Young rushed 76, 67 and 55 times in the stretch SD is talking about. That's right in line with what Young did when he was at his best. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se @SackDance99 @Ceifus Hornswoggle No doubt that Vick ran more in the MM offense, but when Jeff Garcia was young, he ran more than 70 times 3 years in a row...Jeff Garcia!  Now, is it a surprise that Vick, the best rushing QB of all time would run more than Jeff Garcia in MM's offense?  McNabb early in his career in Reid's WCO eclipsed 80 twice.  So, in the context of MM's WCO, Geno's and even Vick's numbers aren't that out of whack from MM's historical numbers for his younger QBs.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bent Well, when you have no QB's, you have to improvise! 


My head coach in high school, because our QB's sucked, installed an offense where we had no QB and we direct-snapped it to the RB every play. We won 9-7 in the division championship game, you would've loved it. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Over the course of an entire season, teams would be forced to put a spy on Geno and then he'd run less. I expect that to happen early this season, fwiw. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @a57se A running QB's best friend is the TE, who chips and goes into the flat, which is vacated when the LB chases the QB.  Vick made Alge Crumpler a 4-time Pro Bowler.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Yes, because that meant he was forcing more throws. 


Geno will continue running, then teams will adjust to stop him from running, which will open up the passing game, which would improve arbitrary stats like "they were 1-7 when Geno didn't run." 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se A running QB? No. You can try to bracket him (which is what teams did to young Vick), but that means you're taking the teeth out of your pass rush. You can spy him, but that means you're taking one person out of covering a receiver and making them trail the QB's movements. You can do nothing, but that'd open up the running lanes again. 


That's why, in theory, a dual-threat QB is so attractive. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se @Brendan Six of those 31 over the last four games were when he took a knee FWIW.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bent I can't believe they still count that as a rushing attempt. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @a57se I think it also means that he wasn't in the flow of the offense.  As he got better command, he ran more and more decisively.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Brendan @Bent Better than college where you lose rushing yardage if you get sacked and then the media are like "Geno isn't a running QB, he only averaged 1.4 ypc DERP".