Recap: John Tortorella On Mike Francesa

Justin Tuck Mike Francesa

  • On the Rangers, “they are dying to play.”
  • On the lockout season and changing the playoffs, “I don’t think so. Once you get to this point, I think it starts. This is when the real stuff starts. Maybe some teams didn’t get in that would have over an 82 game season. I think it’s business as usual and that is how we are going about it.”
  • On lack of playoff experience, “I think it’s great to have some experience and understand the pressures and momentum swings. But sometimes, when I was with Tampa we didn’t have a clue because we were so young. Sometimes having the innocence and not knowing helps. We have an interesting team with guys who were with us last year and with guys who haven’t played.

  • On fighting to get into the playoffs, “I like the way we are coming into it. We make some deals at the deadline that solidified the guts of our lineup. The last five weeks or so we have been able to sustain our play. Early in the year we couldn’t sustain ourselves. We are 10-3-1 in our last 14, a number of guys are contributing. I like where we are at.”
  • On last year, “we are a different team. With Ryane Clowe out we are even more different. The last few weeks we have found the jam in our lineup, the straight ahead play. We have defended very well, but we have different personnel. It’s hard to keep your team together and keep the same identity. Are we far off, no, but we are certainly not the same. We need to find ways to win.
  • On the PP, “we have had a couple of good practices, I think we have been better. Is it a power play that has been consistent, no. I look at it another way, we have had a few tough years where our PP hasn’t been great but our PK has cancelled it out . Our discipline will be very important. If we can play our game and not take 4 or 5 penalties per game I think we will be okay.”
  • On the Caps, “They are little different. Last year in the playoffs some of their top guys didn’t have the ice time, it will be there this year. I think they will be more dangerous this year. They have played very well. It is tough to make the playoffs and the teams that are in it are playing good hockey.
  • On playing Ovechkin, “I don’t think you will stop him completely. They have a number of guys who can hurt you. He is a dangerous guys on the PP. They have good skill forwards and we have to pay attention. We need to contain him. These momentum swings in playoffs are very important. You will struggle but you can’t let it get away.”
  • On whether the team would have made the playoffs if they didn’t make the trades, “We would not have made the playoffs. No one in our organization, when we made the deal for Nash and then lost some players to free agency, no one thought it would hurt us as bad as it did. I think the deal was really good for our club and I think it propelled us.”
  • On building and keeping the core from last year, “I think we can use it. Some of the foundation that we lost hurt us more than we felt it would. We end up 12th overall. I think we took a sideways step in losing some of what we had, but you end up with a player in Nash that will bring great dividends as we go on here. I think you can fix some of the little problems that we have here easier than getting a guy like Nash. It isn’t 1+1=2. Things change and it’s not that you go to the conference finals and then the Stanley Cup finals.”
  • On the regular season, “after I realized that we were a little naked in our lineup. No one wanted to write it up this way, but I liked the process that we went through in how we found ways to win. It all came together in the last five weeks. We took it day by day and just found ways to get points. You never know what is going to happen when it looks good on paper.”
  • Where are they better than last year, “We have had some injuries, especially Marc Staal, everyone thinks we play too much defense. You don’t win if you can’t play defense. I like how we have reacted to losing a main cog in Staal. I think we played a good team defense. I think we are playing a little bit better defense than we were last year. We are looking to win games 1-0, but you gotta be stiff defensively.
  • On coaching them differently, “I don’t know. I worry about the depth of our lineup. We don’t have the depth we did last year. I’m anxious to see how people react. Every game is an open book. I give them an opportunity. I can’t map it out. I want to use my own bench. I need to be cognizant where if some guys can’t handle it….I need to win that game. I do it all the time in the regular seaosn. These are higher stakes. They may just take off. I don’t know how some guys will react. I won’t be afraid to use my top players in certain situations when I don’t have confidence in some guys. I like the way we are playing but I need to watch this as we all go through.”
  • On the players that he trusts “I think we have a really good leadership group. Guys have improved. Brad Richards is finding his game and it adds to it. I like the team, it’s a different team. There will be players put in pressure situations, in terms of the guys of the team and our foundation, I like where we are at. I’m as anxious as many people are.”
  • Francesa says that Tortorella is fascinating, in a good way to him. Francesa was intrigued by how Tortorella manages his bench with giving players a chance to see if they can handle the pressure.