Earlier today I posted comments Rangers head coach John Tortorella made this morning about several of his key players on the eve of his first training camp as bench boss on Broadway. Torts addressed several other topics during his media session, and I wanted to share some of those things with you here.
- Tortorella voluntarily brought up his battle with fans during Game 5 of the Rangers first round playoff series against the Washington Capitals last spring---actions which caused him to be suspended for Game 6---and stated emphatically that he if expects his players to show discipline then he needs to be more disciplined in controlling his own emotions. "I need to be accountable for myself in not getting to a point that I lose control. I think emotion from a coach is a very important thing. I think it can be a strength. But emotion can be a weakness, too, when it gets the best of you."
- The Rangers coach also added, "It's funny. The only way a coach gets feedback is when they say 'you're fired!'. So a coach always has to self-assess, and that's a constant thing with me." Torts added that he will turn to assistants Mike Sullivan and Jim Schoenfeld for feedback on a regular basis, as well.
- And, yes, you read that correctly. At the request of the head coach, Jim Schoenfeld, the Rangers assistant GM, will also serve as an assistant coach this year, just as he did last season when Tortorella took over the coaching reigns in late February. "Schoeny cares and has a heart as big as the building...I thought he did such a great job last year in some of his individual teaching and his relationship with the players." Schoenfeld will not be behind the bench during games, so as not to interfere with his management duties, but he will be on the ice for all practices. My complete story about the Schoenfeld decision is available on the Rangers official web site.
- Tortorella spent much time explaining the details of his grueling training camp, one in which the players will spend the first two days taking conditioning tests. They will not partake in hockey-related drills or scrimmage until Monday. "I just believe so much that conditioning is such a huge part of winning because you are not chasing the game, the game's coming to you when you are in top shape...the players are going to make the decisions for us as far as where they sit with the team."
- The Rangers head coach stated that he sees four spots available for younger players to step up and grab, which is excatly what he wants to see happen. He mentioned two spots on defense and two at the forward position. Torts did not mention all the contenders, but he did speak about defenseman Matt Gilroy and center Artem Anisimov at different times during his media session. "I am really hoping that there are some surprises with the kids...we have to keep growing our base of the Callahans, the Dubinskys, the Staals, the Girardis, and add a few more here. Then you are building your team, and maybe there won't be as much turnover as you go through the years because you have your foundation of youth."
Stay tuned. Post your comments. And, as always, thanks for reading!