It’s always nice to see John Tortorella in a good mood after a game. Usually doesn’t happen unless his teams win, although there have been times of grudging graciousness after losing for him, if it was close.
Tortorella visited the Panthers in South Florida several times as coach of division rival Tampa Bay over the years, and cut off several post-game scrums abruptly if he didn’t like a question. But in his first return trip to the Sunshine State as coach of the New York Rangers, Tortorella couldn’t have been more accommodating, which should make it obvious that his boys won 2-1 in a shootout on P.A. Parenteau’s goal.
It might have been a lot different had New York not pulled things out after blowing the lead late in the third period on a giveaway. Tortorella’s favorite whipping boy, Sean Avery, was the culprit, and as soon as Dominic Moore converted the unforced error into the tying goal, the Rangers coach went ballistic on the bench.
But after the game, Tortorella stressed how pleased he was with the overall effort that resulted in a second consecutive game for the first time in more than a month, particularly since the Rangers played most of the first two periods with only five defensemen, and most of the third with only four. And ironically, what made Tortorella happiest was the reason New York was so shorthanded by the end of the night.
The Rangers lost Wade Redden less than two minutes into the game on a hit by Florida’s Victor Oreskovich, and then saw rookie Matt Gilroy sent to the showers for instigating a fight with Oreskovich five minutes into the third. For Tortorella, the shortened bench was a price worth paying.
“I liked what I saw in terms of people standing up for one another,” Tortorella said. “I think we need to get better at that. That’s a huge part of building a proper team concept.”
“Those are penalties you kill. It’s the silly offensive zone penalties or a diving or a hooking, those are the ones that get in the back of net. We don’t want to lose Gilly for that amount of time that’s all part of growing as a team and in the long term, it helps your hockey club.”