Stan Fischler over at MSG.com was able to sit down with John Tortorella to discuss the up-coming season…
“We have gone along slowly building our club not only with quality personnel,” explained Tortorella, “but also with a specific mind-set. After three full seasons, I can say that the players are more comfortable with what we — the coaches — want to do and the coaches understand the players.”
On the Brad Richards helping Marian Gaborik’s game…
“We’re hoping that that (Richards-Gaborik chemistry) will happen but you never know. The thing is that the two of them will get the opportunity to show what they can do as a unit right away. It’s no secret that we were missing that Number One center; someone who can help Gabby.
“Not only that but Richie is one of the best power-play point men who understands all facets of the game. He respects the game — including its history — and will bring that intangible to our dressing room in a nice quiet way.”
…one thing I have to admit with Richards is that he should improve the Rangers power play dramatically.
Torts adds that Richards is not only a skilled center but a winner.
On continuing with the youth movement started under his direction…
“We’re up to the next step in the process,” Tortorella said. “We’ll be very young — especially on the back end — but these are guys we can mentor. I really liked last year’s team; liked the way they handled themselves.
“And now we have Brad Richards and a healthy Marty Biron who’s ready to go. Before he got hurt last season, Marty played very well for us. I’m expecting him to start in goal for sixteen to twenty games. And that will allow Hank (Lundqvist) to stay full of juice.”
…this quote made me feel a little better about the Richards signing. If Torts thinks the Rangers are at the next step, I guess I’m going to have to trust him.
Torts also gave his thoughts on a number of individual players including Michael Del Zotto…
“It’s our responsibility as coaches to push players and, if they’re down, to build them up; and that’s what we have to do with Michael. This is going to be a big camp for Michael — and me. We are in the process and going forward. He’s a very talented player but he must understand what it means to be a pro. We are here to help him.”
For Torts’ thoughts on other players click here.