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Torts Has Conversation With Gaborik

Yesterday, John Tortorella once again jumbled the Rangers line-up as he demoted Marian Gaborik to the fourth line. But before he did so, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record reports that the two had a 12-minute conversation on the ice before practice…

"It did not appear heated but it did appear Tortorella was explaining his thinking to Gaborik as well as appearing to try to coax more out of Gaborik’s game. Again, since neither would disclose what was said, this is supposition. But Tortorella was animated at times, raising his arms and motioning. Only toward the latter half of the discussion did it seem to become that with Gaborik appearing to give his opinion."

Gross had this quote from Gaborik on Tortorella saying he needs to be more engaged and test opponents…

“Yeah, I have to make a difference. Just overall bring my game to another level. Just try to have something happen right away off the get go. Just be more engaged and get something going right away, if it’s a good play or a chance. I just have to get my legs going right away and things can happen.”

While Tortorella wouldn't discuss his conversation with Gaborik, he did explain why he demoted the sniper…

“Yeah, there’s a lot of changes within our lines. It’s trying to find some balance within some other lines too. I don’t know what they’re going to be tomorrow. Zucc’s playing tomorrow but I don’t know what the lines are going to be.”

…Torts has taken a lot of heat in the blog's comment section lately, but he deserves a ton of credit for being a man and discussing the demotion with Gaborik. While I'm sure he's still disappointed, it must have been easier to swallow for Gaborik after the conversation. And as we all know, if Gaborik has one good shift Torts will immediately re-shuffle the entire line-up anyway.

…and this is the perfect example as to why I disagree with some Rangers fans' assessment that the team has tuned Torts out. The guy cares about the success of the Rangers franchise and its players. There is no way the team doesn't recognize or appreciate that. It has been exactly 33 games since the Eastern Conference Finals. And while the act of a coach like Torts gets tired real quick when things aren't going according to plan, I refuse to believe the players have given up on him this quickly. Just remember, he's the one who changed the culture around here. There are little to no kids in the line-up without him and it was his system that got the Rangers to within two wins of the Stanley Cup Finals as well as Gaborik two 40+ goal seasons. So, to the Torts haters, be prepared for him to be back behind the bench next year no matter how this season ends. He deserves the chance  to right this ship under normal circumstances.

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Kevin

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