One comment I have seen in excess this past weekend is that the Rangers players have tuned John Tortorella out. That his brash style has worn thin on the Blueshirts and he's lost the room.
Well, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record, who is with the team and in the locker room on an almost daily basis, disagrees…
"I still do not see or believe that Tortorella has lost this team. First, he has too many supporters in the room, most importantly Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan, who, along with Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist, are the two most important voices on the team right now. I’m not seeing a coach on the verge of losing his job (though, it could be said, every coach, everywhere, is on the verge of losing his or her job). I don’t think Tortorella is actually in trouble until he misses the playoffs, then gets off to a bad start the following season."
…i think most of what Gross is saying is true. I feel the vast majority of the team is still with Torts. They recognize that his system helped lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals and he is dedicated to making this team and franchise a winner. And if the new guys aren't buying in, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out because you're doing the team no good. Now having said that, I wouldn't be shocked if he's losing or has lost players such as Gaborik and Boyle, who he's governed with an iron fist instead of nurturing with encouraging words. Torts's tone after these last two loses has been much softer, so maybe he's realizing he needs to relax on the rhetoric he displayed after the Buffalo loss and start building up their confidence which must be waning after this tough stretch.
…as for the fans who are ready to run Torts out of town, it has been exactly 27 games since the Rangers were in the Eastern Conference Finals. 27! And you're ready to give up on the guy. I'm sorry, he is one of the biggest reasons the Rangers have so much home grown talent in the line-up and why they made it so far last season. And for that reason, he deserves the opportunity to figure it out and turn this around. Which may only happen after he looks in the mirror, realizes that this isn't last year's team and makes the proper adjustments.
One person who has absolutely had enough of the losing is Henrik Lundqvist, who apparently was none too happy after the Rangers latest loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday (via Gross)…
"As far as going around the post-game dressing room, let me describe the scene waiting to talk to Henrik Lundqvist. He was clearly and rightfully furious after the game, probably a combination at himself and at his teammates. Before talking to the media, he had his back to us, getting stuff together in his locker, tossing dirty clothes around, slamming some sneakers into his large goalie’s bag. There was a broken-in-half goalie stick on a shelf nearby."
…in all my years watching and rooting for New York sports teams, I've never seen a player who took losing as hard as Lundqvist. I can't even imagine the personal hell he is going through or how his teammates can continue to put forth these lackluster efforts knowing how dedicated and committed that man is to winning.