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  1. #1
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    Even curmudgeonly NY Rangers coach John Tortorella (almost) jump for joy

    The grouchiest coach in hockey, in any sport around here, was caught smiling. Not for long, maybe. But it was well worth the trek to Westchester to snap this mental picture, to file it away while the Rangers chase the Cup through winter, spring and into summer.

    Some 13 hours after the collective bargaining agreement was ratified, John Tortorella skated onto the ice at Greenburgh to rejoin his team. It was 11:46 a.m. Sunday when his agonizing wait ended, when Tortorella took stick in hands, chatted up Ryan Callahan while gliding along the boards and then began a stiff, mean workout.

    “This is really the only thing I know how to do,” Tortorella had said last week, when the lockout was all but over. Until Sunday, though, the Ranger coach had been limited to watching his players practice from a balcony at the training center, while a college coach ran drills. Now he was skating next to these guys, instructing, pushing them.

    “You can tell he’s been waiting for this for a long time,” Ryan McDonagh said. “He’s out there screaming, yelling, correcting. He’s been itching to go.”

    The grouchiest coach in hockey, in any sport around here, was caught smiling. Not for long, maybe. But it was well worth the trek to Westchester to snap this mental picture, to file it away while the Rangers chase the Cup through winter, spring and into summer.

    Tortorella is facing high expectations this season, higher than anything he’s known before at the Garden. The Rangers are the best team in hockey on paper, or at least the best in the East. They are returning everybody important, their young defensemen are a year older and they added a potent scorer in Rick Nash. Tortorella has four-line depth, a top goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist. He also has a healthy roster in mid-January, a rarity. Not a single bone is bruised yet from blocking shots.

    “We have the team to do it, but we have to prepare, execute, handle expectations from outside and inside the locker room,” Lundqvist said about a title run.

    They have the roster to do it, and an able coach determined to keep the prying media at a rink’s length. In his own way – a different, more reluctant way than Rex Ryan — Tortorella became a bigger national story last season than his own team. He was North America’s Official Grump-pa, complete with cranky video clips to entertain the masses. Reporters sat tongue-tied at post-game press conferences as they were scolded and informed that topics such as strategy, injuries, player evaluations, lineups, opponents and personal feelings were off the table.

    There wasn’t much left to ask, or answer.

    All this didn’t amount to much, really, and Tortorella will surely become the franchise’s most popular coach in memory if he wins a Stanley Cup. Even when he was in a fine mood on Sunday, without a playoff series on the line, there was an entertaining edge to his answers. It had been so long, it was very nearly refreshing to watch him battle his own bristling nature as he responded to questions.

    What did he think about the Rangers playing overseas during the lockout?

    “I like ’em under our thumb and how we play,” Tortorella said. “I get concerned about bad habits.”

    What about the pace of practices? Were the players ready for such hard work in such an abbreviated training camp?

    “I have to keep an open mind – you guys might not think I have one.”

    Has he altered the training schedule?

    “I won’t tell you what I changed. I adjusted, though. I’m not gonna tell you what.”

    And how was this first practice?

    “Good at first. It tailed pretty quickly.”

    All this was said by Tortorella in a spirit of reasonable cooperation. War was not declared on the media, not yet. Maybe it won’t happen at all this year. Maybe everyone gets along, peace right through the Cup ceremony.

    This was a fine start, anyway. Back in the locker room, Lundqvist was positively glowing from his first full workout with Tortorella and other coaches.

    “It’s almost like life comes back to you,” Lundqvist said. “I could have stayed out there another couple hours.”

    Hockey is back. Torts is smiling, growling – mostly growling. What could be better, and worse?
    LINK

  2. #2
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    I love torts... I just hope he gets McD and Girardi some ****ing rest during this compacted season.

  3. #3
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    If Marc Staal is healthy those 3 should all play a good amount but not crazy amount of minutes.

  4. #4
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    I am lucky all my 3 teams have coaches that I love Torts,Coughlin,and Giradi !

  5. #5
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    Well you got to love Tort's message and the fact that he doesn't accept failure.

    It certainly hasn't fell on deaf ears like it has for example with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by metswon69 View Post
    Well you got to love Tort's message and the fact that he doesn't accept failure.

    It certainly hasn't fell on deaf ears like it has for example with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

    And the Mets

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyr2002nyr View Post
    And the Mets

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