GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers coach John Tortorella assembled several training camp playbooks for when the lockout ended, and he's dusting off one that reads: "Six or Seven Days."
"I always felt there was going to be a season. We were always prepared," Tortorella said Monday at the MSG Training Center after 15 Rangers practiced without coaches because the collective bargaining agreement is unsigned. "We're not going to get our conditioning of a three-week camp in seven days; we need to be smart about it."
Tortorella's camps stress conditioning, and he said "guys who have been with us have told the newer guys what to expect. We have four or five; they're going to go through an adjustment period."
One is Rick Nash, acquired from Columbus. "He's going to fit," Tortorella said. "He wants to be in this type of situation, so as anxious as he is, I am double that."
With a 48-game season, Tortorella said winning early and staying mentally sharp is essential. "It really isn't a marathon, but getting off to a good start is important. Short, long, medium-size season, doesn't matter," he said. "I think the mental readiness has to be there. After the adrenaline rush when you get started, we've got to make sure we stay steady. That was a big reason we had success last year [reaching the Eastern Conference finals]. We're going to try to start where we left off, as far as the style of play and how we go about our business."