John Tortorella rounding into playoff form

John Tortorella directs his players during third-period action

John Tortorella directs his players during third-period action of a game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center. (April 23, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It's close to playoff time, when Rangers coach John Tortorella is again bristling about media coverage.

"You see I've still got my skates on," Tortorella said after practice Tuesday, and referred to not being available long. "I don't know what you're going to ask me that you didn't ask me yesterday, but go ahead and try."

He answered several questions thoughtfully, then, in the middle of one about moves around the trade deadline, when the team signed Mats Zuccarello, acquired Ryane Clowe from San Jose and Derick Brassard, John Moore and Derek Dorsett from Columbus for Marian Gaborik, the coach went on an unprovoked monologue.

"I just thought it changed our team a little bit," Tortorella said. "And I know you guys will turn it around and say that we didn't like Gabby and you guys talk about the relationship I have with him.

"Gabby was a hell of a player and we miss him in a lot of situations. He almost helped the team get in. So it isn't that way. We ended up getting three or four players that solidified our core."

Tortorella moved Gaborik, who scored 41 goals in 2011-12, from the right side, where he had played all his career, to left wing, and eventually to the fourth line. Gaborik, who had offseason shoulder surgery and at times looked disinterested, posted only nine goals and 19 points in 35 games. He was 3-5-8 in 12 games for the Blue Jackets.

 

Blue notes

Henrik Lundqvist, who started 14 consecutive games and practiced Monday, was given the day off. Cam Talbot, who played for the Connecticut Whale, filled in . . . Clowe, believed to have sustained a concussion against Carolina on April 25, and Brian Boyle, who injured his right knee against the Flyers on April 16, were at the training center but unavailable for interviews, and it is extremely doubtful that they will play in Washington. Marc Staal (eye) practiced again, but Tortorella provided no update on his readiness.

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