Rangers clear the air the day after loss to Sabres
WINNIPEG -- The Rangers couldn't skate at the MTS Center Wednesday because arena workers were setting up for a Bob Seger show.
Instead, the Rangers staged a lively, chatter-filled 30-minute session eight miles away at the Iceplex, the former practice facility of the Manitoba Moose, and cleared the air from the disappointing loss in Buffalo.
"We did our video [of the 3-1 loss to the Sabres] and wanted to get it out of the way right away," said coach John Tortorella, who had raged at his team's effort against the Sabres, calling out his top players in the postgame news conference. "It was an important game for us, but we've turned the page . . . There's a lot of games to be played, things can change good and bad. I thought we had a good day today. Our spirits are up."
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That was in stark contrast to the postgame scene. "The locker room was pretty quiet, the bus ride was pretty quiet," said Arron Asham, who is suffering from back spasms and skated Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 23.
Brad Richards, one of the "top players" that a disappointed Tortorella referred to in his rant as being outplayed by the Sabres' third line, said he didn't see how furious the coach was in front of the microphones, but it didn't matter.
"We see him face-to-face in the room. We know what the message is," Richards said, and referred to the 4-3 loss to the Jets at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 26. "We've got to be a hungrier team [Thursday night] than we were last night."
If not, they will fall below the playoff line. The teams are tied with 28 points, although the eighth-place Rangers have played one fewer game.
Intensity is the key to a rebound, said defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was on ice for all three Sabres goals.
"You never want to be on ice for any goal against, let alone all three," McDonagh said. "You know when you screw up at this stage in your career, you're not going to hide from it. We had a meeting and addressed it . . .
"[Tortorella] responded the way he normally does in that situation. The 4-1 win in Washington was a good example for us to follow. For whatever reason we didn't follow that up with a complete game. That's what we learned. Try to work as hard as we can."
Notes & quotes: Asham said he was not in shape from missing so much time and was "glad I made it through the practice. It'll be a couple more games; I'm hoping to be back next week sometime." . . . Taylor Pyatt left practice early with a long cut on the right side of his mouth from an inadvertent high stick from Darroll Powe, but afterward said he was fine.