Read 'em, read between the lines, believe 'em, or critique em for yourselves.  Here are key excerpts from John Tortorella’s break-up day chat with the press:

 

 

                   “I’d like to see us get younger, I’d like to see us add to our core and grow them together and then we’re not adding 10 pieces this year. I think Henrik’s at a important time in his career. I think Gaborik’s a legitimate star---I don’t like the way he has played in big games, think he needs to cross the line there---but we’ve got some pieces here, I think Rozsival has grown his game to be more competitive, I think we need to add to it, then when you get an opportunity---hey, I might not even be here---but when you get there and you’re not fighting 9 and 8 every year you might be a legtimately good team for awhile.”

 

 

                   Asked if there would be wholesale changes again: “I don’t think we need to…When you lose, you just don’t blow everything up…I think you can create more problems for yourself when you don’t get in and say ‘We’ve got to change this, we’ve got to change that,’ maybe it’s just execution.”

 

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                   “It was a lot easier in Tampa. We were a young team that hadn’t won, was not an Original Six team, not in New York City, the expectations were not as high and you’re allowed to grow. Do I think that (growing and winning the Cup) can be done here? Yes, I think New York can handle that, if it’s the right character people, if it’s a hard-working hockey club.”

 

 

                   “If we don’t win, it’ll cost me my job. But it’s not going to change my thinking. This is a team in development here; we may have expectations of winning it right now…I don’t think we’re ready to win right now. We have to win. New York wants to win. I’m hoping there is a process that when you start winning we’re going to win for awhile.”

 

                “From my point of view you need to be realistic, too. We have a couple flaws in our team, but as a coach, no team is perfect. You need to work through those flaws to get into the top eight and we didn’t. There are some things we have to fix and continue to progress. I think we have a really good young core; I think we have some problems outside our young core. As an organization we have to assess it properly and be realistic about what we are.”

 

  

                    “I wasn’t crazy about the (locker) room, that isn’t an indictment of Chris Drury or Ryan Callahan or our leadership group. I think some people need to be weeded out of there, it’s certainly not our core people. I think that room doesn’t sustain itself. I don’t think the room’s a strong room, I think it improved with Prust and Shelley. Shelley has a personality, a little bit of presence….You talk about character, every player I talked to in San Jose, a lot of hockey people, they were sick to see him go. We don’t have enough….Now, I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault. I think we have a young core, now if you get some people sprinkled around then with character, I think we need to get some people out of the bus.”

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             “We added to our core: Anisimov, Del Zotto, Prust, Shelley, although he’s a bit older. He added to us. There are some really good people here, but we have to make on some very important decisions on very important positions.”

 

               On acquiring a backup goaltender: “Hank had a really good year. I still want to get Hank to 60-65 games. I know as an organization we’re desperately trying to get a veteran guy to play 20, 22, 23 games, whatever it may be. I know Hank wants to play every game; if we get a legitimate guy here, he’s not. There are some other guys out there. Benny and Schoney and I have gone through the list, it needs to be a legitimate veteran guy that can handle that workload.”  

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              On the final shootout: “Two days prior, we (the coaching staff) figured as far as historically, those three players need to take the shot. Would I have loved to have Gabby lead off? I tried that; he’s 2 for 18.  Yokes was 5 for 9 or 10; I didn’t use him the last time (in New Jersey) because I had benched him.  I don’t second-guess, I’d do it again. Gabby was fourth, I think after those first three, it’s flip a coin---and I thought Gabby stunk in that game, but the guy has 42 goals---unfortunately, we didn’t get there…Philly’s the better team; we don’t deserve to win that game.”

 

            More on the Philly loss: “That was probably the best game he (Hank’s) hadsince I’ve been here and what he said after the game---and  I’m not a big believer on him talking about what we’re doing 5 on 5 but he had a perfect right to say that Anisimov’s line and a couple of other guys were our best players. We played a ballsy game against Philly in our building and we had zero top guys show up in Philly, which was despicable. So I’m glad Hank said what he said.”

 

 

              “Inconsistency was a huge part of our year. That falls with me.…I thought our locker room was much stronger at the end of the year. Not winning at home and the inconsistency through some of our play belongs with me….Throughout the year, I made a ton of mistakes….lineups, decisions before a game, decisions on players you felt you wanted to develop, it may have been another guy that we should have developed and not have him in the minors. The other night (in Philly) I made a mistake by staying with the lines. I was a coach in hope, I kept the Christensen line together, they were brutal, I kept the Jokinen line together, they were brutal.”

  

              On Artem Anisimov: “He can’t stay there (with Shelley and Prust). He’s had such a great development year. We want him to be a scorer, I told him that today: ‘I can’t keep you there. I think I made a mistake with him putting him between Dubi and Ryan, I hurt him. It was a bad move by me. I should have talked to him prior. He was a nervous wreck. I can’t keep him there.”

 

           On Brandon Dubinsky: I think he’s progressed nicely as a left winger. I think it his forces him to be the kind of player that is his strength: straight ahead, strong on the puck. The thing I like about Dubi, and I hate saying it, he has learned not to get too high when he plays a big game. I love his arrogance. He’s progressed, but he goes up and down, we’ve had a constant conversation in the last part of the year.”

 

            On Michael Del Zotto: “He falls in the same category as Dubi. He’s got a nice strut. I think his first half was good; he has to realize not going to be a premier player due to offense. In his first 25 or 30 games, he was one of our best defensive defensemen, but it was a major struggle for him in the second half. He probably was given too many minutes for a 19-year old. He has a long way to be as being a pro; I really hope we didn’t hurt him in the second half. We did cut down his minutes…. I just want his head on straight, I’ve seem young players have a little success and then veer off, he’s a smart kid, a great kid, he’s got jam.”  

 

           On P.A. Parenteau: “He’s a free agent, he comes up and he’s probably our third most talented guy. I would love to see if we can progress with him on his speed, his intensity in certain situations, because you can’t look past the talent and I don’t think we’re a talent heavy. This kid (Dale) Weise,  who I was dying to play, but I couldn’t get him in. I look at him practice, his big body, I’m anxious to see him play. (Evgeny) Grachev, I don’t think he had a great year. (Corey) Potter is a guy…I’d like to get younger, there are some positions where I’d like to get younger.”

 

          On Drury: “The last thing I’m doing is indicting Chris Drury. I love that guy, but he needs some help. I think some guys need to be bumped out. It’s what happens when we lose a tough game, all different situations. It may be ‘Don’t listen to that (bleeping) guy, listen to this guy over here.’….I think he grew as a leader, he’s such a serious guy he cares so much. He allowed himself to open up with the team a little bit more, when I saw him in certain interactions. I think he’s still trying to grow as a captain, and I saw him take steps there. He’s such a quiet guy and he wants to give more, he wants better stats, he wants to be that guy and when it’s not on the board I think he tried in different ways.”