Super Sunday and I'm in Montreal, so rather than watch the endless pregame shows, I'm headed back to Bell Center to catch Devs-Habs at 3.
The Rangers practiced 3 on 3, in passing drills and in a blueline to blueline game, and everyone is staying positive, including the coach, despite a four-game winless stretch. You can read some of his comments below.
I'm going to go by the numbers and predict a goal for Marian Gaborik against Detroit on Monday. He is 7-10-17 in 24 regular-season games against the Red Wings. Yes, I'm aware that the Wings have been blanked for two straight games. I don't see a third consecutive shutout, but have a feeling that Gaborik, whose birthday is a week away, is going to come out more determined and in sync with Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen.
The Rangers haven't been very fortunate against the Wings, who they face about once a year. The last win was a 3-1 victory at MSG on Oct. 25, 2003, and their last victory in Detroit was Jan. 30, 1999 (3-2)....They will hold a morning skate at The Joe at 11:30 Monday.
Michael Sauer's neck is still sore, but better than last night. Christensen and Prospal's knees are fine, they say. More on Sauer and Prospal next...
Here's some of Tortorella's post-practice remarks:
On Sauer and McDonagh: “They were probably our best pair as far as controlling our gaps. I thought we did a really good job of controlling the gaps. I’m excited for where we think they can get to, as we grow as a hockey club. I don’t think our D, you can call them offensive people, Michael has the best chance to become someone like that, but he’s still going thru the process, I think there is offense there, but to call them offensive defensemen? No. Michael Sauer has shown an intelligence especially from the blue line in, particularly his pinching, I’m going to show 10 clips of them pinching---from last night---that they produced to keep our offense going. It may not translate right away to a winning streak, but it’s good stuff."
On Biron: "I thought both goalies, Price and Biron, seem to calm their team down. Just his style, you watch, he’s there and puck keeps hitting him, especially against this Canadien team which tries to buzz around the net. I thought he made some good outlet passes for us. All year long, other than one start, his style is a calming influence, especially for a young blue line. That is a good signing and it’s worked out as we expected. He’s got some wins and he’s going to have to get more wins to get us to where we want to be, but he certainly gave us a chance to win last night.”
On his classroom work today: “I like our hockey club. I sat there last night, after breaking the tape down. and say. “Am I rationalizing?”…. I’ve got 63 clips to show today of some teaching but a lot of it was good stuff. But we lost four games and, I said to myself, “Am I rationalizing?’’. I don’t think our team should be down, we need a big play at a key time, maybe a couple big plays at key times to help us, but we can’t lose the defensive part of the game. You have to stay strong away from the puck. You have to defend first and hopefully we get someone, or two or three people, going offensively.”
“I’m going to show some corrections, there were more good things last night than correcting. I’m not going to manufacturing something going wrong with the team, I’ll show that, but I’m also gonna show some of the things that are going right.”
On Dubinsky and other and returnees: "I thought Dubi played a really hard game last night. I don’t think it was a smart game, because I think he was trying to do something else instead of a simple shot on net, right away, and he didn’t. I think some of the guys, it’s not conditioning, the new guys are still trying to get their games to where it’s flowing, and it’s affected some of them. It can’t be a concern, no, I’m gonna play the hell out of them till they get going. I’m not gonna bring Dubi slowly. I need Dubi to play now, I need Vinny Prospal to play now, we’ve got to work through that.”