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Tortorella doesn't buy tired excuse

Tired? How can guys be tired?

"I've been criticized my whole career that I play the top people too much," Rangers coach John Tortorella said Wednesday. "I think we talk our athletes into being tired. I think Gabby [Marian Gaborik, who played 28 minutes including overtime, against Atlanta] can handle the ice time; not 28 minutes, but when you get into the 22s, 23s and 24s, I don't think it's too much. Each game is different, and in back-to-back situations you have to be aware of that. But I don't buy that guys can't play 23 minutes."

Like Jaromir Jagr, Gaborik, who has 23 goals, including 11 on the power play, isn't effective in the shootout, and Tortorella, who sent him out in the first round against Atlanta (his shot was blocked by Johan Hedberg), may change the rotation.

"I have an idea, but I'm not telling you guys," he said. "It's funny, I think it happens throughout the league. He's such a natural goal scorer. When it comes to [the shootout], he struggles. Historically, he has struggled. If we get into another - I hope we don't get into another one, I hope we win a game without having to go to that - we'll see where it goes."

 

Easy with Heikkinen

Ilkka Heikkinen played his fifth NHL game against the Islanders Wednesday night, and the Finnish defenseman isn't getting a lot of ice time. "We're trying to keep him away from the top forwards to allow him to come along," Tortorella said. "If he sticks and if we feel he's improving, he'll get there. It's a matter of getting comfortable with your personnel." Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti was summoned from AHL Hartford, and with three games in four days, he could spell Heikkinen.

 

Henrik's good vs. Isles

Forget career stats against other teams. Except maybe with goaltenders, according to Tortorella. He said that he had numerous discussions with his former goaltending coach in Tampa and with current coach Benoit Allaire. "I've learned a lot along the way, the rinks, the lighting, and all that, that sometimes affects things," Tortorella said. Henrik Lundqvist had played 26 games against the Islanders before Wednesday night and was 14-7-0-4, with one shutout and a 2.07 GAA. Whether that means he or rookie Chad Johnson plays Thursday is uncertain.

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