After announcing that there will be no lineup changes tonight, Rangers coach John Tortorella briefly discussed some personnel issues, referring to a need for top center and a lesser need for a lefty D given the growth of Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger on the third pair
"We had a good summer because we kept our kids, we stayed with them... the foundation of our team is our youth. I think along the way, when it’s right, there are some positions we need to fill. We do need a top center as we go through here, and… on the back end, maybe a left-hand shot, as you go through, but to give you a timetable, it’s hard, and I don’t even think it’s right for me, that’s an organizational thing. But I like the track we’re on as a club, we continue to build and add a piece here and there…"
Tortorella, who can't name names (tampering), returned to the center issue, which has been a topic since the end of last season, and indicated that for the moment, he is happy with "the committee" but could improve.
"We have Artie and Erik and Stepan, who has 16 points in his rookie year... you’re always looking to improve your club, if the right person’s there. I don’t think there’s one head and shoulder over the other. Erik has contributed the last few games, Step has contributed, Artie did early, so you do it by committee. Brian Boyle, what’s he got 11 goals now?... he shouldn’t been on the ice 1:35 to score the empty-netter, but he’s contributed. I like the team, I like the way they’re scrapping."
The immediate need for a lefty on D has lessened because of the play of Sauer and Steve Eminger. "I was worried about it a lot more games 5, 6, 7. But Michael Sauer has been a big surprise. We felt he was going to push, we wanted give him a long look, but he has stepped in and continues to improve. Eminger’s a guy, a right hand shot that I thought struggled early on, on the left hand side, but he has found a way to improve himself. It’s a pretty good pair, I don’t want to jinx them, but they’ve developed. The thing I like most about them, and what we were really hoping to get more of, was a little edge on our back end. Now what you see is Marc Staal playing with a little more edge and it kind of grows. I think Michael Sauer and Emmy have brought that to us with very consistent play, not flamboyant, but consistent."
On how the team has developed: "At beginning of this year, they knew what the camp was going to be, everybody seemed to come together. In the games that we have won here, we’ve played good as team. And when you have injuries as we had at the beginning of the eyar, it forces you to come together more as a team. That’s healthy, because when you lose important guys---we lost our top two scorers--- it helps you build a team concept of tightness, then when they start coming back in, they’re gonna add some scoring, but they have to join in with the group. But they have found their way here.....It’s a maturity of some of our kids, addition or two, subtraction of a couple, just felt we were more together, I think they believe that they know how to win different ways."
On the mood in the locker room: "I try to stay out of there, I check in with the leadership group. With Dru out, it gives Marc Staal a great opportunity for to accept some responsibility as a leader; Ryan Callahan, and you know Dubi doesn’t want to be let behind and Danny Girardi, these are young guys. I’m not sure how it’s all going to translate, when you’re there and you’re an upper echelon team."
Asked by an Ottawa writer about Wade Redden's play in Hartford: "I’m so wrapped up with this team, I’m not gonna give you a bunch of (BS) and tell you yeah, I talked to Reds, I haven’t. We played 16 games in a month."