Rangers Notebook: Tortorella frustrated with team’s fundamentals

John Tortorella.
BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES

It does not matter to head coach John Tortorella whether his team is playing 48 games, 82 games, or is in the preseason, regular season or postseason.

What is relevant to the coach is that his team is fundamentally sound in all aspects. The 2011-12 Rangers were, and as a result finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 1996-97. 

But trends do not automatically carry over from one year to the next. And what Tortorella has seen over the first two weeks of the truncated campaign is a team that is still learning the rudiments.

“I think the team that handles the details, situational play within the game, handle those kind of things more consistently is going to be a team that wins more consistently. That’s what we’re trying to get to as quickly as possible,” Tortorella said prior to Thursday night’s Garden match against the Penguins. “Situational play is huge in winning or losing hockey games. Situational play comes to the forefront in the third period.”   

The task becomes decidedly more arduous without Ryan Callahan, who the organization announced Wednesday will miss the next 10-to-14 days with a shoulder subluxation. Callahan suffered the injury during a third period wrestling match with the Flyers’ Max Talbot in the Rangers’ 2-1 win Tuesday night.

One player Tortorella pointed to as being key in picking up the slack in Callahan’s absence is Jeff Halpern. Signed to a one-year, $700,000 UFA deal last July, Halpern has been one of the better faceoff men and penalty killers throughout his 12-year career with Washington, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Montreal.

“Faceoffs [are] going to be an important part of his game, penalty killing,” Tortorella said. “With Ryan Callahan [out], he’s going to have to handle some situational play in the third period.

“I think he’s a cerebral player who can help us in a lot of different situations when he gets his game turned on. He gave us some good minutes the other night.”    


NHL notes

» Matt Gilroy and Stu Bickel dressed last night. Steve Eminger was scratched while Callahan and Chris Kreider (bone chip in his right ankle) were as well, due to injuries.

» Before last night’s game against the Devils at the Prudential Center, the Islanders announced defenseman Brian Strait agreed to a three-year contract. The Islanders signed Strait off waivers from the Penguins on Jan. 18. Also, the Devils activated center Adam Henrique. He has been out since a 5-4 overtime loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins on Nov. 25, 2012, due to surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

» Pittsburgh signed left wing Zach Boychuk off waivers yesterday. The Hurricanes had put Boychuk on wavers Wednesday with the expectation he would clear and subsequently be sent to AHL Charlotte.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

What New Yorkers need to know about the…

A measles outbreak in New York City has spread further, the health department said Wednesday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Local

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Movies

Curtain raiser: The Tribeca Film Festival arrives this…

The Tribeca Film Festival begins its two-week run in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, boasting dozens and dozens of films of all stripes.

The Word

Paul Walker's brothers will replace him in 'Fast…

Ever since a car crash took Paul Walker's life, fans have wondered what the "Fast & Furious" franchise would do without one of its most beloved stars.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.