Rangers Notebook: Team undergoes change post-deadline
The Garden isn’t the only Midtown entity undergoing a transformation.
The Rangers entered last night’s nationally televised home date against the Penguins having been completely overhauled with the deadline additions of Ryane Clowe, Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard and John Moore.
With 13 games remaining in this abbreviated season and the Rangers two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, time is running out for a team that hasn’t come close to living up to expectations.
What does head coach John Tortorella need from the newcomers?
“We don’t fill [them] with a bunch of thoughts,” Tortorella said in his pregame press conference. “Give them the foundation of how we play and we let [them] play. It’s just time to play.”
Tortorella, who said he participated in the decision-making process, believes the acquisitions will add depth and grittiness to a team that has lacked those attributes. Tortorella added that he spoke with Rick Nash about Brassard, as the two were teammates in Columbus.
Clowe, Brassard and Moore were all in the lineup Wednesday night. Clowe skated with Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards, while Brassard centered Carl Hagelin and Brian Boyle on the third line. Moore replaced Roman Hamrlik on the third defense pair with Steve Eminger.
He’s a guy that certainly brings some jam to our lineup. Hasn’t scored this year but has been able to score. A good leader, good size,” Tortorella said of Clowe, before explaining what he thinks the former Shark and Dorsett will provide. “[He] and what I think we get with Dorsett, it gives us a little bit of the grind we’re missing right now; a little bit different than last year. Brassard and Moore, we gets some skill and skating.
“The deal helps us with depth, period — forward and defense,” Tortorella said. “The information given to me about Moore, just a fantastic skater. Learning the game. I think we can teach him the game. We need depth on our blueline.”
No falling out
Tortorella was quick to disavow any notion he and Marian Gaborik had a falling out.
“Gabby and I have a great relationship. I hope [the media] don’t go that way and interfere in our relationship because it’s a really good one, no matter what’s gone on with him,” Tortorella said. “He’s a good man. I’ll miss him.
“I respect him. I believe he’ll get his game back. You can see his game coming. So it’s a tough one for me because I really like the guy. I hope it works for him.”
Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast were sent down to AHL Connecticut before the game, while J.T. Miller was sent down then immediately recalled. Miller was a scratch along with Hamrlik and Matt Gilroy.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.