That was the overall theme of John Tortorella’s pre-game press conference.
“At this point last year, we were 4-4-1. Nine points. We have nine points this year. The world isn’t caving in on us. That’s very important for our club. I think that’s a big part of my job; I know there’s expectations, the expectations are a little bit bigger this year and it is something that we need to handle in the proper way,” Tortorella said.
When asked by Metro to determine how his team has played in its first nine games, Tortorella chose to emphasize a micro view instead of a macro view.
“We’ve just started. That’s a question for maybe 25, 30 games into the season. I don’t even know how to start to answer it,” Tortorella said. “[All] I know is we’re trying to get better. That’s our whole concentration, especially the details of the game. I thought we had a really good day [at Sunday’s practice] identifying and talking about some of the things we have to get us more consistent as a hockey team, the way we want to play.”
Concern for Rupp lingers
While concern surrounds Marc Staal and his recuperation from concussion symptoms, the Rangers are troubled by Mike Rupp’s knee injury.
Rupp, who has missed the first three games at the Garden, saw a doctor Monday afternoon. He has a goal, 14 penalty minutes and 13 hits in seven games.
“We’re concerned about this. You have to be careful. I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Tortorella said, who added that he did not know if the free agent signee would go on injured reserve. “With Rupper, he hasn’t been off the ground here, yet. Big men need to be on the ice practicing. He’s a different animal than some of the other guys we’ve tried to rest. It’s become a little bit of a chronic thing.”
Artem Anisimov played 9:37 last night, centering Erik Christensen and AHL Connecticut call-up Andre Deveaux, after having been checked from behind by Ottawa’s Zenon Konopka at 4:05 of the second period in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout loss Saturday. Anisimov said after the game that he had lost consciousness. However a media relations official clarified during Tortorella’s pre-game press conference that Anisimov never lost consciousness and misunderstood the question.
The bad boy is back
He’s (almost) back.
If Sean Avery clears re-entry waivers by noon today, he should be in the lineup for Thursday night’s game against Anaheim.
Avery had been placed on waivers on Oct. 4 while the team was Europe. Tortorella told reporters during the trip that “we have better players than Sean Avery.” However injures — most notably Rupp’s — have necessitated the move.
“This is the right decision. This is a hockey decision,” Tortorella said. “This is the right hockey decision now and it was the right hockey decision when we sent Sean down. That’s where it’s at.”
Avery is at his most effective as a forechecker. He would seem to be a fit on a line with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, providing a down low cycling, physical element to augment Gaborik’s and Richards’ skill.
“Sean’s biggest strengths are his legs. He’s a terrific skater. Obviously a big part of his game is his forechecking, his play underneath the hashmark. We want him to play to his strength and work on other parts of the game — away from the puck,” Tortorella said.
Scouting it out
To quote the immortal Reggie Dunlop in the timeless cinematic classic Slap Shot, “scouts?”
Fourteen scouts were in the press box for last night’s match. Eight of the 14 represented the Rangers’ next nine opponents.
Follow NHL writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.