Cablevision CEO and President of Madison Square Garden James Dolan met with reporters prior to John Tortorella’s post-game press conference for the first time since the Rangers’ 2005-06 season.

Dolan walked into the fifth-floor interview room with John Tortorella after the coach asked his owner if he wanted to handle his media duties. Dolan took two questions and left no doubt that he was envisioning his hockey team parading down the Canyon of Heroes in June.

“I’m very proud of the organization, particularly Mr. Sather,” Dolan said when asked for his assessment of the Rangers. “In 2004 we decided to re-do the strategy. I gave him a gift and told him he couldn’t give it back until we win the Cup. I think we’re close to getting that back.”

Tortorella dismissed Dolan’s Cup talk — after the owner had left the interview room.


“Have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup and that’s bulls—t ,” Tortorella said. “We have to take it one day at a time.”

Ironically, Dolan joked that he thought Sather did not want “to tell men anything about John,” before leaving Tortorella to his post-game media duties.

Back on the right track

The Rangers were coming off a 4-1 loss in Montreal that might have been their worst of the season. With matches Thursday at the Garden against Pittsburgh and in Boston Saturday afternoon against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, Tortorella was concerned that his charges would look past their Grand Ole Opry doppelgangers.

“They are very similar. They played very well. They play zone to zone,” Tortorella said of the Predators.

“We played a stiff game. We [wanted] to get back in the win column, [wanted] to get a win,” Tortorella added. He toned down rhetoric about the marquee value of the next two opponents.

“We’ll go to our practice and get ready for our next game,” Tortorella said to conclude his post-game press conference.

Hagelin surprises

Carl Hagelin has been a revelation since being promoted along with John Mitchell from AHL Connecticut on Nov. 24.

The 23-year old Swede has been able to effectively use his speed to force opponents from pinching in offensively. Hagelin has 14 points in 25 games after recording a secondary assist on Dan Girardi’s game-winner.

“I put him on lines and he ignites lines with his speed,” Tortorella said of Hagelin. “It’s just a dog and a bone mentality as far as chasing down pucks. He played really good the other night on a different line. I bounce him all over the place.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.

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