Tortorella Regrets Game Five Water Bottle Fiasco

John Tortorella

Neil Becker

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella used words such as embarrassing and regretful to describe his game five actions when he whipped a plastic water bottle into the crowd in Washington.

“I’s a bad mistake by me,” said Torotorella who got a one game suspension. “I regret it. I put the New York Rangers organization in an embarrassing situation and I’m embarrassed by it.”

Tortorella who took over behind the Rangers bench in late February was being badly heckled at the time by some Washington fans which eventually led to him losing his cool.

“I am an intense person, which is a positive, but it also turns into a negative sometimes,” he said.

Following this water bottle fiasco Tortorella got a hold of Rangers’ Aaron Voros’ stick and had to be held back by his assistant coaches.

The Rangers went on to lose that game 4-0 and the series in seven games.


Rangers Need More Scoring

Rangers Lose First Round Series

Neil Becker

 Reflecting on the New York Rangers opening round playoff loss coach John Tortorella pointed to a lack of offence as a major reason for why they are still not playing.

New York who were badly outscored 19-11 by the Washington Capitals in what was a seven game series, lost two gifted scorers last summer  in Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan who despite being 600 goals scorers were both deemed to expensive.

Expected to do the bulk of scoring and provide the leadership were Scott Gomez and Chris Drury who both had quality seasons but scored less than 60 points.

A third player who was brought in last year to put up some big offensive numbers was former Vancouver Canuck Markus Naslund who disappointed in registering only 46 points.

“We’re not an offensive jugernaut and that comes back and bites us,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella about his team whose offence scored only 210 regular season goals to rank second last (behind the New York Islanders) in the Eastern Conference.

Tom Renney who started the season behind the Rangers coach claimed last February just days before being fired that the Rangers best chance at success was to win those 2-1 games behind their all star goalie Henrik Lundqvist. This four year veteran was outstanding early in the first round as he played a major role in helping his Rangers built a 3-1 series. After that he struggled badly in game five and six. During game seven Lundqvist was back to his stellar self but the Rangers couldn’t finish as they dropped a 2-1 decision.

“You could see it on my face,” Lundqvist who has won 30 or more games in his first four NHL seasons said after being eliminated.

“It’s tough. I can’t believe the season is over. Out of seven games, maybe they were the better team, but I still think we did a great job.”

Early in the season life was great for New York who got off to a fast 10-2-1 start. Towards mid- season they began to slump and a 2-7-3 dry spell in late January/early February left them in sixth place and in grave danger of missing the playoffs.

With the re -acquisition of super pest Sean Avery and by adding defenseman Derek Morris and Nik Antropov the Rangers were an improved team and finished in the seventh seed.  

Now Tortorella believes that if the Rangers are to take that next step in becoming a contending team then they must upgrade their offence. Perhaps general manager Glen Sather is now regretting not signing future hall of famer Jagr or Shannahan who might have made that difference in that tight game seven.

Sharks Facing A Tough Off Season

Sharks Eliminated In First Round

Neil Becker

There are now many questions to be addressed in San Jose where the Sharks who won the Presidents Trophy with 117 points once again failed to get past the first round.

Having a dangerous team consisting of a world class goaltender in Evgeni Nabokov (41 regular season wins) and explosive scoring in the likes of Joe Thornton (86 points) and Patrick Marleau (71 points) many were expecting San Jose to win the Stanley Cup.

On Monday night those lofty aspirations came to a crashing halt when the eighth seeded Anaheim Ducks offically eliminated the Sharks in what was a six game series.

“It’s just disappointing,” said Sharks captain Patrick Marleau who had 3 points in the first round.  “I can’t say much else besides that. I think having the team that we’ve had, going through a great regular season, we expected more out of ourselves, and we didn’t live up to that.”

San Jose who has now gone four years without making it out of the first round will have many players under the microscope for this latest disaster. The second line unit of Joe Pave;ski, Milan Michalek and Ryan Clowe who combined to score 70 goals this season registered only two against the Ducks. Also put under the miscroscope will be forward Travis Moen who was shut out in the six games and posted a disappointing -4 rating.

Getting the blunt of criticism will be the two stars in Thornton and Nabokov who were being counted on to lead the team to a Stanley Cup.

Some believe it’s not fair that Thornton who has always been known as a post season underachiever will be questioned this spring despite scoring five playoff points. Meanwhile Nabokov posted a sub par .890 save percentage.

In reflecting on the series Nabokov points to losing the first two games on home ice as the turning point of the series.

“Those first two games at home were the key,” Nabokov said.

“You lose two games and go down, and it’s hard after that. … Does it really matter to say it’s my fault or it’s not my fault? We win or lose as a team.”

Forward Jeremy Roenick who produced one point in the series is leaning heavily towards retirement and defenceman Blake who had a great series hasn’t made up his mind on whether he wants to play next season.

Security To Be Doubled For Game Seven In Washington

Security Doubled For Game Seven In Washington

Neil Becker

Despite Glen Sather’s letter the Washington Capitals will not be disciplined for having poor security behind the New York Rangers bench.

Sather who is the long time general manager of the Rangers sent a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman claiming that the Capitals should be punished for the ugly and preventable incident that occurred last Friday night  in Washington during game five.

During the third period Rangers coach John Tortorella got into a verbal match with some fans and threw a plastic water bottle at them. For his outburst Tortorella earned himself a one game suspension. A penalty that the Rangers to no surprise didn’t agree with.

“We will follow up on the Rangers request  NHL spokesman Frank Brown said about wanting more security behind their bench. “We had already implemented additional security procedures for Games 6 and 7 and we don’t anticipate any further problems.”

Brown stated later on that the Capitals who won Friday’s  game five  4-0 will not be penatalized.

That did not go over well with Sather who went into detail in the letter about how the Washington fans used foul language with children in ear shot. Also the letter mentioned how security wasn’t doing anything when fans were spitting on team personnel.

“According to Rangers trainer Jim Ramsay, one patron was screaming at the team in graphic language about whether defenseman Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have a sexual relationship,” Sather put in his letter to Bettman. Sather also said, “Several other fans also made repeated homophobic remarks.”  

The letter went on to add how Ramsay called security and a supervisor but for some reason the fans weren’t removed from their seats.

The Rangers who had assistant  Jim Shoenfeld step in for Tortorella for the game six loss on Sunday, will have their wish of more security behind their bench for game seven on Tuesday night in Washington.

Brashear Loses His Appeal

Donald Brashear Suspended For Six Games

Neil Becker

On Monday afternoon the streaking Washington Capitals found out that if they are to beat the New York Rangers in game seven tomorrow night that they will have to do so without tough guy Donald Brashear.

This 37 year-old who signed with Washington last summer to provide muscle and a veteran presence to a young team was sentenced by NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell to a six game suspension based on two seperate events prior to game six. 

Brashear who is no stranger to fistacuffs got a one game suspension for instigating a shoving match with Rangers tough guy Colton Orr during warm ups. The second scenario which netted him a five game vacation came during the first period when Brashear who racked up 121 penalty minutes in only 63 regular season games delivered a late and very questionable hit on an unsuspecting Blair Betts who ended up with a broken orbial bone.

“Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsespecting player,” said Campbell. “It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury.”

Washington who won game six by a 5-3 score won’t have Brashear for game seven on Tuesday night and will also be missing his services for either the next five playoff games or the first five games of next year.

Tortorella Gets A Game Suspension

Tortorella Banned For Game Six

Neil Becker

NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell had no choice but to suspend New York Rangers coach John Tortorella for what was truely an ugly incident game five incident that should have been avoided.

Tortorella who took over behind the Rangers bench late in the year crossed the line in a big way early in the third period in Friday night’s  loss when he whipped a plastic water bottle at a fan who was heckling him. If that wasn’t bad enough the bottle ended up to hit a lady who had nothing to do with the apparent confrontation.

“He was losing and he was frustrated, I guess said Claudette Chandonia who was hit in the head with the plastic bottle. “I couldn’t  believe it. I looked up, and he was throwing the water bottle and then it hit me right here, right in the head, and it bounced off me.”

During what was a 4-0 victory for the Washington Capitals, Tortorella apparently also sprayed a fan with water before getting a beer doused on him.

After throwing the water bottle, Tortorella had to be restrained by assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld after he grabbed a hockey stick and making threats.

“While it is a difficult decision to suspend a coach at this point in a playoff series, it has been made clear to all our players, coaches and other bench personnel that the National Hockey League cannot and will not tolerate any physical contact with fans,” said Campbell.

The Rangers who are winning their series 3-2 will try to close it out back at home on Sunday afternoon without Tortorella who was given a one game suspension. More than likely it will be Schoenfeld behind the bench.

Avery is Missed, But Should He Return?

I see the Rangers took my advice and contained Avery in the press box for Friday night’s game; but perhaps the team missed his feisty play. There certainly was a lack of drive to end this series. However, what a transformation occurred last night, when the Capitals came alive and took the Rangers to the ropes. Game six should be exciting, if the Capitals can keep up the momentum they displayed in game five. Ovechkin contributed one of the nicest goals of the 2009 play-offs, and it was also nice to see that the top players from the Capitals (Green, Semin etc) showed up for the must win. Also Matt Bradley’s two goal performance helped carry the Caps pass a lucklastre Rangers team, who showed no fight on a must win evening for both teams. No question the momnetum changes and if the Rangers are unable to finish the job in Game 6, they are in huge trouble going back to Washington.

Momma Gouche