Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First The Staal Talk And Now This?

"A lot of teams were asking about our kids. There were deals to be made there, they wanted our kids; we stayed steady, we need to continue doing that. It’s not like we want to be in last place, but when you have kids in lineup - and I think we need to have more - there’s gonna be some bumps in the road. ” -- John Tortorella to Steve Zipay today
Wow, talk about lowering expectations.

This comes two days after Sather said the team was a "chasm" apart from Marc Staal on the Blueshirts' best defenseman's new deal. And it comes just weeks after the team demanded season subscribers put at least their first payment in for next season's tickets - something they did with a letter 'written' by Glen Sather saying that their goal was "bringing the Stanley Cup back to New York." So we've gone from winning it all to possibly finishing in last place. Amazing how things turn after they start taking our money.

You know, usually, they wait to give us this kind of nonsensical rhetoric until right before the regular season - look up Torts' talk about accountability last preseason - but this kind of talk leads me to believe that we will find ourselves quite disappointed when free agency opens on Thursday at noon. The funny thing is that Tortorella's words today were what we have been craving for over a decade. But it just kills me when the organization talks out of both sides of their mouth. Either we're in it to win it or we're setting up for a hopefully bright future. You can't have it both ways, it doesn't work and we don't believe you.

The "we need to have more" young players part from today's quote from the coach comes across as completely ridiculous. Last season Torts benched Matt Gilroy to start Anders Eriksson during last season's stretch run, limited Enver Lisin's minutes all season long and never gave anyone from Hartford a real chance on Broadway. Where in that do you find any evidence of a dedication to youth? He was forced to stick with MDZ and his deficiencies when the team PR machine jumped into high gear after his hot start.

But beyond that bit of hypocrisy, the thought of any young player learning how to become a professional from John Tortorella - the man who did this and this and, of course, this - is absolutely frightening.

It makes me weep for our future, both this coming season and beyond.

My apologies to Jim Cerny for using him in the Demotivators photoshop but the look on his face while Sather was talking during the draft interview was utterly priceless.


mike said...

Like most Ranger fans, you want to rebuild and win the Cup in the same year. Adopt some sort of consistency in your requests from this team. If I was bored enough I'd go into your archive and pull up a number of different statements you've made to the effect that the team needs to play kids and rebuild and stop trying to pretend they can challenge for the Cup.

I'd say compared to Sather, Torts is being much more honest about what the organization's priorities should be...and if the coach publicly rebels against Sather and Dolan, how cool would that be? Torts is enough of a loose cannon to do that, particularly if he's saddled with that piece of shit Wade Redden.

It's a dysfunctional organization run by a disinterested millionaire (Dolan) and an arrogant has-been (Sather); how can you blame the coach for this crap? Do you think Torts would play games with Marc Staal's future with the team?

I don't. Put the blame where it should be, Scotty, and get off of Torts' case. Before last season you didn't want the team to make the playoffs--they didn't, and you STILL had problems with Torts because they didn't get in.

Lastly, Larry Brooks is not a sympathetic figure. He's a spoiled brat who starts up with Torts and then fades away when confronted face-to-face, preferring to chop him to bits from the safety of his column. He also lacks journalistic ethics. Embedding the vids of the Torts-Brooks battles proves nothing--more hockey media people should be jousted with by the people who play and coach this game, it works pretty well for Chris Pronger.

Scotty, you generally have a good thought-provoking take on this team....but your hatred of Torts is coloring your outlook. None of us are in that locker room, so we only know what we see when it comes to the coach and his players. There's much more going on than we know. Or even you know.

Dennis said...

Thanks for reminding me how much I hate Torts. It's always gotta be all about him. No matter what the Rangers do with players this off season it will be tough to succeed next year with Torts behind the bench.

Scotty Hockey said...

Mike - I feel that my opinion has always been clear: either commit to a rebuild or commit to winning the Cup. One or the other. This split message nonsense only leads to more mediocrity.

I completely agree that we as fans don't have the full picture of what goes on and mourn that fact pretty regularly. So, I go by what info we have - results on the ice and quotes in the press. I get on the coach for being a bad coach, a loudmouth and a hypocrite.

The interactions with Brooks were unprofessional. If you have a problem with a media member you deal directly with that member, stop talking to them or get their credential stripped. You don't puff out your chest and make fun of the guy who is trying to do his job, whether you agree with his ways and means or not.

mike said...

Scotty--a two-part answer here...first off, regarding the "unprofessionalism" of Tortorella's dealings with the media--I don't think reacting honestly to a person who is questioning you is unprofessional. If a writer wishes to ask tough questions when cameras and recorders are running, then he should be able to deal with a coach who explodes when provoked. The paper that Brooks works for is a slimy, propagandistic rag that loves to pick targets in society and sports and then antagonize them....then they publish their slanted stories after the inevitable explosion. It's a long-standing tradition with the Post, whether in politics or sports--so I commend Torts for his candor when dealing with douchebags who work for the most illegitimate newspaper in America.

Secondly, I think there's no mixed message here. Rather Tortorella is sending a message through the media that he will rock management's boat if they don't do what he wants with the roster. You rightly hammered him for keeping Redden in the lineup, but I've been saying on your blog for months that his employer is James Dolan. The same guy who signed Allan Houston to a five-year $105 million extension (during which Houston played less than 60 games for the team, I believe) and then didn't waive him when the NBA allowed a one-time salary-cap exception for each team to waive one unwanted contract; it was popularly called the Allan Houston rule. I believe Dolan is the guy that kept Redden in the lineup. Let's see what happens this year--I still don't believe that Dolan will eat the Redden contract.

Either way, fireworks between Torts and Sather and Dolan would be beautiful this year. Torts has nothing to lose anymore.

Pete said...

LOL...so, it's ok that Torts acted unprofessionally with Brooks because he's from the Post, and the Post is baaaaad. What about when he blew up on Sam for asking a question? Or do we not like Sam too? He works for MSG, and MSG is baaaaad. Here's the deal; even if Brooks is the biggest douchebag in all of journalism ever, and even if he worked for a newspaper written by the devil himself, that does not give Torts the right to flare off on him. There's a level of professionalism that everyone is called to and Torts is no exception.

Oh, and Chris Pronger is also not a "sympathetic figure." Not by a longshot.

Look, I was all about Torts coming to the Rangers because I was hoping for a no-nonesense coach after the years of Kumbaya Renney. We didn't get that. We got a coach who lashes out at the press often but rarely at the guys in the locker room.

Pete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike said...

Again, my point with Torts is that he was hamstrung by his boss and his owner as far as who was in the lineup for the team last year. I'd agree with Scotty and Pete that Tortorella's rhetoric has not matched his reality, though.

Moving on, though--the NY Post IS bad. That's an indisputable fact. And boiled down my comment said that any paper that plays ambush tactics gets what they pay for when the subject doesn't roll over. As far as combativeness goes, why is it unprofessional to lose your temper at people who attempt to provoke? I don't get that at all. Arguing for standards of behavior with media people from the Post is like arguing for free speech using the Two Live Crew...it's a noble point, but it involves idiots who don't fully understand the freedoms they claim to test and/or protect.

Managers and coaches from Buddy Ryan to Bill Parcells in football, Pat Riley in hoops, and Tony LaRussa and Charlie Manuel in baseball have all sparred publicly with local and national sports media. Did that make them unprofessional too? Being smooth with the media just means that a coach or manager has the capacity to bullshit a room full of writers. It doesn't qualify them as good at their job.

Also, I didn't refer to Pronger as a sympathetic figure. Instead I brought him up as an example of a guy who talked trash to the media and treated them with disdain in the playoffs this year, yet the media ate his act up like it was free food.