I’m not one for panicking, but with three games gone (which is nothing over such a long grind of a season) John Tortorella needs to step up. First of all, let’s get this out of the way: Tortorella is a great coach; he has instigated a new youthful culture on this club and is the right guy to lead them. He’s softened his old ways much like Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants did. That led to success, maybe it will here too.
Here’s the but. I want to see Torts make an example out of someone. This club has its share of issues to begin the year (the travel, the injuries), but the lazy penalty parade, which is becoming a growing concern, needs to stop. If it takes a benching, if it takes a press conference rant like the old Tortorella days or if it takes a high priced star to take a seat for a game then it needs to be done.
The lucky thing is this; it’s early in the year. This is a trend and it is a developing one, but it hasn’t yet become a habit. You don’t establish habits in three games. I was disappointed with the way the Rangers seemed to be magnetized to the penalty box in Stockholm and it only got worse against the Islanders. The lack of physical presence from Marc Staal and Mike Sauer being out of the line up can explain a lot, but it isn’t an excuse (in my opinion) for the host of penalties.
The Rangers acquired Brad Richards to re-energise Marian Gaborik and they have both started the season in promising fashion, but if they’re stuck to the bench for large parts of games because the penalty kill is constantly on the ice what use are they? The penalties need to stop and its on the coach to stop them.