So much for that Saturday deadline for Brandon Dubinsky, as he will not be a part of training camp today due to contract problems. This is troubling, not just because he isn’t signed yet, but because he is going to be far behind the rest of the players when he does sign, and significantly out of shape.
One way around this was to invite Dubinsky as a non-roster invitee to camp, so he can at least get those John Tortorella workouts in, but it appears Dubinsky will sit it out and wait for a good deal to be offered. What a good deal in his mind is, no one will know.
This still makes you wonder what offer is currently on the table, and what exactly Dubinsky is looking for. The only thing we know is that Dubinsky rejected the qualifying offer of one-year $550k.
As for rumors, the Rangers are still being linked to Phil Kessel. I previously stated here on BSB that neither team has the cap room necessary for a trade. The Rangers will need to dump salary to take on Kessel and his $5 million price tag, and the Bruins simply cannot take on more salary, as they are currently over the cap. For a trade to happen, both teams would have to be very creative, or find a third party to make it happen.
In other, less depressing, training camp news, ex-Ranger Dan LaCouture is in camp as a non-roster invitee, replacing Kyle McLaren, who is no longer coming due to injury. Some of the prospects who participated in the Traverse City Tournament, which ended in back-to-back wins against Detroit and St. Louis and a third-place finish, were added to the training camp roster. The full roster can be found here.
One other tidbit, Andrew Gross is reporting that Assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld will still be on as an assistant coach, but just won’t be on the bench during games. His exact role will be to work with the penalty killers and defense during practice.
Remember way back when to the John Tortorella signing? Jim Schoenfeld was named as interim Assistant Coach, but the Rangers were really targeting Mike Sullivan. Well, as per Damian Cristodero and his Lightning Strikes blog:
GM Brian Lawton said he has given associate coach Mike Sullivan permission to speak to other teams. It is well known Sullivan wants to be a head coach, and the Oilers and Wild jobs are open. As for remaining an associate, Lawton said he also gave Sullivan permission “for family reasons” to talk to teams closer to his Massachusetts hometown. It is not far-fetched to think Sullivan will get interest from the Rangers and former Lightning coach John Tortorella.
This was an expected move, as the Rangers, and Torts, will be targeting Sullivan as Schoenfeld’s replacement.
Update 1:45pm: For those of you who follow the the Lohud Rangers Blog, Jane held a contest, basically you guess which three Rangers fit into the stories she told. For those of you who care, that was me who won the contest. Sweet.
Well, today was break-up day for the Rangers, and coach John Tortorella finally addressed his suspension for Game 6. You can read the full extent of what he said at any of the beat writer blogs (links on the right). I’m not going to copy and paste it.
I must say, it’s about damn time that he responded to this. He took full responsibility for his actions, and made hiumself accountable for his mistakes, which is something that he preaches. He was definitely wrong in his actions, and it’s great that he finally admitted his mistakes, but his suspension didn’t really have an effect on the outcome of Game 6. Losing 5-1 is domination, not a simple coaching mismatch. And plus, it’s not like Jim Schoenfeld is a slouch behind the bench, he’s a former head coach who has been with the Rangers for a decade and probably knows the players better than anyone.
He also spoke on the Avery benching, also on the beat writers’ blogs, saying that he would do it again if necessary. I still say kudos to him for benching Sean Avery, because it was clear that he needed a day off just to relax from the obvious bias against him. It worked, and Avery was one of the best, if not the best, Ranger skater in Game 7.
It took a while for Torts to discuss these issues, his reasoning being that he didn’t want to distract the team from the task at hand, but it was a distraction already, so maybe just being open right away would have helped. You can’t fault him for not wanting to take the spotlight though.
Don’t forget to vote in the poll on the right. And make sure you check out Stas’ year-in-review.
Before Jim Schoenfeld was named assistant coach for the remainder of the season, the Rangers attempted to get Mike Sullivan from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Andrew Gross reports.
A little bit on the Rangers’ pursuit of Lightning associate coach Mike Sullivan, who Tortorella initially targeted to be his top assistant. When a deal couldn’t be struck with Tampa Bay, Tortorella turned to Jim Schoenfeld, who was the Coyotes coach when Tortorella was a Phoenix assistant.
Sullivan has a clause in his contract that allows him to pursue any NHL job if he can “better” his situation and the Lightning will not file tampering charges regarding Sullivan. Look for Tortorella and the Rangers to re-visit the Sullivan situation over the summer with a deal that will be better for Sullivan than what he has in Tampa Bay.
This should fill in the questions that people have about the interim title that Jim Schoenfled has. Torts has been very vocal that Schoenfeld is doing him a favor. I woudl expect Sullivan behind the bench with Torts next season.
So what does Tortorella get today when he comes to practice? Tortorella gets a team that is in free fall, a team that is 2-7-3 in their last 12. He gets a team that is currently 6th in the East with 69 points, but just 2 points out of 9th, and 4 points out of 10th.
He gets a team that is 29th in the league in scoring, at 2.33 G/G (Nashville is last). He gets a powerplay that has been god awful at 13.8%, good for 28th in the league. In short, Tortorella gets a team that relies on holding their opponent to 1 goal a game.
Tortorella is the exact opposite of Tom Renney. He is an in your face guy, and most importantly, will hold the high priced guys accountable for terrible play. It looks like the high priced guys knew this was coming, because Gomez and Drury have been playing well lately, and Rozsival and Redden have been better. Yes, Redden has been better. He still cracks a little bit under a rush, but his first passes have been solid.
Torts is a “safe is death” guy. So expect a lot more scoring chances, at the expense of defense. I say chances because we never know if this team can actually finish. Hank will have a little bit more of a workload as a result, but that shouldn’t really worry or surprise anyone.
The powerplay should also look a lot better. Torts will get in Rozsival’s and Redden’s faces about shooting more. We may actually see Marc Staal on the powerplay, which will make all of us very happy.
Basically, expect to see the Rangers evolve into a different type of team. They will attempt to play an up tempo game. Torts was the best hire that Sather could have made.
A few side notes from the Torts hiring:
- Torts does not like Avery. Do not expect him back with the Rangers any time soon.
- Torts is not the savior of this team. It is still a very flawed team built by a flawed GM. Sather should be praised for this move, and the Zherdev move. But his signings have been ridiculous.
- Don’t underestimate the value of having Schoenfeld behind the bench as an assistant. He knows this current team better than anyone within the organization, and will help Torts get acquainted.
- Expect a transition period. The Rangers will be going from a defensive system to an offensive system, and there will be some collateral damage. Expect them to make some glaring mistakes while they adjust.
Who knows what Torts will do. Maybe he reads this blog and knows that we want Prucha in the lineup in lieu of Voros. I can only hope.
It’s official, John Tortorella is the new Rangers head coach. According to Rick Carpiniello, Jim Schoenfeld was the first choice, but did not want the job. He will serve as interim assistant coach, replacing Perry Pearn. Mike Pelino remains as an assistant coach, and Benoit Allaire remains as the goalie coach.
Sather got this move right. When changing coaches, especially on a team that appears to have trouble getting motivated, you have to hire a coach that is the polar opposite of the coach you just let go. Tortorella is an in your face guy, and I’m looking forward to him interact with the media.