The Rangers held practice on Saturday following back-to-back wins over the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins and then took a day away from the game on Sunday. Before Sunday's rest, though, head coach John Tortorella took the time to discuss some pressing issues surrounding the Rangers right now, including the play of Derek Stepan, Marc Staal's progress and the team's need for rest.
Here's the video:
Interesting how Tortorella acknowledged that Derek Stepan's recent string of lackluster play is due to the fact that Derek knows he is not the fastest player out there and it has gotten to him mentally. He made a good point in that focusing on defense will help Stepan find his game again. That same approach has worked for Brandon Dubinsky and Brad Richards this season.
Also, Tortorella has went out of his way to give Henrik Lundqvist a ton of praise lately, hasn't he? I mean, it's all well deserved but to hear Tortorella go on and on about a player like that is unusual. I guess Lundqvist has just been that good.
Tortorella became very defensive when a reporter suggested the Rangers may feel as if they are rushing Marc Staal back. As we've discussed, the Rangers have taken things very slowly with Staal but he's made progress faster than they expected him to. Tortorella made that point very clear.
And since they sort of go along with what was said in this mini-presser, be sure to read my articles from over the weekend on Tortorella being an "All-Star" coach in many ways and how Marc Staal has quickly been returning to form.