Literally, it's a new day for the Rangers, who open the John Tortorella era tonight here at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And there's a new Ranger, too: The Rangers have apparently claimed ex-Maple Leaf Mark Bell, a left wing, off re-entry waivers. The 28-year-old Bell was the eighth overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1998 draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. He had four goals and six assists in 35 games last season for the Maple Leafs and was assigned to the AHL at the start of this season.
The morning-line combinations:
F - Markus Naslund-Scott Gomez-Nikolai Zherdev
Brandon Dubinsky-Chris Drury-Ryan Callahan
Nigel Dawes-Lauri Korpikoski-Petr Prucha
Fredrik Sjostrom-Blair Betts-Colton Orr
D - (constantly shifting during the skate but these appeared to be the most solid pairs)
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
Wade Redden-Michal Rozsival
Dmitri Kalinin-Erik Reitz
Paul Mara (right shoulder) accompanied the team and participated in the morning skate but is still probably at least a week away from playing.
Tortorella did skate next to Aaron Voros right at the start, chatting with him, most likely explaining why he would be a healthy scratch.
Tortorella is all business. He came into the interview room, stood behind the podium and before that uncomfortable pregnant pause could develop whilest we media types fumble to ask the first question, Tortorella said, "I've got a bus to catch." He spoke for about nine minutes then pounded his hands on the podium and said it was time for him to catch that bus, or get to work, or something that indicated he was done talking.
During the game, pay close attention to the power play because that is the one area which Tortorella probably is working with the hardest to start. Jim Schoenfeld is controlling the defense - no doubt he created those pairings - and I wouldn't be surprised if the forward lines are Schoenfeld's recommendations as well.
Top penalty killer Blair Betts said there would be a bit of an adjustment to the penalty kill, which comes into the game second in the NHL with a 86.9 success percentage. My guess: Tortorella probably is looking for the PK to be a bit more aggressive in transitioning to shorthanded goals.
On the power play, Tortorella will no doubt look to get his top scorers as much time as possible.
Other Tortorella thoughts: He's nervous, but a good kind of nervous. He work up last night in the Toronto hotel, couldn't figure out where he was and then it hit, he was coaching the Rangers. And it was a good feeling.