No real cohesive string to the post-practice interviews so here are some bullet-points of what the guys are talking about as they head into tomorrow night's game hosting the Devils. Devils are third in the conference, Rangers are seventh with 87 points after 76 games. The eighth-place Canadiens have 86 points after 75 games. And ninth-place Florida has 85 points after 76 games.
As posted, Corey Potter is up with the team for Mike Sauer and will play against the Devils. But John Tortorella expects Michal Rozsival to begin skating no later than Tuesday, and quite possibly tomorrow. Tortorella said as soon as trainer Jim Ramsey gives him the word that Rozsival's ready to play, he'll be back in the lineup. So that could be Thursday at Carolina.
Click below for a bunch of this and that notes out of the dressing room.
- Sean Avery is not being made available to the media until after tomorrow night's game. Obviously, there's plenty of interest in the Avery vs. Martin Brodeur angle and the Rangers don't want to add any fuel to the fire. Frankly, Avery's been very smart in the comments he's made to the media and the Rangers' PR staff has done a great job in allowing access to him yet protecting him when need be. Such as in this instance.
- Tortorella on Avery: "I think Sean has handled himself very well. I think Sean is smart enough to understand what this game means to us. That overrides everything. This is about discipline, concentrating. This is about trying to get two points. Worrying about the other stuff...it can't happen. It's not so much about Marty and Sean. I think Sean needs to be himself. He needs to allow himself, for his personality, to be there as a player. That's a big part of his game. He just can't cross the line and he's done a good job of that."
- Tortorella said it's not up to him to lodge a complaint with the NHL about whether Avery is being treated fairly by the officials.
"I won't be talking to the league. You may be have to talk to (Jim Schoenfeld) or Glen (Sather) if something has gone on there, that's not for me. I don't think he's being treated fairly. The question I have to ask is, if Sean was doing some of the things that are happening to him, would Sean Avery be called for a penalty. I think he would. That's when I think you find out whether it's fair or not. That's the question I have. I'm not going to bellyache about it anymore. At certain times you need to protect a player along the way here. I think Sean needs to be treated fairly."
- Tortorella on why he stormed out of his post-game press conference after 30 seconds in Atlanta, after saying his team "sucked" and he didn't care what his players had said about the game.
"I was mad. It's not a personal thing (toward the media). I was mad. I wasn't interested in ripping the hockey team publicly so I needed to step away. Is it right for you guys? Probably not and I know it isn't. I know you're looking for information. I wasn't interested in ripping the hockey team. I had my thoughts in my head that I was mad about the hockey team. I just didn't want to talk about it at that particular time. It's not fair to you guys but that's what I did."
- Marc Staal said the last time he played in a four-man defensive rotation - which was what Tortorella did in yesterday's 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh after benching veteran Paul Mara and the rookie Sauer - was when he was in juniors. Staal said he didn't feel as physically bad today as he expected, most likely because it was a fairly light practice. "When you're rolling like that (in a game) it's almost like it's robotic."
- Potter said he was told he was being recalled after playing for Hartford (AHL) last night and drove to Greenburgh, N.Y. this morning for practice. At 25, and with three games played for the Rangers this season, Potter has slightly more experience and maturity than other candidates such as Bobby Sanguinetti or Brian Fahey. Or Sauer.
"I've been in some big games and tough situations playing for Team USA," Potter said. "It was only three games but playing those three games does help. I would say I have a llittle edge up over everybody."
- Colton Orr said he was a bit surprised to be called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for interference against Mark Eaton at 2:47 of the third period at Pittsburgh. He's also not sure whether there will be any further punishment coming from the NHL.
"I was just going down to play the puck around the boards," Orr said. "I was taking the puck and playing the body. Getting the puck out was the main objective. I didn't know I was getting a penalty right away. Maybe I didn't see him going down. I haven't seen it. I haven't heard anything about it. I have to deal with it and play it through."
Orr said being penalized for that hit would not change the way he approaches a similar play in a future game.
- Paul Mara said he was told he only played 5:14 against the Penguins because the coaching staff was not happy with his play on Matt Cooke's goal that made it 2-0 at 11:20 of the first period. Cooke got free in the slot to knock in a rebound. Mara said it had nothing to do with his left eye, which was swollen shut on Friday after he took a high stick in Atlanta on Thursday.
"It was a coach's decision," Mara said. "On that one goal, I made a bad read, a bad pinch. I talked to Schoney a bit after practice. Mainly it was because of that one play. In this league, you have to have thick skin and a short memory. That's what I'll do."
Tortorella said he considered himself a "clean slate" guy, meaning Mara's benching on Saturday will have no bearing on tomorrow's game.
"I think sometimes things go on in a game, a guy doesn't make a play, the next day we do our tape, we may do some correcting, there may be some conflict but once you do that, you move on," Tortorella said. "You need to give your athlete the chance to rebound. There's nothing better for me as a coach than having a (ticked) off athlete, mad at you. Then show me. I think that's the best way for some players to play so it's a clean slate."