As previously noted, it was a much different John Tortorella who met the media today. Obviously, he's not going to snap all the time like he did Thursday night at Atlanta. On the other hand, chances are, that's not the last we've seen of his angry side.
Tortorella's only annoyance today was that he couldn't show the team video because the equipment didn't function properly.
General manager Glen Sather was sitting in the stands watching practice. Whether that has anything to do with Tortorella being on better behavior is up for speculation. I know it didn't sit too well with the MSG Network people that Tortorella blew off a pre-arranged between-period interview.
But the real story, with seven games to go, is how the Rangers play down the stretch. So there was hockey talk with Tortorella today.
- Tortorella would not disclose what he told his team this morning. He did say, "I always express myself to the team every day."
- He said he had his reasons for not using Nikolai Zherdev in the shootout but "it'll stay with me. The guys we went with we'd go with again." Tortorella also disputed Zherdev was under-used down the stretch, though he only played about five minutes through the third period and overtime.
- Tortorella did admit he did not use Sean Avery and Markus Naslund as much over the same period. "I don't use Sean four on four. I have three groups, I like using three. Naz, he lost some ice time along the way because I thought some other guys were going. He may get 20 minutes tomorrow, he may get eight minutes. It depends what goes on. That's just the way it is every game as far as who we think should be on the ice."
- He's really, really happy lately with Fredrik Sjostrom, though he'd like to see Sjostrom start chipping in with more offensive production. He liked the way Sjostrom was forechecking and battling for the puck defensively.
- When being asked whether the Rangers have been playing down to the opposition, Tortorella turned it around and said the team needed to play up since the last seven opponents (the Flyers twice) are all playoff teams.
- Killer instinct can be developed. "I think it's a kind of mental toughness. I think you need for good things to happen to you to understand exactly what it is. It's confidence. We go up and down with our confidence from game to game. Sometimes, period to period. That's something we're trying to work on."