I am sure most of you watched Saturday night's special edition of Hockey Night Live on MSG Network featuring head coach John Tortorella, Captain Chris Drury and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. As always, Tortorella gave a juicy interview that I figured I had to discuss here on Blueshirt Banter. Below are some of the topics that the coach touched on:
- Henrik Lundqvist/ Martin Biron:Tortorella talked in length about how Henrik Lundqvist simply cannot start in as many games this season as he has been used to in the past. This is where Martin Biron comes into play, and Torts said if healthy, the former Islander and Flyer will hopefully start in about 20 games. He made a good point in saying that most Stanley Cup winning goalies only play in around sixty games per season. I don't think Torts is planning for a cup, but a well rested Lundqvist is an advantage when entering the playoff race in March and April.
- Chris Drury: John Tortorella is willing to give Captain Chris Drury another chance after a not so hot season in 2009-10. He said that Drury will have the opportunity to prove he belongs at the center position on offense, but he has to produce. There is no room for slack here, Torts made it very clear that it is either produce and play where you want, or not produce and play where the coach wants.
- Wade Redden: Now this is where things got interesting. Tortorella started off by saying that Redden has come back this year in great shape, but then went on to set the veteran blue-liner in his place. John showed no hesitation in saying that Redden's game has slowed down and there are better options for his roster spot. He even admitted that Redden's contact has affected the way he looks at Redden. I give Tortorella A LOT of credit for saying that on air.
- The Kids: This was Tortorella's main message throughout the interview. He was delighted to see that Sather did not make a ton of signings this off-season, and that the main core of youngsters is still around. I think he mentioned McDonagh and Stepan's names about three times, so watch out for them to get very long looks at training camp. I mean, he was insistent on these players having a shot and how critical it is to fuse them into the lineup. They are now dark horses to make it in my mind.
- Marc Staal: This is the last thing that I wanted to discuss. The subject of Marc Staal did come up, and Tortorella quickly urged that Marc is a "key piece to the puzzle". He still has his fingers crossed that a deal will get done because he later said that Staal will be a great player for years to come. He felt he was inconsistent in the first half of the year, but in the last few months "really got it". Torts also said they had a great exit interview following last season.
Once again, great job by MSG Network to bring this kind of content to the fans. This is exactly the information we want to hear heading into training camp, especially straight from the coach's mouth himself. And Tortorella did not disappoint, either.