There were rumors that defenseman Michael Del Zotto had choice words for head coach John Tortorella upon learning that he was assigned to the Connecticut Whale (AHL). Those were never "confirmed" but based on what has been said by the two, I think we can assume they had some sort of exchange after the move was made. But Bruce Burlett recently sat down with Del Zotto and collected his (public) thoughts on being demoted over on Howlings. Below I included some of the sophomore defenseman's quotes from Burlett's interview with him.
"The biggest thing for me is to get some games under me, play some minutes and try to get my game back to where it used to be," Del Zotto told Bruce. "I think confidence is the biggest thing. Things haven't gone as smoothly or come as easily as they maybe came last year, especially offensively, so I just want to get my confidence back."
What DZ says here is the whole meaning behind him getting demoted. It is not punishment and it is not necessarily something that should be looked upon as negative. It is being done so that the youngster gets a chance to regain his confidence with the puck and in the defensive zone. It was quite clear that he was nervous on Sunday in Florida, which like I said probably ultimately led to this decision.
"When I return (to New York) is not my decision," Del Zotto said. "I've come here wanting to make the most of this opportunity, and I'm just trying to help out what I've already seen is a great group of guys and try to get my game back. I want to do everything I can to help the team win any way I can. That's what they're looking for, for me not taking a step back down here and be upset at the world. I just have to move forward and be my usual self, always having a good time, smiling and enjoying life."
He has the right idea here. Michael, being the player in this scenario, cannot worry about when he will return to the NHL. He needs his focus to be on his game right now, because that is something he can control, and once he does that everything else will fall into place. I'm sure that is what the coaching staff and management told him, but not all players of his age comprehend the concept. Evidently Del Zotto did.
Del Zotto will be just fine, trust me. We have seen what this kid can do when he is at the peak of his game, so there really is nothing to be worried about here. His stint in Connecticut will do him good and I think when the time comes, he will be a changed player upon returning to the Rangers.
To read Bruce's interview with Del Zotto in its entirety, head over to Howlings and check it out.