Former Rangers coach John Tortorella is back at the Garden Monday as his Blue Jackets take on the Rangers at 7 p.m. He met with the media Monday morning and discussed a number of topics including his four-and-a-half year stint with the Rangers, if he thought he was going to coach again after just one year with the Canucks and preparations for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as head coach of Team USA. Here are Torts’ greatest hits from Monday’s presser.
ON THE CURRENT RANGERS:
“It’s a good team we’re playing. They’ll have some juice. They made one deal already in getting a pretty big guy (Eric Staal) for them. They’re in it. They’re looking to make a run again in the playoffs, and this is another opponent coming at them. They’ll be ready to play. They’re a good club. The way we have to approach it is we have to keep on going about our business and be concerned about ourselves, how we play, not how other teams act today as far as deadline.”
ON HIS EMOTIONS COMING BACK TO MSG:
“I’ve been back here (Nov. 30, 2013 as Canucks coach) since you guys blew me out of here. I’m sure you guys pushed a little bit along the way here.
“Listen, like I said the last time I was here, I have a lot of friends here. I spent a good portion of the morning saying hello to a lot of people that I care about. But tonight when we drop the puck, we’re gonna try to play, this team here that I’m coaching, try to be the best we can be. But it’s a different day for me because I just see so many good people that I worked with here in this organization and I’ll never forget that, no matter what team I’m coaching. It isn’t a hate thing. It screws you up a little bit because you haven’t seen them for a while. Teams are in a different situation as far as where the clubs are at right now, but once we start playing we’re gonna play to win and go about our business.”
ON HIS TIME WITH THE RANGERS AND NOT WANTING TO LEAVE NEW YORK:
“I loved my time here, and I love the progress we made with the club here. Not me, but as an organization, I thought we did some really good things here — and again, as an organization. I’m not talking about myself. As I said the last time I was here, did I want to leave? Absolutely not. I felt there was some unfinished business. I felt we were going the right way. I don’t make those decisions. I was told to leave and you go about it. It’s part of our jobs as coaches, it’s part of it as players, as players are going through it today (with the trade deadline.) That’s all part of the business. But I loved every moment here, and I come back here in the summer. I make my home here in the summer. So there are a lot of good things that go on for me mentally with this place. Love coming to the building and seeing the people I care about. You work in an organization for that many years, you make a lot of good friends. So I really look forward to that.”
ON BEGINNING THE SEASON AS A MEDIA MEMBER BEFORE TAKING OVER COLUMBUS IN OCTOBER:
“I didn’t get too far ahead in what was gonna happen with me. Listen, you get hired, you get fired. You spent the amount of time coaching as I have in the league, I am blessed to have that time. If I did not get another job, there would not be one complaint coming out of my mouth, because I’ve been given the opportunities to work with great people, players, organizations, management, teams. There’s not one complaint. I am very fortunate that I get another opportunity with this team here. Great ownership, J.D. (president John Davidson,) Jarmo (Kekalainen, Columbus’ general manager) has been fantastic and I really like some of the pieces. But wherever it takes you, it takes you. Was I gonna get locked into what I was doing? I wasn’t sure where I was gonna go with that. I enjoyed it. It’s an interesting part of the business for me, but I was taking it day by day. But again, I get another opportunity. I’m trying to do the best I can with my staff for us to improve as a team and get into a position where we’re hunting for playoffs and getting involved in that again. It’s day by day in our business, and we just keep going about it.”
ON COACHING TEAM USA IN THE WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY:
“It’s an absolute honor to have the opportunity to do that, to represent your country in a whole different — stepping away from the National Hockey League and that type of situation. It’s an honor. I’ve been working with Dean (Lombardi, Team USA GM and Kings president/GM) and the whole management staff. It’s been really stimulating … as we’ve gone through the process. The interview process, going through the players and so many good American players, the young group, the North American (Young Guns) and all that, it’s really interesting. Really looking forward to it. I think we’re gonna be interested in the list when it’s announced, for all teams. It’s the best players in the world, so I couldn’t be more excited.”
ON MATURATION OF RYAN McDONAGH INTO RANGERS CAPTAIN:
“Well Mac, when we first got him you knew that was there. Where he’s grown to — I do. I watch him from afar and I just, I watched when he first came in and he didn’t say a word. He respected the hierarchy as far as how you handle yourself in the locker room, and he’s just grown now into the captain of the New York Rangers, and what he does for that team. I couldn’t be happier for that because he’s such a great kid, and again, I hope he isn’t that way tonight, but I do watch him and a number of the other guys on this team, and watch how they’ve progressed. So just proud to have a couple of minutes with him as a coach as we’ve gone through it to.”
ON TEAMS PLAYING THE SAME DAY AS THE TRADE DEADLINE:
“I have my thoughts on that but I better keep them to myself.”
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