‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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John Tortorella’s methods work. Love him, hate him, respect him or any combination thereof, Tortorella doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. His distinguished track record speaks for itself.
Not every player can thrive in Tortorella’s system or handle his demanding persona. It requires a certain type – a worker, a scrapper, an intelligent and committed two-way player.
Marian Gaborik is a tremendously skilled player. No one has ever questioned his ability. Tortorella sees his players as chess pieces first and foremost. There wasn’t anything personal between Tortorella and Gaborik that paved the way for Gaborik joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yes, there was an incident last Friday in Ottawa when Tortorella announced during practice that Gaborik was demoted to the fourth line, sparking a 12-minute conversation between the pair. More that any friction – it was Gaborik’s disconnected attitude that forced him out of New York. He refused to conform – and that’s why he’s no longer a Ranger.
Enter a new group of players in power forward Ryane Clowe, two-way centerman Derick Brassard, smooth-skating defenseman John Moore and injured agitating forward Derek Dorsett. Their heads are clear, they are motivated by their new surroundings and are not jaded like Gaborik, who never saw eye-to-eye with Tortorella.
It was Clowe who took center stage in his Madison Square Garden debut as he played a pivotal role in the Rangers’ 6-1 walloping victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. On the opening shift of the game, Clowe bowled over 6-foot-2, 202-pound Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland – much to the delight of the Garden crowd.