- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Her are some of the highlights from Rangers coach John Tortorella’s pregame session with the media.
WOLSKI UPDATE: Rangers left wins Wojtek Wolski will be a gametime decision after pulling his rib cage muscle during Sunday’s win against Pittsburgh. Tortorella said the team will evaluate him after warm-ups. Kris Newbury will play if Wolski cannot go.
“We have to be smart about it,” Tortorella said. “It’s not three shifts and you’re done, that leaves us short handed. He said he felt much better today so we’ll see after warmup and we’ll make our decision then.”
HOW’S HENRIK?: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has endured an unusually rough streak as of late. In his last seven games, the All-Star goalie has gone just 2-4-1, allowing 22 goals in seven games. Tortorella said Lundqvist has found way and needs to find a rhythm with his work.
“I don’t think he’s been dead on and he’d admit he’s been dead on,” Tortorella said. He’s been working at his game and I’m sure he’s going to be right there when we need him.”
THE YOUNG ONES: Tortorella commended the effort of his young players on defense, that for the most part are in their early-to-mid 20’s.
Said Tortorella: “Slowly but surely they’ve grown into a group of guys have stuck in there and found a way to help us.”
MENTAL BOYLE: As the Kings come to town tonight, Rangers center Brian Boyle faces the team that initially drafted him. While he didn’t have much success in Los Angeles, nor in New York or San Jose, for the first four years of his career, Boyle is having the best season of his career this year. Tortorella credited Boyle for working on his mental fortitude.
“He was a guy that we weren’t sure was going to be on the club,” Tortorella said. “I think he has shown a great mental toughness in doing everything he could in the summer not only physically, skating instructor and all that stuff, but mentally to gear himself up for a year that he was going to make this team,” Tortorella said. “
DECREASE FOR PRUST: Tortorella admitted he’s tried to cut down on ice time for left wing Brandon Prust because he doesn’t feel he is completely healthy. He also said he shouldn’t have allowed Prust to fight Atlanta’s Eric Boulton on Feb. 11, a fight that he called “staged.”
“I think these staged fights in this league are ridiculous,” Tortorella said. “I think fighting is for a reason and the staged part of it I think is nonsense and I don’t want our guys to do it, especially Prust, who kills penalties, who grinds for us and does a lot of good things.”
32dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald