Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Torts: "No comment" on Neil's warning, Michalek/Girardi incident in Game 6
By Matt Ehalt
Rangers coach John Tortorella said "No comment" in a conference call Tuesday about the incident between Ottawa wing Milan Michalek and defenseman Dan Girardi during Game 6, as well as Senators wing Chris Neil's warning to defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
In the third period of the Rangers' 3-2 win, CBC footage showed Michalek appearing to kick Girardi twice in the fracas in front of the net that led to Ottawa's controversial second goal. Players have been suspended for similar actions this season.
Following the game, Neil, whose hit gave Brian Boyle a concussion in Game 5, was not pleased with Del Zotto after the Rangers defenseman hit Neil in the third period. It took Neil a few minutes to get up before he skated off on his own.
"I'm sure I'll catch him with his head down one of these times," Neil said according to reports.
18 YEARS LATER: The Rangers will be hosting a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden for the first time since defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1994. It's the fourth Game 7 the Rangers are hosting at the World's Most Famous Arena.
"My thought is to win it," Tortorella said. "As far as the Game 7 in Madison Square in 1994, it doesn't affect anything we do. We're going into a Game 7 with the opportunity to win the hockey game based on our game last night. That's all we're concerned about."
To even force a Game 7, the Rangers had to rebound from a disheartening Game 5 loss at home and win in Ottawa. The Rangers rallied in the second and third periods to pick up the win and bring the series back to New York City for the final game.
"Our team has responded all year long," Tortorella said. "A lot of our game throughout the series has been very good. We just have not found a way to make a big play at a key time, a big offensive play especially at a key time. Last night, in the second period, we did. This group of guys, they have just gone about their business and that's the way we'll approach Game 7."
STRAIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE: Just weeks after winning a NCAA title with Boston College, Rangers rookie Chris Kreider scored a huge goal Monday, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the third. The team needed that goal as Ottawa scored a second goal with less than a minute left that could have tied the game had Kreider not scored.
"The thing that impressed me the most about him right now in just a couple of days being with him is forget what's on the ice, it's how he's handled the situation," Tortorella said. "I'm sure there's a letdown after the college season is over. Not only coming into playoffs, but also an elimination game last night. I just don't think much fazes the guy and the mental mindset part of it. That's what's really interesting. I'm very impressed in the short term with him, I'm really impressed with that."