John Tortorella defends team strategy

Updated: May 31, 2012, 10:55 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella blasted the media for criticizing his team's shot-blocking ability.

"I think the people that are writing about us with our shot blocking ... I think they're idiots," Tortorella said Wednesday during an interview on ESPN NewYork 98.7's "The Michael Kay Show."

Tortorella Blocking shots is part of playing proper defense and we've got a couple of guys covering our team that don't get it. And that really upsets me. Not for myself, but for the players that do it. It's part of us. It's part of what these guys want to do.

-- Rangers coach John Tortorella

"I think they're disrespecting our players. I think they're disrespecting our team. We don't sit in our meetings and say forget about carrying the puck and trying to score a goal and make a play, let's just block shots all night long.

"Blocking shots is part of playing proper defense and we've got a couple of guys covering our team that don't get it. And that really upsets me. Not for myself, but for the players that do it. It's part of us. It's part of what these guys want to do."

Tortorella's team was praised for its hard-working, blue-collar mentality all season. But the Rangers' prolific shot-blocking system came under fire after they blocked 26 shots in their 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Rangers blocked a current NHL high 365 shots in the postseason; they blocked 1,338 shots in the regular season, fourth-most in the league.

But in the post lockout era, there are some who believe it takes away from the wide-open, high-scoring concept the NHL has been trying to instill into the sport.

"It's the right way to play," Tortorella said. "... It's beyond me after what these guys have done this year to start picking at this. It really pisses me off. ... Half the guys covering our teams haven't played a sport in their life and they don't get it."

New York was eliminated by New Jersey in six games.

Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

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