Coming into yesterday, when I thought of John Tortorella, I thought of the one guy I consciously remember getting kicked out of a game he was coaching at the Garden - and not just once, but twice!
By last night, however, he became a beacon of hope for this struggling franchise and their fans.
No, he cannot turn water into wine - (at least I don't think he can) - so he may very well not be able to take some of these marginal players and make them what they are not. But, I think because of his different attitude and approach to coaching, we will hopefully soon know who the real players and who the pretenders are. And that's half the battle right there. Maybe more than half when you think of the present company on this team - Redden, Drury, Gomez to name a small few.
It would be great knowing whether Redden's last couple years in Ottawa really were a beginning to the end and the Rangers management saw something special in his last summer that just simply no longer remains.
It would be great knowing whether Scott Gomez can play effectively, with sensibility, and hell, with anyone besides Patrick Elias and Brian Gionta.
It would be even greater to know whether Chris Drury - with a little kick in the butt - can look ANYTHING like a guy that grew up idolizing this franchise and wanted so desperately to wear this sweater, anything like the captain he now is.
It would be great.
It will be great just to know.
So Torts becomes a beacon of hope in that he will do no less than three things in his time in New York:
- Separate the pretenders from the real players on this team.
- Hold everyone to the same standards of hard work and accountability - regardless of how much money they make.
- Make things a hell of a lot more entertaining.
I don't think anyone can disagree with at least that much.
Well, okay, perhaps those of you that thought this team - post-October but pre-Februrary collapse - was entertaining enough because they were winning, well, you may disagree.
But for the rest of us that have supported this team through winning and losing seasons, good and bad player signings, and all the rest of the tumultuous up and down that goes along with bleeding blue - for us, this is a good thing.
For the rest of us fans that found it incredibly hard to near impossible to keep watching this team that took the ice for the better (or worse) part of the last four and a half months - for us, we have deliverance.
Deliverance from boring.
And that feels SO sweet.
For I must admit, it is for the first time in what feels like a long time that I am looking forward to tomorrow's game. And to Thursday's. And to Saturday's. While it would be silly to expect immediate results, we at least can feel excited for the thought that there will at least be more to be excited about.
A new coach!
Better press conferences!
Redden NOT on the PP!
Prucha (perhaps) ON the PP!
No more TOO MANY MEN penalties!
And...wait for it...
Seriously folks, we now essentially, in some great sense, have a brand new team. Sure the names are the same, at least for the time being. But the approach will not be. Attitude, they say, is everything. Perhaps a new and fresh attitude can get this team back to respectability - again.
Wine out of water?
A group of fast, decisive skaters not afraid to move UP the ice and put the puck IN the net?
Dear Beacon, we can only hope.