Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tort vs DeBoer II

Some gamesmanship finally has entered this third round series. If the Devils and Rangers aren't going to mix it up physically with so much on the line, leave it to the coaches to continue their war of words. There's no love lost between John Tortorella and Pete DeBoer, who exchanged barbs following a fight filled match on Mar.19 in their final regular season meeting at MSG.

During the second period of the Blueshirts' 3-0 Game Three win yesterday, Brandon Prust got away with an elbow to the back of Devil defenseman Anton Volchenkov's head. Afterwards, a furious DeBoer charged, "Headhunting. Plain and simple." Not surprisingly, Tortorella fired back.

“Prust has played probably 300-plus games without any hearing, anything going on with him. He’s probably one of the most honest players. I look at Zubrus’ elbow to Stralman. I look at Parise launching himself at Del Zotto. Maybe if our players stayed down on the ice, we’ll get something."

DeBoer replied, "Comical." While I agree with the first part, figure Prust to get at least a game similar to the Flyers' Claude Giroux last round when he elbowed Zubrus, who also returned like Volchenkov did Saturday. The gritty energizer had a hearing earlier today with League Deputy Brendan Shanahan to determine if he'll be suspended for Game Four. In the event he doesn't play, healthy scratch Stu Bickel practiced on the fourth line. It looks like he could replace Prust for tomorrow.

I'm not sure what Tortorella was referring to on Zach Parise, who by all accounts is a clean player much like our captain Ryan Callahan. I remember seeing a play where one of our guys got nailed but felt they didn't leave their feet. Parise finishes every check like Callahan. As for Zubrus, he tends to play chippy. So maybe he did elbow Anton Stralman. The refs never pick up everything. If they did, Prust would've been given a major and been ejected. Luckily, Volchenkov is okay.

The bigger contention from Tortorella was that the Devils are setting illegal picks to set up Ilya Kovalchuk on their power play. This is accurate. They've gotten away with at least three. Zubrus and Travis Zajac have done it. Usually, the stripes catch the guilty party. However, the same thing happened last round against Washington. Perhaps they're not focusing on the interference as much as they should be.

It looks like the coaches will continue to war the rest of the way. Will the players follow suit?

1 comment:

Hasan said...

I used to like Torts too but god, he's really been a windbag this year. It reminds me of Renney's quote during the '06 playoffs about how we turned and grabbed our faces to draw penalties. Uncharacteristic for him, but not surprising Torts engaged in similar gamesmanship.

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