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For One Night at Least, John Tortorella Proves to Be a Master Motivator

The Rangers were thisclose to rock bottom after Wednesday night's loss to the Islanders, but at least John Tortorella went and did something about it. This time, it went beyond ripping into them in the locker room or insulting them to the press. Say it with us: Wade Redden was a healthy scratch! And maybe it's just coincidence, but the Rangers then went and dominated the Islanders in a 5–2 victory.

We actually don't mean to pick on Redden (mostly because between him and Michal Rozsival, he's been the lesser of two evils this season). But as we've said before, carrying a seventh defensemen is a good idea. Redden wasn't happy about being scratched, nor should he be. But if Tortorella's going to make his forwards earn ice time, then he might as well do it with his defensemen, too. Maybe this ends with the whole team hating him, or maybe it lights a fire under them.

Though really, sitting Redden wasn't the reason they won last night. That had more to do with the five goals they scored — look, everyone, a Chris Drury sighting! — and with Henrik Lundqvist outplaying Dwayne Roloson. (And yes, we're choosing to ignore that business of Lundqvist falling down and giving Nate Thompson an empty net to shoot at, mostly because it set up Thompson hilariously missing said net by three feet. The lesson here? Lundqvist should never, ever leave his crease.) You know, once upon a time, this team had a bona fide philosophy — one that dictated that they skate hard, forecheck, and take chances, all in the name of offense. It's good to see that, should they decide to embrace that system again, they can still score, at least sometimes.

Photo: Getty Images