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January 1, 2012

John Tortorella


Q.  Will Staal be available tomorrow?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  No, nothing's changed with Mark.  Same lineup tomorrow for this team, yeah.

Q.  (No mic).
JOHN TORTORELLA:   To me it wasn't a light day.  It's a light time right now, but we were here early, before practice.  We made sure we got our work in as far as our tape work.  I thought we had a good practice.
But this here comes with it.  I want them to enjoy themselves.  I don't consider it a light day.  It's a different day but we certainly did what we needed to do for tomorrow.

Q.  Now that the game has been pushed back for a couple of hours‑‑
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Time change?  I think once you see what happened to the first game that was played here, I'm sure that you have to think about it.
So it doesn't change anything as far as they just move your hours up a couple as far as your game and all that, so it doesn't change anything.

Q.  How were the conditions out there?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  It wasn't bad.  It wasn't bad.  It's not going to be perfect.  They have worked very hard at it, and so both teams are going to skate on the ice.  Both teams did the same thing today with their families.  Both teams have gone through the same thing the past month.  So let's just play.

Q.  (No mic).
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I'm not sure we are going to do it up here.

Q.  (Talk about handling everything leading up to the game).
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Yeah, I think we have handled it well.  And we have had a number of distractions right from the get‑go of camp, and the guys have handled it well.
I think it's been a great experience for them.  I'm glad we have gone through it.  I'm glad we are an organization‑‑ we are honored to be involved in it.  I'm glad we were picked.  They have handled themselves very well through a lot of things, and also this.
So their focus, there won't be any problem with that at all as far as tomorrow.  They are excited about playing.  But I guess to answer your question, let's play.  It's time to play the game.

Q.  (No mic).

Q.  The Flyers have played in this game a couple years and you haven't yet.  Have you reached out to anyone to get some feedback?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  No.  We have kept our schedule, our whole way we have gone about our business has stayed the same and it will say the same tomorrow.  We go day‑to‑day as far as how we prepare and that's what we have done right on through this, we'll be doing the same thing as we get ready to play tomorrow.

Q.  Does seeing Marc out there in practice and given the way that your team is playing right now‑‑
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I told my trainer, I need a yes or a no.  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't want to speculate.  I don't want percentages.  I want a yes or a no.  When I get a yes, he'll play.  Nothing has changed.
Just because we skated outdoors doesn't change anything that's gone on the past couple of weeks with Skated.  He must feel maybe brighter because of the fresh air, I don't know, but nothing's changed.  So don't work me on it, okay.

Q.  How much has that aspect of the game, him especially, played a part in those wins, maybe even getting your guys going with that‑‑ inaudible.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Yeah, I think sometimes a situation arises as far as setting a tone, as far as a mind‑set; within the game itself, maybe the first or second period when situations arise, he has been a big part of that ever since we have gotten him.
We are trying to find him some ice time here to try to get him going more, also within the five‑on‑five play, not just that part of his role.  But he‑‑ as I've always said about Pruster, he's a really good teammate and people‑‑ he's a glue guy and people pull for him.
I think it's very important.  It's not talked about, but how your locker room is before you step on the ice is a very important aspect of trying to win games and he's a huge part of that intangible.

Q.  Can you talk about Ryan McDonagh, his role for you this season, and also his development?  He's taken on more of an offensive role than he had in the AHL or college prior to this.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Yeah, he has stepped in with our injuries and he's been put in situations that we were not expecting to put him into.  And I know in talking to him early on in camp, he wanted to bring that part to his game, develop into a complete player.  And he's done that.
He just‑‑ he has more confidence in himself, I think he's a very mature kid, playing a very tough position.  And he is‑‑ the way he's grown so quickly, basically by force, because of what's going on with our club, and the way he's handled those minutes, it's really exciting.
And I always say about Mac, he makes mistakes during the game.  Everybody does.  He makes some doozies, too.  But when he does, it doesn't affect him the next shift.  It doesn't take him two periods, two games, to get over it.  He responds right away, and that's a great trait in that position, because the mistakes are so much more magnified playing defense.
He's handled himself very well.

Q.  Someone said that Henrik Lundqvist was as comfortable in his skin as a goalie in the Rangers as they have seen right now.  Do you agree and have you seen him grow into that role in your time there?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Yeah, he keeps improving.  I saw a great improvement in him the last quarter of last year.  I think he's still getting better.  And he's just‑‑ he's such a competitor.  That's what‑‑ I think that helps the team.  It just sees how hard he competes, and he's an easy guy to pull for as a teammate.
But he feels more and more comfortable; I think he has a better understanding of what the coaching staff is looking for as far as the workload.  I think he gets that now, as far as why we are going there.  And I think it's helped him.  I think it keeps him fresher.
The thing what it does, on games, because he plays so hard and prepares so hard, if we play two or three and four nights, he can't practice the way he needs to practice to stay as sharp as he has been, because he was just playing too many games.  That's really helped him and Ben (Benoit Allaire) to have those days that they can practice full out on their technique, whatever they do, to keep his game sharp.
I think he sees that helping him.  So he's played really well.  He has been very good and he keeps on improving.

Q.  What differences do you see in these teams from when you played them earlier this year?  You're 2‑0 against them and 4‑0 going back to last year.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  I can only speak for our team.  We just go about our business.  We don't change our game plan or do anything special against Philly.  We just try to go about our business.  And again, winning games and losing games, you win a game on a big play, maybe a big save; that's what happens in our league. 
So we don't get too deep into it, and you know that, because we have always‑‑ we don't spend too much time talking about Philly.  We just worry about how we are going to play and do the things we think we need to do to compete in that game and try to find a way to win it.

Q.  (No mic).
JOHN TORTORELLA:  That's not up to me.  That's up to you guys to decide.  I really don't spend too much time thinking about Philly.  I'm just thinking about our club.

Q.  How do you keep the team from not getting too high or emotional with the crowd and the noise and all of the things that are going to go on tomorrow.
JOHN TORTORELLA:  That's going to be different for us as far as just the surroundings out here.
Again, I trust the team.  You're not going to have to worry about‑‑ sometimes you have games during the season where the coach worries, is the team going to be ready to play.  We'll be ready to play, and I trust they will be able to handle the momentum swings, and the hype of this.  I just can't get over how much type is involved in this one game.
But we haven't really discussed it much, because I think our team is maturing and it's handled those situations before.  This is a different one, and they will handle it the right way.  Mistakes are going to be made.  We'll have some bad times in the game, but I think for most of the year, we have handled ourselves well in just trying to stay with it.
I think that's very important as we enter into tomorrow's game.  No matter what's going on and no matter what happens with the ice or maybe the weather, just stay within it and we have done a pretty good job of that this year.

Q.  (No mic).
JOHN TORTORELLA:  Do I?  No, it's not for me to make a judgment on that.  I think it's great for our game, I do.  It's great for our league but as a coach, I'm thinking about one thing.  It's division opponent; it's two points, and we want to win the hockey game.  That's all we are concerned about right now.
And I think our players, after they get through tonight, we have our team meal.  I think our players will just be geared up to play this game, and the hype, that's your judgment, but I do‑‑ it's been a great experience for us.

Q.  You mentioned that you guys are looking forward to getting on the ice and playing the game.  Even though it's been a great experience, are you kind of feeling the same way about the HBO cameras?  Are you looking forward to a point where you can yell at your team and we are not all going to see it a couple of days later?
JOHN TORTORELLA:  They are great guys.  They have been really good at what they do.  I'm really‑‑ I'm really surprised how they do blend in.  But we have one more day, one more day, and then they can leave.  And they understand.  The thing that's great about them is they understand that.
You have to switch it.  They know they are intruding, but they have to do their job.  They have handled themselves just fantastic, and like we were talking‑‑ I was talking with them yesterday, these are going to be relationships that we keep, and that's what happens in those type of locker room situations and just being with us.  These are relationships we are going to keep, so that's pretty neat.

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