The Capitals won 46 of 66 faceoffs (70 percent) in their Game 1 loss to the Rangers and Rangers coach John Tortorella today questioned the validity of some of those draw wins.
"We were terrible," Tortorella said. "They're a good faceoff team with (Sergei) Federov (14 of 20) and (Nicklas) Backstrom (13 of 18). My biggest concer is, I just want to make sure the faceoffs are legal. The tape I watched, I just hope the faceoffs are legal. The tying up and kicking can't be done until the puck hits the ice and a number of them I don't think were. That's something we have a concern of."
Toward that end, the four Rangers centers - Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky and Blair Betts - worked with Tortorella and assistant Jerry Dineen (actually the team's video coach but an occasional on-ice presence as well under Tortorella) on faceoff technique. Gomez, in particular, was demonstrating a move in which he blocked the opposing center with his shoulder, shifting his left leg into the dot and pulling back on the puck.
"We've got to be better," Dubinsky said. "We know that and I'll leave it at that."
Tortorella, no doubt, has let the Rangers know of his displeasure with the faceoff officiating. This could be an actual gripe, coaching gamesmanship, or a combination of the two.
By Corey Masisak, TWT, Apr. 17, 2009:
There was more banter about the officiating from Game 1 by both coaches today (clearly having an extra day for gamesmanship is a plus for the media). When asked about what John Tortorella said yesterday (quick recap: Dan Girardi's penalty "brutal", no call on Mike Green drilling Fredrik Sjostrom bad), Bruce Boudreau had this to say:
“[The Rangers] should have had 12 or 13 penalties instead of the seven they had," Boudreau said. “In my humble opinion, the Mike Green thing was a penalty [when Sean Avery collided with him, not the Sjostrom non-call]. They scored their second goal when they slashed [Shaone] Morrisonn's stick and broke it. It’s tough for referees to get them all, but I definitely think they got the benefit of it.”
Totorella had his own brand of ref-tweaking. The first question of his press conference was about the face-offs, which were 70 percent in favor of the Caps in Game 1.
“We were terrible, but they are a good face-off team with [Sergei] Fedorov and [Nicklas] Backstrom,” Tortorella said. “I guess my biggest concern is I just want to make sure the face-offs are legal. From the tape I watched, I just hope the face-offs are legal. The tying up and kicking can’t be done until the puck hits the ice, and a number of them I don’t think were, so that is something of a concern.”
Expect plenty more of this type of banter from these two coachs as this series progresses.
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