New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella told the media to kiss his ass if they had anything to say about his benching of Brad Richards and it appears he liked the treatment. According to Katie Strang, the Rangers are expected to bench Richards again for Saturday’s crucial Game 5 in Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins.
#NYR Richards, Stralman, Staal, Clowe, and Powe all not practicing. Imagine that lineup stays same for Game 5
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) May 24, 2013
Before Game 4 on Thursday, Tortorella benched his star 4th liner after he mustered just one point in the last ten games and was dragging the Rangers down on the power play. The move seems to have paid off in the short run as New York not only won Game 4 to stay alive, they scored on the power play as well. But Torts wasn’t about to call Richards out in the media, saying he loved his player and thought he was “one helluva hockey player”.
Richards has been a $60 million bust so far for the Rangers but Torts is refusing to directly say that after benching him. Richards may be one helluva hockey player in Torts’ mind but that’s not good enough to start in the playoffs. As long as the strategy works, Torts will look like a genius and he’ll continue to try and kiss up to Richards in the process.
But in all actuality, the Rangers chances in Game 5 rely on a lot more than Richards being or not being on the ice and the team needs to continue to channel whatever got into them in Game 4 if they plan on seeing a sixth game in this series.