Posted by admin | Posted in washington capitals | Posted on 03-05-2012-05-2008
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Rangers coach John Tortorella wasn’t sending a message to center Derek Stepan. Coaches don’t send messages in the playoffs.
"It’s about putting people on the ice that you think are going to help you win that particular game," Tortorella said Sunday.
Stepan’s play in Games 1 and 2 against Ottawa wasn’t bad enough to warrant a complete benching, but it wasn’t good enough to convince Tortorella to keep him in the top-six. Tortorella demoted Stepan to the fourth line in both Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
"I wasn’t performing and there were other guys playing better," Stepan told NHL.com.
Even if it wasn’t a message, Stepan took note of where he was in the lineup, and where he was headed if he continued to underperform. the next step was the press box, or worse, the offseason.
Stepan wasn’t about to be embarrassed by either. he responded, and over the past four games Stepan has arguably been the Rangers best forward, even with the emergence of college sensation Chris Kreider.