GREENBURGH, NY – John Tortorella has a message for Brandon Dubinsky: Get into camp.
The young forward, who is holding out on a contract dispute, was absent as the Rangers began training camp today and as General John held his first workout, he had some harsh words for Dubinsky.
“It’s stupid,” he said. “I am not going to get into negotiations, but it’s stupid. He’s a young man going through the process of understanding what it means to be a pro. I don’t know where the thinking is coming from but players need to think for themselves. I think his agent is stupid. I am hoping he realizes that there are teammates too.”
Dubinsky is holding out because according to the New York Post he refuses to sign general manager Glen Sather’s offer of a two-way contract worth $522,000. But because he is under a qualifier, the forward, who scored 13 goals with 28 assists last year, will eventually have little choice but to sign with the Rangers.
“I think he understands the feeling and understands how Glen feels too,” Tortorella said. “I was privy to the conversation he had with Glen the other day. He was honest and man to man and spoke to him as a friend. All different options. Whoever told him to do this at such a young age, it’s his decision and we move on.”
Speaking of Dubinsky’s teammates, they took the ice for the first time today for a 45 minute conditioning test. Basically they skated around the ice so Tortorella could test their stamina. Some did well, but others, like Donald Brashear, heard it from the coach as they took their laps.
“I saw some good stuff as you always do when you go through a lot of bodies like this,” Tortorella said. “I saw some disappointments. I am not going to name names, but there are disappointments. It’s the first day. It’s a hard test and it gives us an indication on what they did this summer.”
A bad first day doesn’t mean banishment. Tortorella may be harsh, but not that harsh. He will be looking to see if the Rangers are ready to compete as they get ready for the first preseason game on Tuesday against the Bruins at the Garden.
“It an accumulation,” Tortorella said. “You don’t put a black mark on a guy because it was a struggle today. If the same thing in our minds crops up in a week where he didn’t do his conditioning…some guys may have been nervous today and they froze up a little bit. It is not to make a quick judgment on these guys, you how you go through camp and make a judgment on these guys.
“We don’t want to knee jerk here, both the positive and negative. This is the process we go through. I want to see how they go through the camp as individuals and make our determination.”
Notes: Marian Gaborik was held out of the skate today because Tortorella said he wanted to take a precaution with his injured hip. “We just wanted to be careful,” he said. “He did a lot of testing and we just wanted to be careful about. He was skating the other day and he was a little sore from that. We wanted to try to mange that.”
Dan LaCouture, who was a Rangers from 2002-2004 was in camp on a conditional tryout. He called Sather yesterday looking for a team after a deal in Russia fell through. The left wing drove down last night and is in camp with little expectations. “I am just happy to be here and looking for a job. I have no exceptions right now,” he said. Last year the Rangers did something similar with Petr Nedved.