From my perspective, the relationship between head coach John Tortorella and Michael Del Zotto is that of a father and son. The son (Del Zotto) is trying so hard to impress and get the recognition from his father (Tortorella), but the dad still won’t give in, and believes tough love is the answer.
Yesterday at the opening of Rangers’ training camp, Tortorella said he is very anxious to see the progress that Del Zotto, 21, has made this offseason as he tries to re-claim a top-six spot on the Rangers’ defense.
“It looks like he is in really good shape,” Tortorella said of Del Zotto. “We want him to have his swagger (back), but it also needs to be the proper swagger. I think he’s going to have a really good camp. I think he’s starting to understand what we expect, and learning how to be a pro, both on and off the ice. It’s important to learn how to handle success, and how to handle when you are not playing that well. And that is maturation, it takes time. I am really anxious to see how he goes about his business in camp here.”
I think deep-down, Tortorella really likes Del Zotto. Of course he had a tough year, but I think that tough year was because of such a great rookie season. Anyone would go into camp the following year with a cockiness to them, and it came back to bite Del Zotto.
I agree with Tortorella in that I believe Del Zotto will have a strong camp and I think really make it difficult to send him down to the AHL at the start of camp. I personally would not mind carrying seven defenseman and having both Del Zotto and Tim Erixon on the third pair, with Steve Eminger jumping in every couple of games to keep the two honest.
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