by Patrick Hoffman on 12/26/10 at 11:00 PM ET
While New York Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto has recovered from the flu, it appears that team head coach John Tortorella will scratch the defenseman for the team’s game tomorrow night against the New York Islanders.
Del Zotto has clearly struggled this season. He gives up the puck way too much, has not contributed as much offensively as he did last season and also does not seem as confident as he used to. Unfortunately, this has cost the Blueshirts in various games throughout the season.
As such, it is apparent that Tortorella is trying to send the youngster a message. Andrew Gross reported as much from the team head coach in his blog earlier today:
Tortorella said this shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing regarding Del Zotto, noting he’s still a 20-year-old defensemen who needs to go through the “process” of learning how to be a rock-steady NHL defensemen. But Tortorella did admit that, last season, had the team been carrying seven defensemen instead of the bare-bones six, he likely would have scratched Del Zotto at times during the second half of the season.
“He should get a message just being out,” Tortorella said. “He’s healthy and this is a coach’s decision. He’s been inconsistent. Michael will have to wait his turn.”
This is not the first time Del Zotto has been scratched this season. It is a real telling sign that Tortorella is sitting him yet again.
Hopefully this time, Del Zotto will get the message loud and clear.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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