One area where the Rangers have stood out ever since John Tortorella took over as head coach is conditioning. Quite simply, Torts demands that his players be in peak condition right from the start of training camp---and they need to be in order to play the team's preferred up-tempo, in-your-face, grinding style of hockey over the course of a long season.
Torts has started every camp with two days of extremely rigorous fitness testing before pucks and drills are even introduced into the equation on Day Three. The players know exactly what is expected of them and they prepare accordingly during the summer, peaking pysically in time for the start of training camp.
This year, though, no one knew when camp would begin, so the question is whether or not the players will be in that top-notch physical condition the coach demands.
Several Rangers---most notably Rick Nash---played in Europe during the work stoppage, while a healthy contingent of Blueshirts remained in the New York area, renting ice to stay in shape. By the looks of things from their informal group workouts this past week, the players seem to have kept themselves in excellent physical condition. But is it "Torts Condition"? That remains to be seen. And we will begin to find out those answers pretty quickly once camp officially opens up---though the true answers may not come until games are actually played.
As Tortorella pointed out, "We can't expect to give the players the normal three weeks of camp conditioning in one week. We have to be careful about that."
Are you at all concerned that the layoff may have significantly hurt the Rangers ability to be in peak condition and to be able to play their hard-charging style once the season opens up? Post your comments below.