John Tortorella was fuming after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to St. Louis, calling out his “top guys” for not giving enough -- but stopping short of naming names.
On Monday, he let his actions do the talking.
Brandon Saad, who got beat by Vladimir Tarasenko for the OT winner on the weekend, has been moved to the fourth line, per the Dispatch.
First, the Tarasenko goal:
Saad, you’ll recall, was slow getting back in overtime on Oct. 26 in Los Angeles, when Alec Martinez -- Saad’s guy -- scored on a rebound putback to give the Kings a 3-2 win.
“You have to play all areas of the ice all the time,” Tortorella said. “For a number of guys -- not just Saader, but for a number of our guys -- that’s a continuing process of learning.
“The games are so tight. The swing in momentum is based upon maybe a little bit of lazy play mentally, maybe a little bit of lazy play physically, and it turns the tide so quickly in our game.”
Dropping Saad in this fashion is a fairly large statement, because the 24-year-old has been one of the club’s most productive forwards this season.
He has three goals and eight points through 10 games -- third among forwards in scoring -- and his production has come entirely at even strength (he’s also fired plenty of shots on goal, with 26.)
Saad’s demotion comes roughly two weeks after Tortorella did the same thing with Boone Jenner. Jenner got dropped for a 3-2 win over Chicago back on Oct. 21, but found himself back in the top-six forward group a couple games later.