The words of Rangers coach John Tortorella were hardly veiled, as on his team’s breakup day yesterday he made a strong push to keep unrestricted free agent Ryane Clowe wearing the Blueshirt.

“I can’t talk about the contracts, I just think I’d be stepping out of bounds, but as far as Ryane Clowe, he’s the type of player you need in the playoffs,” Tortorella said just two days after his team lost in five games to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Clowe missed all but two playoff games with two supposed concussions.

“He’s experienced, he’s a big body, he’s good on the boards, he can score goals,” Tortorella said. “There’s no question that he would have made a difference in that series. I’m not sure if we would have beat [the Bruins], if Marc [Staal] and Clowey are in there. I’m not going to say that. But he would have helped.”

Clowe, 30, would not specifically disclose the nature of his injuries, and said he didn’t think he came back too early from his first absence. He made $3.625 million this season, and with the salary cap lowering from $70.2 million to $64.3 million, it’s questionable what he might demand on the open market.

“I’m not exactly sure what a pay cut would be, but I’m open to negotiating to find a way to stay here,” Clowe said. “I enjoyed it here. You start to build a little bit of a bond with the team and the guys.

“Everyone wants to win in New York. It’d be great.”

* Staal said the problem with his injured right eye was a partial tear that would not allow the eye to regulate.

“It’s probably not going to be 100 percent, but that’s not to say it isn’t going to get a lot better,” Staal said. “My belief is once everything settles down and I get comfortable with it, I’ll never have to be asked about it again. It won’t be an issue.”

* The Rangers’ three restricted-free-agent forwards all declared their desire to return.