Glen Sather

Apparently Glen Sather and Mike Gillis don’t see the game evolving the same way


Back in May, almost immediately after John Tortorella was fired as head coach in New York, it was reported that “multiple players” — including some “top guys” — had pushed for his ousting.

At the time, it seemed to be the classic case of a bench boss whose brash personality had worn out its welcome with his troops.

“Every coach has a shelf life,” is all Rangers general manager Glen Sather would say, refusing to go into specific details.

But today, Sather gave the Daily News a more thorough explanation, and it had more to do with X’s and O’s than Tortorella’s disposition.

“If you look at these playoff games (like the Stanley Cup Finals matchup) you’re gonna see tonight, the style that they play, I mean there’s not a hell of a lot of dump-ins,” Sather said. “I mean, (if) you have to dump the puck in, you have to dump it. But there’s a lot of puck control and hanging onto the puck and moving the puck out, and there’s not stopping behind the net to gain control. There’s a lot of things that are done differently than what we were doing. So you have to look at the style of play. That had a lot to do with (the decision to fire Tortorella), too.”

Sather added: “He’s a good coach. (But) I think the game has changed.”

Obviously, that’s interesting from a Rangers’ perspective.

But it’s also interesting from a Vancouver Canucks’ perspective, since Tortorella is reportedly one of the final candidates to replace Alain Vigneault, who will be introduced as the new head coach of the Rangers on Friday.

Because here’s what Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said when he fired Vigneault last month: “I think that the NHL is changing and evolving rapidly and we’re going to listen and talk to the people we think are legitimate candidates and we’ll make our decision based on that interview process.”

In fact, a couple of weeks earlier, after the Canucks had been swept out of the first round by the Sharks, Gillis had suggested the NHL was trending towards dump-and-chase hockey, not away from it, as Sather seemed to suggest today.

“Clearly the landscape has changed and we have to address those changes,” Gillis said. “We have to recognize and evolve with it.”

So perhaps it makes perfect sense after all that Vigneault and Tortorella could end up swapping benches for next season.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.