Tortorella, Vigneault admit it’s strange to face former teams


Alain Vigneault coached the Vancouver Canucks for seven seasons while John Tortorella was the New York Rangers’ bench boss for five, so Thursday’s upcoming preseason game must be weird for both of them. They spoke about as much with the Bergen Record earlier today.

“It is strange,” Vigneault said. “Strange is a word I can use right now. Coming in this morning and saying hi to the staff that worked with me for a long time, it was special.”

Tortorella’s experience probably wasn’t as emotional since the game isn’t in Madison Square Garden. Still, he noted that he didn’t really want to leave the Rangers in the first place.

“I said right along, I loved working there,” Tortorella said. “Did I want to leave? No. I was told to leave and I left. It’s part of the game and I’m knee-deep in it here trying to get this team ready to play.”

As far as regular season meetings go, the Canucks go back to MSG on Nov. 30 while Vancouver hosts the Rangers on April Fool’s Day, 2014.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
Leave a comment

As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
Leave a comment

Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.