Canucks GM lauds Torts for calm, quiet approach… wait, what?


The John Tortorella era in Vancouver hasn’t been entirely without confrontation. There was that time last month when he threatened to “walk” if cellphones went off during his press conferences. And he got in a bit of a yelling match with the Edmonton bench earlier this month.

But besides a few isolated incidents, the famously volatile head coach has actually been pretty measured in his approach.

“He’s got a good sense of humour about it all and is just a lot quieter and calm,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said, per The Province. “He’s a very good coach and doing things behind the bench through the course of a game to change momentum — and to keep momentum.

“For me, from the time we hired John, it’s been an invigorating exercise with a fresh approach in how the game is thought about. It was a difficult transition to go through, but it’s also one that I’ve enjoyed after the fact. I really like the way he’s handling the team.”

Torts has certainly had opportunity to fly off the handle. But, for example, a 4-1 home loss to Montreal on Oct. 12, complete with a third-period no-show from his troops, was met with a simple, “We didn’t play a good third period.”

Of course, that’s only what he told reporters. His message may have been a little different when he spoke to his players in private.

At any rate, it’s still early. The real test for Tortorella’s composure will be if the Canucks (5-4-1) are out of a playoff position later in the season. And if that doesn’t happen, the test will certainly come in the playoffs.

Vancouver plays the Islanders tonight in Uniondale before finishing its seven-game trip with games Thursday in New Jersey and Friday in St. Louis.

Related: Tortorella wants better working relationship with media

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?