Add Brandon Dubinsky to the list of New York Rangers players who seemed to have a falling out with John Tortorella toward the end of his reign as head coach of that team.
The 27-year-old told the Bergen Record on Thursday that he wasn’t particularly surprised when he heard that Torts was fired.
“Not really,” Dubinsky said. “I think my relationship with Torts fell apart the last year I was there and I just felt like his relationships with some of the other players could be doing the same thing so I guess that sums it up as to why I wasn’t completely surprised that it happened.”
One can rattle off a growing number of players who seemed to develop estranged relationships with Tortorella: former favorite Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, now Dubinsky and possibly others.
Maybe burnout is almost inevitable with a hard-charging coach?
Regardless, Dubinsky said that facing his former team loses its luster since he’s been with Columbus for a while now. He admits that the trade hurt, as he was part of the young group helped the team grow into a contender, compared to the drive to trade for Rick Nash as the urge to grab a “new toy.”
” … I didn’t understand it quite that they would want to bring in as many new guys after a successful season and a successful playoff run. But sometimes that’s just how New York is, they like the flash and they want the dash and they want a new toy, I guess,” Dubinsky said. “And that’s no disrespect to the organization because they were so great to me. But, like I said, that was the hardest part. But when you get traded for a guy like Nash, he’s one of the elite players in the league, you can’t lose sight of that, he’s one of the best players in the NHL so I understand you have to give up some assets. I feel like they wouldn’t have just given me away for nothing.”
Dubinsky and plenty of former Rangers are mere minutes away from facing former teammates on Thursday.
Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.
— Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
— Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.
— Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen