John Tortorella, Steve Kozari, Vaughan Rody

Torts staying positive despite another tough Canucks loss


We wrote yesterday that the Vancouver Canucks could use a win against the Los Angeles Kings. Well, in case you missed it, they didn’t get it. They lost in overtime, 3-2, after holding a 2-1 lead late in the third period.

Two defensive breakdowns…

…meant the Canucks finished their six-game home stand with just one victory. Now they face a four-game road trip to visit the Senators, Rangers, Hurricanes, and Predators. And they head off on that trip in ninth place in the Western Conference, three points back of a playoff spot.

Yet despite another negative result, Canucks coach John Tortorella said he liked what he saw from his club.

“I’m very excited about some of things that happened,” he said, per the Vancouver Sun. “You may call me crazy, but I am. We just have to keep banging away … and keep working at this.”

One of those “things that happened” was this:

That melee was largely in response to an earlier hit by the Kings’ Jordan Nolan on Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.

You may recall earlier this month when Tortorella said this: “If someone goes after the Sedins, other people have to step in. That’s part of the game.”

Looks like that message got through.

A couple of other things Torts could’ve been “very excited about” last night:

— The Canucks outshot the Kings, 39-22, and drew eight penalties.

— Recent healthy scratch David Booth finished with five shots and a couple of great scoring chances. (No, he didn’t finish any of them, but hey, it’s progress.)

The challenge for Tortorella will be keeping the Canucks positive and helping them maintain their belief in his system. Last night might’ve been the toughest loss of the season for Vancouver, and that’s saying something.

“I’m going to support them and we’ll get through this,” said Tortorella.

“We just need to take it one game at a time and, come March, we’ll see where we’re at.”

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?