TORONTO — Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wants you to point the finger at him when it comes to the team’s losing ways of late.
The Canucks lost their seventh straight game after dropping a 3-1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Following the game, Tortorella owned up to the team’s recent slide and put the losses squarely on his and the coaching staff’s shoulders.
“It’s pretty obvious the coaching staff here has not done a good job teaching details of situational play,” Tortorella said. “Third period, wall play, underneath the puck – we just have not done a good enough job because our guys are just not consistent at it. It’s going to be a huge focus as we get through this break and get ready to play again.”
The Canucks went into the third period holding a 1-0 lead over the Leafs, but goals from Mason Raymond, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk put Toronto over the top.
“It’s the way it’s going but we can’t be in that situation,” Tortorella said. “We can’t let the momentum change in that third period the way it did. And that’s details. I need to take full responsibility for that. Obviously I have not taught that well enough because we continue to make the same mistakes in crucial times of the game. You guys may not see the little things that happen before goals, we do. That’s situational play and we have not been consistent enough with it.”
The Olympic break comes at an ideal time for the Canucks. Not only are they mired in a losing streak, but they’re without five regular players. Forwards Henrik Sedin and Mike Santorelli and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Christopher Tanev, and Yannick Weber.
“Mentally and physically hopefully we’ll get some bodies back also,” Tortorella said about the Olympic break. “It was a dog’s breakfast as far as the [road] trip, three in a row losing them all. We’re in a spiral so it couldn’t come for a better time mentally and getting guys back also.”
Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.
Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?