It might be the league’s worst kept secret, but it appears John Tortorella is set to become the next head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Hotstove last night that Tortorella would be announced sometime this week he’ll be the new Canucks coach.
Friedman also said the Canucks and GM Mike Gillis have done their due diligence in making sure he’s the right fit.
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman, who worked with Tortorella in Phoenix, was consulted as were former Rangers players Markus Naslund and Chris Higgins. The Canucks’ window for winning a Stanley Cup with this lineup is closing soon and, as Friedman notes, the feeling is that Tortorella will be the guy that will help make Vancouver’s dreams come true rather than someone like L.A. Kings assistant John Stevens.
Related: Report: Canucks offer head-coaching job to Tortorella
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Johnny Boychuk can stop holding his breath.
TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie both report this morning that the Bruins defenseman will not see further discipline for his hit on Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.
Midway through the second period, Boychuk caught Toews cutting across the middle of the attack zone with a hard hit up high. The hit appeared to initially catch Toews in his shoulder and ride up into his head. Toews sat on the bench for most of the third period but did not play following the hit leading many to believe he suffered a head injury.
As it is, Toews is listed as having an upper body injury and coach Joel Quenneville is hopeful he’ll play in Monday’s Game 6.
There’s good news for the Bruins this morning.
The team announced forward Patrice Bergeron was released from a Chicago hospital last night and will be flying home with the team back to Boston today.
Bergeron left last night’s game against Chicago with an unknown injury and was taken to a hospital for observation. Coach Claude Julien last night said he was hopeful everything was fine with him and that he’d be able to play in Game 6 on Monday.
As for what his injury is, good luck figuring that out because the Bruins aren’t talking. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos mentioned it could be his spleen, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie said no one has accurately reported what is wrong.
Carl Soderberg played in his first playoff game last night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. You’d think for a player who was new to the NHL he might be a bit overwhelmed. You’d be wrong though.
Soderberg took a very grounded approach when asked what it was like to play last night.
“It’s just hockey and I know that game,” he said. “I felt comfortable before the game too.”
For what it’s worth, coach Claude Julien liked what he saw from the Swedish rookie.
“He showed me enough to be able to move into (Bergeron’s) spot,” he said. “I thought he played well, and although there wasn’t maybe the chemistry that you see with that line usually because it’s his first time, certainly not disappointed in the way he played tonight.”
With Patrice Bergeron’s status up in the air for Game 6 on Monday, perhaps Soderberg gets another chance to show what he’s got.
Corey Crawford could be letting the talk about his apparent tough play get him down. Instead, he’s taking it all in stride with a good sense of humor.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty hears from Crawford about the questions about his glove hand in this series, especially after some questionable goals allowed in the Blackhawks’ Game 4 victory, and shrugs it off dutifully.
“Last series they were talking about my blocker side,” said Crawford. “Both sides are bad, I guess.”
Crawford is rolling with a .920 save percentage in this series. During the regular season that might not be too bad, but in the playoffs when every save is critical it’s a bit lacking.
Overall in the playoffs, Crawford is stopping pucks at a .931 percentage which is second only to Tuukka Rask’s .941. Considering both goalies had their issues stopping pucks in Game 4, you wonder what Rask would have to say about his game being questioned. Hint: It would probably be unprintable.
Related: ‘Hawks to stick with Crawford in Game 5, water still wet