Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis (26) looks up during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Trevor Hagan)

PHT Morning Skate: Tortorella thrilled for Martin St. Louis

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is thrilled that Team Canada picked Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis as Steven Stamkos’ replacement. Tortorella coached St. Louis for parts of seven seasons before the Lightning parted ways with the bench boss. (Canada.com)

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Martin Brodeur said that it’s “not a big deal” that he won’t be going to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he admitted to some nostalgia as the games draw near. Meanwhile, he’s waiting to find out if he’ll go a month between starts. (The Bergen Record)

Although it’s not entirely in their control, the Chicago Blackhawks’ goal is to enter the Olympic break with the best record in the Western Conference. (CSN Chicago)

The Nashville Predators are just 1-7 in shootouts this season and that might end up being what costs them a postseason berth. (The Tennessean)

The Edmonton Oilers experimented with moving Nail Yakupov to the team’s top line on Thursday and the initial results were good. (Edmonton Sun)

Max Pacioretty had a hat trick on Thursday, but he said he would’ve been kicking himself if Montreal ended up losing because he also failed on two penalty shots. (Montreal Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been very happy with Deryk Engelland’s recent play, which is why they’ve made efforts to keep him in the lineup, even if it means using the defenseman as a forward. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Tortorella: ‘We need to change this hockey team’


It’s not Eddie Lack’s fault that the Vancouver Canucks dropped their fourth game in a row (and five of their last six) via a 2-0 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, but he was frustrated nonetheless.

“We can’t buy a win right now,” Lack said. “I’m trying to do my job and keep us in every game. It’s tough.”

Head coach John Tortorella praised Lack and David Booth after the defeat, but aside from that, he was as glum about his team on Monday night as he was earlier in the day.

“We need to change this hockey team,” Tortorella said. “We were a slow team. Lack of offence. This really worries me.”

Does that mean Torts might want changes that extend beyond acquiring Raphael Diaz? That remains to be seen, but Vancouver needs to find some way out of this funk or a playoff berth could slip through their fingers.

Tortorella returns, says Canucks are ‘off the rails’


Canucks head coach John Tortorella will return from his 15-day suspension to take on Detroit tonight and, to hear him explain it, he’s returning to a team that’s lost its way.

“We’re off the rails on a lot of different aspects,” Tortorella said of his team, which went 2-4-0 in his absence. “Every aspect of our game is off. This team can and will play the right way.”

Tortorella, who’s been away from the team since going after Calgary coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18, was apologetic on Monday, saying he “embarrassed” his family and the organization, adding his suspension came at a time then the Canucks probably needed him most.

“I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the league. It hasn’t been a great two weeks,” he said. “I didn’t help matters for this team and we’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back.”

The Canucks won just once in regulation during Tortorella’s absence — a 2-1 victory in Edmonton — and also beat Phoenix in OT. But his time away was largely marked by defeats (to Nashville, Edmonton, Chicago and Winnipeg) and an inability to score goals. Vancouver had just 15 over the six games, five coming in one outing against the Coyotes.

Tortorella says there are many things for his players to deal with, and they’ll start with what’s between their ears.

“We had meetings this morning, we have a long list of things we need to improve at,” he said. “We need to start over on the mental side.”