A Torturella Story, Glen Healey Gone MAD? More Hockey Talk..

It’s a Torturella story down in Tampa Bay….is John Tortarella becoming a Mike Keenan wannabe?

As I was browsing the NHL Center Ice channels, I gladly stopped at the Devils and Penguins intermission, and is it me….or was Glen Healey about to bash US President George W. Bush and the US?

This whole Todd Bertuzzi story is starting to seriously get on my nerves, as I saw Steve Simmons saying….YES…..BLAME CANADA!

Post thoughts on some deadline deals, another Rangers face lift, and some thoughts on the playoffs.

In my honest opinion, I have already chosen the Vezina winner.

And….find out if there is actually an off-topic rant.

Now, down to business.

John Torturella



Yes, that is what I like to call the man, I personally cannot stand his attitude, like I cannot stand Mike Keenan’s attitude.

So, the Lightning badly lost to the Islanders and yes….Nikolai Khabibulin did not play a good game. But, tell me a goaltender that does not face that more than once in a season?

Sure, coaches sometimes should mention names during press conference, but when you’re the top team in the Eastern Conference, and you have a group of young veterans and experienced veterans becoming a team, a whole, there is really no need to rudely trash the goaltender that has committed to join the build of the Tampa Bay Lightning and helped them to make the playoffs last season.

From the St. Pete’s Times, here are some pieces from the article:

“was awful to allow them back in (the game),” and pointed the finger at goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, now 5-9 vs. the Isles.

Tortorella also called the play of Khabibulin and John Grahame, who was in goal for Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Carolina, “a major concern of mine going into the playoffs.”

“It’s below the circle. We need a save,” he said. “If Nikolai Khabibulin can’t make that save at that point in time from where that shot was taken, we’re in trouble. If you can’t get a save like that come playoff time, we’re in trouble.”

Ok, does John Tortarella really think so highly of himself now? Let me tell you something, coaches that have this kind of attitude will have a short success. Johnny Torturella is a typical Mike Keenan wannabe, except he does not have a Stanley Cup ring, yet.

So….for that one game, Coach JT makes a big deal about it and if that is the right thing to do…then shouldn’t Coach Ken Hitchcock (Cup ring), be trashing Esche, especially after tonight’s loss to the Maple Leafs?

I mean, come on. You’re going into the playoffs….you’re a top team, why risk your goalies losing confidence? I say cool it down John Tortarella….you are being way too cocky and don’t start pointing fingers, as you have been doing since coaching, when you’ll lose in the playoffs. If you do, you’re a coach with horrible communication skills and not part of a team.

Healey

Was it me, or did Glen Healey actually started a sentence against Geroge W. Bush during an intermission of a hockey game? Apparently, he stopped, and good idea for him that he did. It was at the end of the Blame Canada for the Bertuzzi incident segment of the TSN intermission show.

Speaking of which, who is the brain damage person who actually blames Canada for that incident? Don Cherrey gets problems for calling Europeans and Frenc-Canadians wimps, but no one gets anything for blaming Canada as a bully violent country responsible for such acts in the game of hockey?

HELLO!? Where were these guys in the 1970’s where sticks were actually used as weapons!? Anyone who even tries to make such an arguement should be completely ignored after forgving him/her for stupidity. And, by the way, I have done that once already! Sherry Ross of the New York Daily News has written poor thought-out articles earlier this month, claiming that GM Glen Sather will made horrible deals for the rebuild as he has traded away Wayne Gretzky for squatto more than a decade ago. Talk about a biased loser journalist, eh? And, she even showed her pathetic humor by laughing at the idea that Paul Martin, the young Devils defenseman, has the same name as Canada’s Prime Minister, Paul Martin. Again, it’s mind boggling for me to see these journalists getting paid for writing idiotic articles, where fans can write better ones.

Bottom line

Let it go. That’s it. Let…..it…..go. Todd Bertuzzi did a terrible thing. There is nothing to do in order to change it, it forced the NHL to show more strictness towards such acts, and none will be tolerated. Bertuzzi faced his punishment. What more needs to be said? That’s what happened, those are the results, PERIOD!

Shame on journalists making such a big deal about this when you got US basketball stars making huge scandals and creating a disrespectful low class atmosphere in the sport of basketball. Football players being brought to court for drug use or other crimes. Baseball players that SHOULD-BE-BANNED for using steroids.

Those are crimes that effect society outside sports. This incident was internal, no crime was committed. Let it go, this is, by far, nothing compared to what other sports athletes have done. So, my suggestion to dorky glasses Steve Simmons, SHUT UP!

Post thoughts on trades

Well, it turns out that basically all the Rangers firesale players have been playing very well for the Canadian teams, except one….Colorado. Rucinsky is playing pretty well for the Canucks. Petr Nedved is doing great for the Oilers. Barnaby is a great addition for the Avs. de Vries hanging in there alright with the Sens. And, Kovalev is starting to do quite well with the Habs. Oh, and of course. How can I forget dear Brian Leetch. The guy is the most lethal defenseman in the league right now. Guess what the other seven head coaches will say once the playoffs begin….

STAY OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX!

As I mentioned when it happened, the Florida Panthers made a HUGE mistake trading Marcus Nilson, who, just as I said, is thriving under coach Sutter for the Flames. This guy will be a great all-roun dplayoff performer for the Flames.

Does it come to anyone’s surprise that Sergei Gonchar is not doing the samething in Boston as he did in Washington?

How about the Sharks making the trade of bringing in Curtis Brown. Watch out Western Conference, the Sharks have migrated back to the playoff seas.

Is it possible that the New York Islanders will fall out of the playoffs? YES! Somehow, Yashin comes back and the Isle’s look flat. Their goaltending has been mediocre, again, and it looks like they will be, probably, the easiest team to beat in the playoffs…..IF they make it. Karpotsev a good addition? Was he even needed!?

Rangers get ANOTHER face lift

Well, it’s a New York kind of life and face lifts are common. This time, though, the face lift is an actual one, makes the team look younger, and it is.

As of now, the youngster that stands out the most, from all the 8 acquisitions, is Josef Balej. The guy is flashy, extremely fast, has a wicked shot, great crisp passing, and should turn out to be a solid fit for the Big Apple. Scored his first NHL goal, facing elite goaltender Martin Brodeur and undressing him with a wide deke.

Karel Rachunek has also been a great addition, as he looks steady. And, this is what the hi-lite is. DEFENSEMEN. The best young defenseman the Rangers have is Fedor Tytuin. The guy, lately, has shown the potential of being a threat on the offense. Only 20 years old, still has more time to fill out his already-good-size-frame, which is already physical. Fedor Tytuin’s first NHL goal was on a 5-3 Penalty Kill (for the Rangers) against the Florida Panthers. He rushed up the ice, picked up the puck….waited and showed patience and poise for Roberto Luongo to go down and had a precise shot. His second goal, against Olaf Kolzig was a gutsy play where he stood in front of the net.

Offensive-defensemen, young or veterans, don’t do that, rarely if so. This youngster has the guts to do it, has a great shot, and is a top defenseman for the Rangers future. Add to that group 24-year-old Karel Rachunek, 26-year-old Tom Poti, 21-year-old Bryce Lampman, and veteran defenseman Darius Kasparaitis and you have a very solid young core of defensemen. This is exactly what the Rangers defense needs.

Rangers are young, probably will sign R.J Umberger (currently on a try-out contract), who is hungry to make the NHL and mentioned Jagr as one of his idols, and what needs to be addressed is a coach. That will be a topic discussed in a later article. Good job by Glen Sather and his scouting staff. Let’s hope that owner Jim Dolan will stay out of the way and not demand marquee names as he has done for the past 7 years.

Playoffs

The Big Eastern playoff teams are: Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, and the New York Islanders/Buffalo Sabres.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are always a tough playoff team to beat, and with the new additions of Joe Nieuwendyk, Ronnie Francis, Brian Leetch, and Ken Klee, the Leafs should be the most feared playoff team in the East. They have great goaltending in Eddie Belfour, an offense that is very lethal, and the right physical aspects of the game. These guys should make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, this is their year.

The Ottawa Senators trust Patrick Lalime, or do they? I don’t, I never did. But, I do wish the guy the best of luck. Goaltending is not the primary worry for the young Sens, leadership is. Losing to the Devils last year gave me the feeling that the Senators did not have that right sense of leadership where the players face a loss and then turn things around with a win. Admit it, the Senators should have beaten the Devils last year. This year, they will be the 2nd most lethal playoff team, but is it the right momen to re-sign Daniel Alfredsson RIGHT NOW? Greg de Vries was a great addition for the Senators. He adds grit and veteran Cup winning experience to the squad. Still, the Senators look like Achilles to me, if their weak point is hit, they will lose it all.

How about the team from the Sunshine State. Hey, the Florida Marlins won a championship, last year the Bucaneers won a championship, why not with the Lightning this year? Because of inexperience and no performer a la Andrew Raycroft or last year’s J-S Giguere. The Bolts have the right tools, but they can always falter. Leadership is a question mark and having a discouraging coach does not help either. They are just like a flipped coin in slow motion. One side is success, the other side is failure. They decide which side faces upwards.

The Flyers goaltending can become ONCE AGAIN a major problem. I like the tandem, but there is no guarantee. Injuries have weakened this team, no doubt about that, but they can still win and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. They have the size, physical strength, scoring power, defense, coaching, and special teams. Still, goaltending will decide their fate in the playoffs.

The Devils are the next most lethal team. I think they will get squashed in the playoffs. By that, I do not mean a loss in a sweep or beaten in five or 6 games. I simply think that the Devils will not get anywhere. However, that is my oipinion, but the facts are on paper. Brodeur is there, Neidermemyer is there, Elias is coming alive, as well as Gomez, and they have the ability to beat any other team. Do not under-estimate the Devils, as most people have done, and I am too. They are still a Cup defending team, no matter what you say that is a fact. Still, depending on who they face in the 1st round, I think they will see a 1st round exit, especially with Brodeur not playing consistent Brodeur hockey.

The Montreal Canadiens! Fear the French-Canadians, me says. Theodore in net, they got depth, they got scoring, smarts, speed, and they can simply pull an upset, as they did to the Boston Bruins a couple of years ago.

Yes, the Boston Bruins are playing great hockey in the reg-season, but I am talking about playoffs here and how many times do reg-season numbers matter in the playoffs? Come on, you know the answer to that. Great 1st line, and yes, they have more scoring depth, especially with Gonchar, but the key here is Andrew Raycroft. Can he pull it off in the playoffs? We shall see, but they are definitely a team that can be eliminated by the Leafs, Devs, Flyers, Sens, Canadiens, and Lightning.

The New York Islanders will be the worst team making the playoffs. They are not on a hot-streak, they look inconsistent and mediocre at best, and there are question marks on offense, defense, and especially goaltending! Rule #1 to Rick DiPietro, do NOT play the puck behind the net! Kidding aside though, the Isle’s just do not look like a playoff team this year. Peca has been an unheard captain as well. They don’t seem ready at all. A team that loses to the Rangers six times in a row this season, beaten in every aspect of the game, is not a serious playoff team. That is why I would not be surprised to see the Sabres jump over the Islanders (Sabres just 4 points behind).

The Sabres on the other hand, are also a weak playoff team, but they have the goaltending, the offense and the right attitude. Sabres schedule is also not too hard to handle, here are their remaining opponents:

Panthers, Canadiens, Penguins, Penguins, Blue Jacks, Rangers, Leafs, Canadiens.

Watch out for Jochen Hecht, he’s been one of the hottest players in the NHL recently.

The Islanders remaining games (luckily none against the Rangers):

Wild, Bolts, Capitals, Flyers, Hurricanes, Devils, Canadiens, Hurricanes, Flyers.

The Sabres should be able to come out with about 8 to 11 points. The Islanders should come out with 6 to 9 points. So, it’s a wild race, but a great one to watch. If the Sabres do not make the playoffs, here is the reason:

Losing twice to the Islanders last month.

THE VEZINA TROPHY GOES TO………………..

……Roberto LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLUONNNNNNGOOOOOOO.

Abso(bleep)lutely! Come on, I know he does not have a .500 records but what goalie is capable of facing 2,231 shots against, post a solid 2.32 GAA, and a more than superb/outstanding save percentage of 93.4%!? Those are not human numbers! This guy, currently, has 443 more shots against the Olaf Kolzig. His record is just four games under .500. He is NO DOUBT the most valuable player to a team in the NHL.

He absolutely deserves the Vezina Trophy.

According to the NHL….“The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.”

No doubt that Roberto Luongo has been the best goaltender in the league. Statistics do not lie, and eye-witnesses will support that. If he does not win it, just because he did not make the playoffs, then it will be a real damn shame.

Some announcements:

With TheFourthPeriod.com having a great success at the Trade Deadline (HTR.com posted breaking news from whatever news media source confirmed the news first. TFP.com broke the stories beating TSN.ca and Sportnet.ca). TFP.com will also have live coverage on the Entry Draft Day with McKeen’s Hockey (www.mckeenshockey.com). So, stick around, and TFP.com will announce it soon. I work there, so I got the inside scoop for HTR.com readers, ha! Also on TFP, is their radio show.

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/radio/

Don’t miss, well..actually you CAN’T miss it. It’s there for you to listen to. Hear TFP’s David Pagnotta on Deals that Didn’t Happen, plus Alan Hahn of Newsday will be on the show on March 21st, and other guests to be announced as well. So, check it out, it’s a good show and lots of good discussions on there.

Now, do I have an off-topic rant today? Well, yes and no I do, and I will just mention what it is about, but it is not a topic to be discussed about with details and arguements. All I have to say is that how can people eat at McDonald’s, eat unhealthy but ask for a Diet Coke. Does it make any sense to you?

Anyway, that wasn’t really it. All that I really have to say is that I, as a European, am fearing of a socialist regime` to come in Europe. It will not be the EU (European Union) anymore, but more like the ESSU, European Socialist Soviet Union. Beware North America…