The Rangers at least have some hope with Alain Vigneault behind the bench. The Canucks have none of that with John Tortorella, whose head coaching career is almost certainly in its final weeks.
Tortorella went to Calgary’s locker room at intermission following the first period Saturday night, which began with several fights and four game misconducts per team. Vancouver won the game 3-2 in a shootout.
It’s taken some growing pains, but the Rangers have finally figured out Vigneault’s possession-based uptempo system, which requires intensive skating, crisp, intricate passing and defensemen understanding when to join the attack.
The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames engaged in a wild first-period brawl Saturday night which later carried over to Canucks coach John Tortorella being involved in an alternation in the hallway outside of the Flames’ dressing room.
Kreider’s blazing speed, dominant natural strength on the puck and assertive style of play is earning him significant attention in the Calder Trophy race.
Had John Tortorella allowed offensively-gifted players to express themselves — he might’ve lifted the Stanley Cup down The Canyon of Heroes and been universally loved by Rangers fans.
The Rangers didn’t need a win in in this game, but they had to match the Bruins hit for hit and show they could skate and play with Boston.
The Rangers have turned their miserable start around, but they must keep hitting the accelerator hard. If they do, their win over the Penguins will not be a fluke. It will be the jumping off point of a team that is going to be in contention for the Eastern Conference title for the remainder of the season.
J.T. Miller wasn’t supposed to be on the plane when the Rangers headed west to Phoenix to embark on a nine-game road trip to open their 2013-14 regular season campaign. Score one for perseverance.
“It kills me, it kills me,” Tortorella told TSN. “That kid there … that kid there, I grew up with him. I learned a lot from him in Tampa. We grew up together in Tampa. I don’t know where (the relationship) went.”
The new NHL comes to life when the puck drops on Tuesday night. Four brand spanking new divisions (some with geographically confusing names) will be introduced. From there, it should be chaos as usual.
So begins hockey’s version of “Trading Places.” Two opposite personalities in Vigneault and Tortorella are thrown directly into each other’s former worlds.
Preseason hockey? Normally a supreme waste of time, but not in this case. The Rangers are on a long preseason road trip and they will be facing the Vancouver Canucks in the great Pacific Northwest. And you know what that means. Torts.
A number of prospects including Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo and Connor Allen could crack the Rangers’ opening-night roster.
The message from the New York Rangers’ bench might not be any different from in years past. The tone in which it is delivered most likely will be.