Top Line: John Tortorella blasts Rangers, NHL trade buzz, more links
By Allan Muir
A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• John Tortorella offered a frank assessment of his team after last night's 3-1 loss to the Sabres. "I couldn't be more disgusted and disappointed with the way our top guys played, with the way we handled ourselves," he said. He wasn't wrong, and I'm guessing more fans of underperforming teams would like to see their coach call them on the carpet like this. But keep these rants in mind when the U.S. bypasses Torts for Olympic coach. I can't see them risking embarrassment like this in Sochi.
• The great Kevin Allen examines the trade buzz surrounding 10 NHL teams.
• The NHL had no problem with the Mason Raymond shootout goal that proved to be the difference in Vancouver's 2-1 win over Columbus. The Jackets felt differently. Take a look for yourself. I think they have a legitimate beef here.
• The Philadelphia Flyers are done if they don't sweep a home-and-home with the Devils, according to Ilya Bryzgalov. Gotta love that. Guy is taking the pressure for these games and putting it squarely on himself with those comments. Philly fans should appreciate that.
• Carolina's win over Washington highlights two teams that are going in different directions. The Canes are happy to ride a pair of backup goalies while Cam Ward convalesces. Meanwhile, in Washington, they're rallying to protect Alex Ovechkin from taking the blame for the team's struggles. It's fine to point out organizational failings, but letting Ovie off the hook is asinine.
• Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini won't sacrifice young talent for a quick fix ahead of the playoffs. No one's looking for a quick fix, Steve. Just a hint that you understand this team needs some different pieces to make a legitimate run.
• The Tampa Bay Lightning were beaten in every aspect of last night's game with the Panthers......except on the scoreboard. Outshot 39-13 and they still manage a 3-2 win? Don't see a box score like that very often.
• The Predators had lost six straight on the road and were missing two of their top scorers...so of course they smoked the Stars, 4-0. The struggles of Dallas' inexperienced blueline highlight exactly what this team needs ahead of the deadline.
• The Jets handed the Leafs their third straight loss. Is Toronto's fight-per-game standard starting to cost them points?
• Does Toronto coach Randy Carlyle deserve comparison to the late Pat Burns?
• Don Cherry talks about his goldfish.
• It won't be easy to right the ship in Calgary with the noise of the churning trade rumor mill pounding in their ears.
• St. Cloud State and U-Mass Lowell highlight an unexpected group of top seeds for the NCAA hockey tournament.
• Hockey parents in New Brunswick will have to take a mandatory course in rinkside behavior starting next season. Doubt there's a state or province is these great lands that wouldn't benefit from a similar requirement. • Finally, the odd story of the new Belfast Giants.