Blog: Prospal and Tortorella butt heads

Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

• If last night’s events in Tampa are any indication, the Lightning should be shopping around left winger Vinny Prospal even harder than before.

Prospal – never exactly a favorite of head coach/grumpus-in-chief John Tortorella to begin with – followed up his two-goal performance in the Bolts’ 3-2 win over Montreal Tuesday with a post-game TV interview in which he called the evening one of the most rewarding of his career.

The 32-year-old Czech, who was dropped from the Lightning’s top line recently and subsequently had his ice time cut severely, also said in the interview that he felt his performance Tuesday shoved it up “somebody’s” behind.

Prospal refused to name the behind in question, but immediately after, and I’m sure by some strange and random coincidence, he was called into Tortorella’s office for a 25-minute meeting with the coach and GM Jay Feaster – while still wearing his equipment.

After that, Tortorella all but identified himself as the object of Prospal’s ire.

“I'm not here to be the happy man and make everybody happy,” the coach said. “I'm here to make calls as far as the game is concerned.”

Judging by the Lightning’s last-place spot in the Eastern Conference, the Unhappy Man hasn’t been making too many solid game calls either.

And now, though Prospal equaled his career high Tuesday by hitting the 25-goal plateau, Tortorella’s abrasive, divisive demeanor will almost certainly push Tampa’s third-best point producer out the door.

Widely-Known NHL News: Canadiens blueliner Ryan O’Byrne was arrested in a Tampa Bay nightclub after being accused of stealing $20 from a woman’s purse.

Less Widely-Known NHL News: Commissioner Gary Bettman immediately stepped in to demand the league’s 46 percent share of O’Byrne’s alleged booty.

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.



Obsession, Courage and Inspiration: Harnarayan Singh on Breaking Racial Barriers in Broadcasting

'Had I not given it a shot, I would've regretted it.' He grew up being told someone who looked like him could never do NHL play-by-play. His passion drove him to prove everyone wrong – and he did.

John Leonard

John Leonard a Pleasant Surprise for the San Jose Sharks

From the sixth round of the 2018 draft to the NHL three years later, John Leonard looks to be quite the get for a team in desperate need of scoring.


Father of Broncos' Bus Crash Victim: 'I Don't Have the Energy For Hatred'

Scott Thomas lost his son in the greatest tragedy in the history of Canadian sports. Three years later, he's advocating for the man who drove the truck that killed his son to remain in Canada.