Feaster reiterates Torts' job is safe
We've heard this before so it's not huge news. In fact, it's just a small part of tomorrow's story about the Lightning's grueling 8 a.m. punishment skate. But it's worth repeating that GM Jay Feaster reiterated earlier comments that coach John Tortorella's job is safe. He also said there is no plans to trade any of the top players while the playoffs, amazingly, are still a possibility.
Can you believe the team is just nine points out of first in the Southeast?
Anyway, Feaster said he is happy with the job Torts is doing.
"I believe John Tortorella is the right guy to coach this team,'' Feaster said. "I truly believe that the core of this hockey team knows him, they knew what was coming today (the morning skate) and why today happened the way it did. From that standpoint, there's no quit on this hockey team in terms of the coaching staff.''
Feaster pointed to the tweaks Tortorella and associate coach Mike Sullivan have made in Tampa Bay's system to inhibit defensemen from pinching through the neutral zone and squelch some odd-man rushes against, and how the players have readily bought in.
"I don't think this team has quit on him at all,'' Feaster said of Tortorella. "I'm still bullish on him.''
As for trades, with ownership still negotiating with Hollywood producer Oren Koules to buy the team, Feaster's hands are somewhat tied. He said if there was a deal he wanted to make he could approach current ownership and potential ownership and try to get approval.
"Instead of focusing on the won-loss record and games udner .500, let's focus on where we are relative to the Southeast Division and even the eighth playoff spot,'' Feaster said. "There's no sense of quitting. From my perspective, it's about improving the team, not about fire-saling.''
Whether to be a buyer or seller will be evaluated as the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaches.
"From the standpoint of where we go, I feel we need to be realistic,'' Feaster said. "If toward the end of February there, if we're not, if we haven't made a dent in it and we're still on the outside looking in and it's an uphill climb, now we need to make sure we're not going to lose assets and get nothing in return.''
That is obviously a reference to the team's potential unrestricted free agents which includes defenseman Dan Boyle and left wing Vinny Prospal.