Prospal jabs Tortorella ... it seems
Lightning left wing Vinny Prospal hasn't been happy since he was taken off a line with Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. He hasn't been happy the past three games in which he had played fewer than 12 minutes. So it was understandable that he celebrated his two goals in a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens with a fist pumping celebration, especially since he was reunited with Lecavalier and St. Louis.
But then he did something strange. In a Sun Sports interview that also was shown on the St. Pete Times Forum scoreboard, he said the game was one of the most satisfying of his career and that he felt as if he shoved it up someone's backside.
Asked by interviewer Paul Kennedy to whom he was referring, Prospal said. "I would like to think they know who they are.''
A 25-minute closed-door meeting with coach John Tortorella and GM Jay Feaster followed. After the meeting, neither Prospal nor Tortorella talked about what was said. In fact, Torts shrugged it all off, saying, "Athletes who are mad, to me, are good athletes.''
Prospal declined to speak about anything other than the game, which was a terrific one with Prospal tying his career high with his 25th goal and Karri Ramo making 19 saves, including a game saver with 13.2 seconds left.
But it was difficult to ignore Prospal's outburst, though Torts did his best.
"I'm not here to be the happy man and make everybody happy,'' he said. "I'm here to make calls as far as the game is concerned.''
And this after Torts was asked if he sensed some relief in Prospal:
"I'm sure there was quite a bit of relief and a few other things, too. That's life. He played really well. Athletes that are upset, they contribute and help the team win, coaches are happy. This isn't a touchy-feely thing here or love fest. This is a game of hockey and we're fighting for our life.''