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Rangers' John Tortorella says Vinny Prospal is "(ticked) off" about Lightning buyout



Remember when Vinny Prospal did that television interview from the bench at the St. Pete Times Forum after scoring two goals in February 2008 to beat the Canadiens?

Prospal, then on left wing for the Lightning, said it was the biggest moment in his NHL career, and he was pleased  to "shove it up to somebody's butt."

The somebody was then-Lightning coach John Tortorella, who had taken Prospal off Vinny Lecavalier's line and drastically reduced Prospal's ice time. The Canadiens game marked his return to Lecavalier's line.

At the time, Tortorella said he did not mind the outburst; that an angry athlete is a motivated athlete. Tortorella, now with the Rangers and reunited with Prospal, told reporters at the United States Olympic camp that Prospal has that same motivation from the Lightning's buyout of the final three years of his four-year, $14 million contract. Prospal will get $1.17 million a year for six seasons from Tampa Bay. He got a one-year, $1.1 million contract from the Rangers.

"He's (ticked) off," Tortorella said. "He was bought out. He has something to prove and that's a really good situation. This guy has something to prove and he's a pretty good player when he has that attitude."

Tortorella and Prospal did not always see eye-to-eye with the Lightning, and probably won't always see eye-to-eye with New York. Not a problem, Torts said:

"I coached him for so many years, my question was 'Does he want to play? Is life too good?' He's made a lot of money, he's been successful. He's a good person. I just wanted to make sure he wanted to play. He's a pain in the (butt) sometimes, but it doesn't matter. I guess it's a good intensity. I think he can help us, he has some offensive skill."

"We spoke on a number of occasions last week," Prospal told New York's Newsday. "It was a huge factor with (Tortorella) being the head coach; he coached me for seven seasons in Tampa. I'm more than happy to be reunited with him."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:15am]


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