Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella praises Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet

TAMPA — Rangers coach John Tortorella admitted it was "a little weird" stepping into the visitor's locker room of the St. Pete Times Forum, a place where he led the Lightning for seven years and won a Stanley Cup.

But though Tortorella, fired in 2008 by Tampa Bay, didn't want to say much about his former organization, he praised Lightning coach Rick Tocchet and appears to believe Tampa Bay is in good hands.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Tocchet)," Tortorella said Friday. "Certainly, first as a player, because we all know how he played, and how he handles himself as a coach, I wish him the best. I hope we (beat them Friday), but I wish him the best from there."

Tortorella coached Tocchet while he was an assistant with Phoenix from 1997-99 and said "we've been friends for a long time." Even when Tortorella was out of hockey after his firing, he chatted with Tocchet, and they've even caught up this season.

"He's a good man," Tortorella said. "And the thing I like about him is he's a pretty honest guy."

GETTING CLOSE: D Mattias Ohlund, who missed his sixth straight game with an ankle injury, said he feels a lot better and is close to a return.

"It's one of those injuries where, if you come back too soon, there's a decent chance you'll injure yourself and miss more time," Ohlund said. "So we're trying to make sure that when I do come back, I'm coming back for more than a few games."

SMABY DOWN: D Matt Smaby, who has yet to play an NHL game this season partly because of a crowded blue line, was assigned to AHL Norfolk on a conditioning assignment. Tocchet said it will give Smaby an opportunity to get a lot of minutes playing over the weekend before he rejoins the Lightning.

Though Tocchet said he'd like to play Smaby next week, he acknowledged it would be tough to do that, especially with Ohlund close to a return. "It's unfortunate to get a logjam (on defense)," he said, "but it's actually helped us because we've had two, three guys go down and have had capable defensemen to play for us."

NICE TOUCH: Tortorella was honored in the first period with a video montage on the Times Forum JumboTron. The montage spanned his tenure with the Lightning and included an image of him hoisting the Stanley Cup. It ended with, "Thank you, John, and Welcome Back," and a standing ovation from the crowd.

odds and ends: LW Todd Fedoruk and Ohlund were scratched.

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella praises Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hey, somebody really ought to write about this Aaron Judge guy


    He can catch, too.

    It's no tall tale.

    Aaron Judge, The Amazing Colossal Man, has come and gone, but not before he stunned the Rays with a diving, game-saving catch in the sixth inning of Yankees 3-2 win Sunday at Tropicana Field. The 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge robbed Evan Longoria of an RBI double and helped …

    Aaron Judge stunned the Rays with a diving, game-saving catch in the sixth inning of Yankees 3-2 win Sunday at Tropicana Field.
  2. FSU, Gators, USF and Miami all in Athlon preseason top 25


    The college football preseason magazines are trickling in, as our Joey Knight wrote earlier.

  3. Bucs' Jameis Winston rising in fantasy football rankings


    We're still probably three months away from most fantasy football drafts, but it's not too early to appreciate that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has taken a major step up in the rankings entering his third NFL season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is ranking much higher in fantasy football rankings entering his third NFL season.
  4. A new look at the top of women's tennis: It's wide open


    ROME — Asked Sunday if she believed, as the oddsmakers do, that she is the French Open favorite, Simona Halep dissented.

  5. Jake Odorizzi has a winning record for his career when pitching on five days of rest. He’s 12-9 in 34 starts. Pitching on a normal four days of rest, Odorizzi is 15-17 in 34 starts. On six or more days rest he is 6-6 in 18 starts.