Best unemployed analyst
So what happens now with former Lightning coach John Tortorella?
Fired by the Rangers last week, he's going to coach again. Someone will hire him. He won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning, and his teams typically make the playoffs. That's good enough to get him another job even if he can be as ornery as a pit bull with a toothache. Heck, Mike Keenan has had eight NHL jobs despite rubbing sandpaper in the faces of his players. Ken Hitchcock is not exactly Mr. Sunshine and he keeps getting hired.
But Tortorella might have to wait a bit. He seems more likely to be a midseason replacement, someone brought in to jump-start a team that is underachieving. That's how he got the Lightning job. That's how he got the Rangers job.
In the meantime, could he work on TV? Certainly. Tortorella did TV work in the past and was pretty good at it. Between his stints as the coach of the Lightning and Rangers, Tortorella was at TSN in Canada. He would be a perfect fit at the NHL Network, which desperately needs a studio analyst with an edge. But not enough people watch the NHL Network, so he might be wasted there.
It would be great if NBC hired him as a studio analyst. He would be just the right foil for loudmouth Mike Milbury, certainly more so than Keith Jones or even Jeremy Roenick.
Ultimately, however, networks might stay away from him, not because he isn't good as a broadcaster but because he eventually is going to get a coaching job. Networks might be leery of putting their efforts into making him part of their broadcast only to lose him halfway through a season.
Best future analyst
The classy Grant Hill retired over the weekend after 19 seasons in the NBA.
"The thing I'm most proud of, back in 2003, I had several doctors tell me I was done (due to injuries), and I went on to play another 10 years,'' Hill said on TNT on Saturday night.
Don't be surprised if you see him again on TNT, or on ABC/ESPN next season, but only if that's what he wants to do. Another possibility? The Magic recently parted ways with longtime TV analyst Matt Goukas, so maybe Hill would be a candidate to replace him. Hill, who played for the Magic from 2000-07, still has a home in Orlando.
New York Post hockey writer Larry Brooks still believes the Rangers are going to buy out the contract of former Lightning star Brad Richards (above). That would make Richards a free agent, and perhaps a member of the Lightning next season. But the firing of John Tortorella as coach Wednesday might actually improve Richards' chances of staying in New York.
Brooks wrote Sunday, "Richards … still is far more likely to be an amnesty buyout later this month than a candidate for the club's first-line center slot when camp convenes in September, but has a better shot at Broadway redemption than he did before coach John Tortorella was dismissed.'''
Brooks also wrote, "And we do know the chance today of Richards returning is certainly higher than it was on Tuesday.''
Hey, CBS, just because the Memorial is Jack Nicklaus' tournament doesn't mean you have to have Nicklaus on the broadcast all afternoon. I'd rather listen to Ben Stein read a telephone book.
Good and better comments
Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was in the midst of a good day Sunday (3-for-5, homer, two RBIs) when Sun Sports analyst Brian Anderson made a keen observation about how so many Rays players are stepping up. • "It just seems like there's a different guy every day,'' Anderson said. "And usually more than one.'' • Just then, Escobar cracked a shot that bounced off the wall. But Escobar, who might have thought his hit was going to clear the fences, ended up with only a single. That's when Anderson called out Escobar for not hustling. • "He was Cadillac-ing,'' Anderson said. • When you're willing to say good and bad things about a player, it makes everything you say credible.
Tampa resident John Isner fought off 12 match points in the fourth set Saturday before losing to Tommy Haas 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-7 (10-12), 10-8 in the third round of the French Open. Was it a long match? Yep. Was it dramatic? Sure. Was it great tennis? Actually, no. NBC analyst John McEnroe called it one of the "all-time efforts.'' Play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson called it "extraordinary.'' Come on, guys, we're not dumb, and both of you are way too good for such hyperbole. This was not McEnroe-Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon. This was two so-so players flailing and not able to get out of each other's way. Sometimes it's okay for broadcasters to go through a match or game without turning it into the most spectacular thing in the history of the sport. A close tennis match doesn't automatically mean it's a great match.
"The most shocking thing about John Tortorella's firing — and maybe the only shocking thing — is that Tortorella was shocked.''
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, writing about the former Lightning coach who was fired by the Rangers last week
Dick Vitale said he is on "Cloud 9.''
That's because his eighth annual gala May 17 raised more than $1.7 million for pediatric cancer. The galas have raised more than $10 million total.
"I'm overwhelmed with emotion,'' Vitale wrote in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times.
Sports Illustrated debuts today a 30-minute live-streamed talk show, SI Now. It will be streamed at 1 p.m. weekdays at si.com. The show will be hosted by Maggie Gray and include a rotating cast of newsmakers and writers from the magazine and website.
Three things that popped into my head
1. A new story comes out every day about Rutgers' process of hiring an athletic director. Now comes a report that one finalist was sent a letter of apology because he was subjected to questioning that was considered "combative.'' Geez, who is in charge of Rutgers? Is it Moe or Curly?
2. It seems safe to say the Heat's Big Three has become the Big One. LeBron James (above) looks like he is out there by himself with the way Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are playing of late.
3. Whatever has happened to Lance Armstrong? Interesting that a man who is on the road to redemption and making amends has disappeared.
tom jones' two cents
Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.