Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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More comments from Tortorella
Posted Sep 6, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Sep 6, 2008 at 05:58 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting this stuff up to satisfy your hockey appetite, but I was up late last night enjoying some birthday cake and melted ice cream and didn’t get the entire interview from former Lighting coach John Tortorella while he was on with The Team 1200 radio in Ottawa earlier in the week. You saw the juicy stuff in today’s paper where he referred to the new Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie - who fired Tortorella in May - as “cowboys’’ and shared his opinion on the trading of Dan Boyle.
A big thanks goes out to Team 1200 hosts Steve Lloyd and former NHL defenseman Jason York - even though he says in the interview that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I was on with the pair a few days earlier discussing Filip Kuba
and to program director Dave Mitchell for providing the audio clip of the interview.
But here are a few other tidbits, including expanded some of the quotes which were in Saturday’s paper, that I wanted to pull out of the interview:
On the Dan Boyle trade: “I knew that was going to happen … during the trading deadline where myself, Jay Feaster and all the administration of that team were locked in the room at the trade deadline with owners that were still in the process of trying to buy the team. It turned ugly in there because of some of the thoughts they had, and they still hadn’t even dropped a penny on the club.
I sat across from Lennie Barrie and [he] started talking to me about Dan Boyle when he played with him seven, eight years ago in Florida, which makes no sense to me because I think after seven or eight years a guy may mature and improve his game. I begged them to sign Danny Boyle [because] if you’re going to trade Brad Richards at the deadline, which we shouldn’t have done at that point in time, and then let Danny Boyle just go, what do you think Vinny and Marty (St. Louis) are going to think about [when] the next year starts? They grudgingly decided to sign him but I knew once they signed all these forwards during the summer, during the free agency, I knew Danny Boyle was going to go.
Why lose him and then bring in Meszaros for around $4 million a year, I don’t get it. I’m trying not second guess, but like I said, there are a couple of cowboys running that team right now.’‘
On Tampa Bay’s defense: “To create a competitive hockey team, you have to work from the back end out with your goaltender and your defense. Listen, I like (goalie Mike Smith). I like the way he presents himself. I like his arrogance. But he still hasn’t proven himself as a No. 1 goalie in this league. That’s why I think it was good they signed (Olaf) Kolzig. Olie is getting older but he competes and I think that was a good signing, but we still have question marks about Smith as a No. 1.
And then you put a young blue line in front of him where maybe as you go along the way and you’re trying to develop as a No. 1, pucks are going to go in your net, and then your confidence goes as far as your defensemen. I’m not making any excuses. We lived with that for the past two or three years as far as your team’s thinking when a few pucks go in your net and how it affects your defenseman. ... When you have some youth there, who I think are going to be good players, it’s a dangerous situation. You’re not going to win hockey games from the forward out. You need to start from the back end out. So maybe they will prove us wrong. I don’t wish anything bad on the players or anything like that, I have a tough time understanding some of the thinking going on with the club. I guess when you invest seven years, you want to still see them do well, but I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen there.’‘
On Vinny Lecavalier, who signed an 11-year contract which begins next season: ” I think he’s at times the best player in the league and at least in the top three or four, and he has matured incredibly. But I think the key for Vinny was a structured environment. When they signed Vinny to that contract and they basically (made) him a partner, I worry is it going to be enough structure there and where it’s going to go in his game. He is such a gifted player and has so many years left, I hope he understands how to handle some of those situations and maybe teach along the way here, not just the players and his teammates but some of the people around him that are running the team.’‘
On overall No. 1 pick Steven Stamkos: “There’s a guy I have heard so much about and I am really anxious to see play. I hope they do it the right way and allow him to grow and put him in the right situations because I’m a firm believer that a player, no matter what he’s touted as and what his potential is, still has to go through the process of becoming a pro in this league. I hope the people around him - and Vinny has to be one of them, I think that’s one of his main jobs this year, to make [Stamkos] understand what it is to take the steps in being a pro.’‘
By the way, you can hear the entire interview here:
Play this file in your own media player
(or, right click and “Save as ...” to save to your computer).