Monday Musings: John Tortorella wrong to sit Luongo | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: John Tortorella wrong to sit Luongo

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 | 03:33 AM

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Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo warms up prior to the NHL Heritage Classic, won 4-2 by the Ottawa Senators. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/Reuters) Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo warms up prior to the NHL Heritage Classic, won 4-2 by the Ottawa Senators. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/Reuters)

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This week's Monday Musings takes a look at the situations in Vancouver and Buffalo, Penn State's inspirational forward David Glen and which NHL team enjoyed the best third-quarter.

Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week that will see:

  • The 2014 NHL trade deadline will come and go on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Boston Bruins legend Milt Schmidt will celebrate his 86th birthday on Wednesday. The Hockey Hall of Famer from Kitchener, Ont., won the Allan Cup, two Stanley Cups as a player with Boston and two more as Bruins general manager.
  • Nicklas Lidstrom will have his No. 5 retired before his Detroit Red Wings play host to the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.
  • Joe Nieuwendyk will have his name added to the Forever A Flame banner that hangs at the Scotiabank Saddledome before Calgary takes on the New York Islanders on Friday.
  • The Dallas Stars will retire Mike Modano's No. 9 prior to their game against the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Silly season in Vancouver

John Tortorella's decision to start backup Eddie Lack over Roberto Luongo for the NHL Heritage Classic against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday backfired on the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard started for Toronto and Detroit, respectively, on New Year's Day. Jonas Hiller and Jonathan Quick got the call for Anaheim and Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. No. 1's Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov started for the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders in the two games at Yankee Stadium. Corey Crawford and Marc-Andre Fleury of Chicago and Pittsburgh were in goal at Soldier Field on Saturday evening.

But Tortorella had to be different. He claimed he was riding the hot goalie, but Lack was ordinary as Vancouver lost 4-2. Meanwhile, Luongo was not happy with his seat on the bench and that he missed a chance to play in this special game at B.C. Place. But that did not seem to matter to Tortorella.

"It was special to everybody," the coach said. "I sat [Luongo] out.

"He came in, saw me after the game. I get that. But I can't have a special night and make a decision where I don't think I'm putting the best lineup for that particular night because it is special when I have 20 games left with players trying to get points.

"I know people are upset. I get that. But I can't do it to make people happy. I can't. I'm not going to. I would do the same thing, I would. If it came up in this type of situation, I would do the same thing.

"I think Louie is a pro enough to maybe even use it as motivation, however he wants to. I think he's going to handle it just fine. So that's really it."

Sabres situation

There hasn't been much light shed on the peculiar situation that saw Pat Lafontaine resign as president of hockey operations of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Was it because he opposed the trade of goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues on Friday in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 third-round selection?

Sabres GM Tim Murray, hired by Lafontaine six weeks ago, claimed he and Lafontaine were on the same page and that the GM provided updates to Lafontaine about possible trades.

Was Lafontaine pushed out or did he resign? Sabres president Ted Black maintained Lafontaine simply quit to take his old front office job with the NHL. Interestingly, Black's son, Nathan, and Lafontaine's son, Daniel, play for the Michael Peca-coached Buffalo Jr. Sabres. The young Lafontaine, a forward, was in the lineup for the Jr. Sabres' 7-2 playoff win at home over the Mississauga Chargers on Sunday.

Did Lafontaine resign over the future of Ted Nolan, who was hired as interim head coach by Lafontaine last November? It is believed that Murray already has made Nolan a contract extension, but there has been no agreement on a deal yet. Murray remarked on Sunday that he wants Nolan to remain as coach next year.

"If he wants to be here, I want him to be our coach," Murray said.

Glen the good

Penn State sophomore David Glen has had a season to remember, but not just for his play on the ice. The 23-year-old forward from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is eight games into his comeback after missing two weeks (three games) in order to be a bone marrow donor and help save the life of a 50-year-old woman with leukemia.

Last season, a bunch of Penn State athletes were tested for the Be The Match registry, an organization that can help people find a bone marrow match to combat life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, when Kim Roper, the mother of Penn State lacrosse player Drew Roper, needed a bone-marrow transplant.

Glen was identified as a match last fall and, after a thorough investigation and discussion with his team's athletic therapist and physician, Glen went through a five-day procedure to help the woman he was a match with.

"This is who David Glen is," Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky of Edmonton told "Anyone who knows David is not surprised by any of this. I don't think he really had to think about it all that much ... He's a good hockey player, but it doesn't define him. This is who David Glen is deep down."

Third-quarter report

Twenty-six of the 30 NHL teams have hit the 61-game mark or three-quarter pole as of Sunday. The other four will hit the mark on Tuesday. Here are the teams with the best third-quarter records:

Eastern Conference

  • Columbus 13-6-1 - 27 points
  • N.Y. Rangers 13-6-1 - 27 points
  • Toronto 12-6-2 - 26 points
  • Ottawa 11-5-4 - 26 points
  • Boston 11-5-3 - 25 points*
  • Pittsburgh 11-5-3 - 25 points*
  • Philadelphia 11-7-2 - 24 points
  • Detroit 10-6-3 - 23 points*
  • Montreal 10-7-3 - 23 points
  • New Jersey 9-6-5 - 23 points
  • N.Y. Islanders 10-9-1 - 21 points
  • Washington 9-8-3 - 21 points
  • Carolina 10-10-0 - 20 points
  • Tampa Bay 9-10-1 - 19 points
  • Buffalo 7-9-4 - 18 points
  • Florida 8-11-1 - 17 points

Western Conference

  • Anaheim 14-6-0 - 28 points
  • Minnesota 13-5-2 - 28 points
  • Colorado 13-6-1 - 27 points
  • San Jose 12-8-0 - 24 points
  • St. Louis 11-7-1 - 23 points*
  • Winnipeg 11-8-1 - 23 points
  • Chicago 8-5-7 - 23 points
  • Dallas 9-8-3 - 21 points
  • Nashville 8-7-5 - 21 points
  • Calgary 9-10-1 - 19 points
  • Los Angeles 8-10-2 - 18 points
  • Edmonton 7-10-3 - 17 points
  • Phoenix 7-11-2 - 16 points
  • Vancouver 5-13-2 - 12 points

*Have played 19 of 20 third-quarter games.

700 club

When Jaromir Jagr scored his 700th NHL goal, his 123rd game winner, on Saturday, he became the seventh and oldest player to hit the milestone:

  • Jaromir Jagr - 42 years, 12 days
  • Gordie Howe - 40 years, 245 days
  • Brett Hull - 38 years, 183 days
  • Mike Gartner - 38 years, 44 days
  • Phil Esposito - 37 years, 345 days
  • Marcel Dionne - 36 years, 86 days
  • Wayne Gretzky - 29 years, 341 days

By the Numbers

35 to 1 - The Las Vegas odds last month for the Islanders to win the Stanley Cup.

200 to 1 - The Islanders odds after it was announced that John Tavares would miss the rest of the season due to the knee injury he suffered at the Sochi Olympics.

11 - Game point streak for Avalanche rookie Nathan Mackinnon (five goals, 16 points).

20 - Consecutive games is the rookie record, set by Colorado's Paul Stastny in 2006-07.

164:19 - Minutes and seconds Carey Price didn't allow a goal in closing out his gold-medal performance in Sochi.

225:25 - Minutes and seconds is the Olympic shutout streak record, set by Murray Dowey of Etobicoke, Ont., for Canada in 1948.

300 - Career wins in 496 NHL games for Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, which beat Toe Blake's record for the fastest to 300 victories (525 games).

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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