Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/24/13 at 05:16 PM ET
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Everyone is going to be pushed outside of his comfort zone. Except Luongo — all the coach wants to see from his No. 1 goalie is that he gets back into his. Tortorella believes the goaltending circus finally left town when Cory Schneider was traded in July and has made it no secret that Luongo is now the most important player the Canucks have. As is true in every other NHL city, Tortorella’s success is inextricably linked to the performance of his top goalie.
But, despite the malaise that’s set in since Zdeno Chara hoisted the trophy at Rogers Arena, what still makes Vancouver a contender is its top-notch supporting cast. Ryan Kesler is healthy to start a season for the first time since 2010–11 and will be reunited with super pest Alex Burrows. Winger Zack Kassian will be asked to fill a bigger role, possibly as a linemate for the Sedins, while a solidly built blueline should benefit from a better overall commitment to team defence.
The Canucks could be a very good team; maybe even a great one. In that sense, nothing has changed.
And yet, with Tortorella around, everything has. As a result, it isn’t a stretch to say that the season hinges on the players’ ability to adapt to life with a new boss — and one who, even after guiding the New York Rangers to the Eastern Conference final in 2012 and the second round last season, was fired this summer amid whispers of a players’ revolt.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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