In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Columbus Blue Jackets’ coach John Tortorella is not happy with his team and explains why. In Pittsburgh, there are questions about who starts in goal and the GM has an opinion that might not match the coach. Who will the Tampa Bay Lightning be forced to trade and finally, who is in line to be the first head coach of the new Seattle Kraken franchise?
Blue Jackets Coach Unhappy With Players
Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella has a tendency to be boisterous and opinionated at the best of times. When he sees something he doesn’t like, he’s not afraid to say so. Now, he’s targeting his own team and their preparation for the play-in round of the NHL’s return to play.
Tortorella told NHL.com’s Craig Merz he doesn’t like what he has seen so far. “My concern is some of the people that we are going to need to make a difference for us to win a series, I don’t think they’re ready right now,” said Tortorella. He added:
“This isn’t getting ready for the regular season and then trying to find your game in 15 games during the regular season. This is a sprint… I don’t want us to fall into this trap of wading in. We need to be ready to go.”
With the play-in rounds, the series’ are shortened to a maximum of five games, so if a team doesn’t come out of the gate hot, they could be eliminated in a matter of three games.
Who Starts in Goal for Penguins?
Even though it’s not up to him, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told Josh Yohe of The Athletic that he believes Matt Murray will be the starting netminder for the team after seeing how well Murray has performed in this week’s practices. “I was watching him in that practice closely,” Rutherford said.
“He was the goaltender of 2016 and 2017 during that practice. He really was. I saw the fundamentals, the ones that he shows when he’s really on. That was very encouraging. And plus, he has a little bit more time. I think he’s going to be just fine. Really good, in fact.”
The interesting thing is, Jarry has dazzled in camp thus far while Murray has allowed multiple goals during scrimmages. Murray has also lost his last six postseason outings. This is certainly not a slam dunk decision.
Related: Jack Adams, the Man and the Award
Will Lightning Have to Trade Cirelli or Sergachev?
Joe Smith of The Athletic wrote in his mailbag report earlier this week that the Tampa Bay Lightning might have to look at trading one their restricted free agents in center Anthony Cirelli or defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
If this comes to pass due to salary cap issues, Smith notes teams like the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres would be interested and the Lightning could get a really good prospect, one or more high draft picks, and an NHL-ready player in return.
Smith writes of Cirelli:
There would have to be a significant prospect and pick coming back to land Cirelli, who has been the Lightning’s top shutdown center and Selke-caliber player. The coaching staff loves him, and there’s no doubt GM Julien BriseBois will do anything in his power to sign the RFA.source – Lightning mailbag: On RFA dilemmas, playoff X-factors, trade talk and more’ – Joe Smith – The Athletic- 07/20/2020
Smith feels the Lightning will keep both players on shorter bridge deals but suggests Alex Killorn will be moved this summer thanks to the cap crunch.
Seattle Kraken Head Coach?
TSN’s Darren Dreger notes that after the news of Seattle’s new team name, there is talk of who the next head coach will be. He said Kraken general manager Ron Francis still intends to take his time finding the right bench boss but that former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant is certainly in the mix.
Dreger also believes a flat salary cap of $81.5 million will help the Kraken who may be able to pluck good players from teams who have to make tough decisions heading into 2021-22.
Related: Ottawa Senators’ Coaching History
What Will Areas Look Like for Game Play?
The NHL released a rendering of what the arena will look like during the NHL restart. According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, “The league is promising a unique look and feel to every game played, including the local goal horns and songs of each team participating.” He included a photo that shows screens and a giant television board where fans on the player’s side would normally sit.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”