"I Just Don't Want Us To Lose What The National Hockey League Is About" -- John Tortorella, Who Can't Keep Letting Trevor Zegras Get Away With This
Alright so here's the sitch. Clearly that sound bite from Torts is the one that's going to move the needle. The narrative is that John Tortorella is a grumpy old man who hates skill and would rather show a bunch of highlights of guys blocking shots. So having him, once again, miffed and disgruntled by Trevor Zegras turning the NHL into his personal Factory Of Filth is quality entertainment. Getting John Tortorella to say "the Canadian media can kiss [his] ass" is what makes having Torts on TV worth the while.
But....well when you listen to everything he said about Trevor Zegras pulling off the Michigan last night...I have to admit I might side with Torts on this one.
He's not saying that he hates skill. He's not saying that he wants this type of circus shit completely out of the game. The issue is just when you have a million kids playing hockey right now and all they see on Instagram or Tik Tok are goals like the one Zegras scored last night. So then the next 8 years at practice they just focus on scoring the sickest goals imaginable. There's a reason why the Michigan is becoming so much more common. Obviously it has a lot to do with stick technology, but also because that's all kids care about. The hands, the skill, and that's awesome.
What's not awesome is if the game eventually "evolves" into strictly skill. No more focus on making or receiving checks. No more focus on defending. No more focus on winning puck battles in the corner. Essentially all Torts is saying here is that while the skill in the NHL right now is insane, he just wants to be careful that it doesn't turn into the NBA on ice. Which doesn't seem like too crazy of a concern to have. The real issue here is just that John Tortorella isn't meant to be a media guy, and he doesn't have the capability of explaining himself without coming off like an old man yelling at the clouds. Which is why the Philadelphia Flyers should do the right thing and hire him as their next coach so they can get him out of the broadcast studio.
At the end of the day, that Zegras goal was sick but I also don't want the NHL to become the NBA on ice 10-15 years from now. I stand with Torts. Now let's fire up that goal again.
Z Baby. What a freak.