Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Perfect Gift: The gentle coaching touch of John Tortorella
Why He Needs It: Lundqvist went out of his way to deny it, as this piece from TSN.ca makes clear, but there was plenty of speculation that he helped force the New York Rangers' hand when they fired John Tortorella last spring. As Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo.com points out, Lundqvist got plenty of back-end help but not much run support from Torts' defense-first system.
Nearly halfway into the 2013-14 season, Torts is enjoying surprising success in Vancouver while the Canucks' old coach Alain Vigneault struggles to keep the Rangers on a winning path. Compared to last season, New York has dropped from fifth to 15th in goals against per game, while also falling from 15th to 27th in goals scored per game. Hardly a recipe for success.
Lundqvist signed a lucrative seven-year contract extension in early December, but Vigneault has uncovered a gem in unheralded netminder Cam Talbot, who just recorded wins in back-to-back starts for the first time in his young NHL career.
Torts' time in New York was tense, but Lundqvist and the rest of the team could be in for an even bumpier ride as this season plays out. They may already be wishing that Tortorella was still in charge.