Great Tortellini? This one's more like wet noodle
By Terry Jones
Winnipeg Sun 6/2/2004
TAMPA, Fla. -- So, Great Tortellini, what happened to that spell-
binding series that was going to hold us for a year or so while there
was no hockey? What happened to the spectacular Stanley Cup final you
all but guaranteed before it began?
Tell us, Great Tortellini, why the hockey itself has regressed from
game to game until by Game 4 it became, as you yourself put it "Ugly
Lightning coach John Tortorella, a.k.a The Great Tortellini as
Philadelphia Flyers GM Bobby Clarke gave him the nickname during
hissing contests with Ken Hitchcock during the Eastern Conference
final, told us at the git-go it there was going to be a lot of "git"
and a lot of "go." But the git-go seems to have got up and left.
So, oh Great Tortellini, it's time to revisit that proclamation.
"It's going to be a hell of a series with both teams going straight
ahead and pushing it," you promised, oh Great One, in the beginning.
Tell us, oh Great Tortellini, where the go has gone?
"Well, I don't know. As we've gone along here, Calgary has gone into
more of a defensive mode," The Great Tortellini explained less than
an hour after both the media and Tampa Bay Lightning charters landed
"We just go about our business and try to get our job done."
Maybe I should point out at the outset here that The Great Tortellini
hasn't quite been the quote machine in the final that he was in the
Eastern final. But with four games in the books, a two-day break
between games and Tampa Bay back home with home-ice advantage in what
is now a best-of-three series, it was time to consult The Great
Tortellini on the subject of all things yesterday.
Oh, nobody is saying the series hasn't been interesting. It's 2-2
headed to Game 5 here tomorrow and Tampa is 2-0 in Game 5s and
Calgary 3-0. And nobody has a clue what to expect other than that the
team which scores first will win it.
Maybe it's that first goal thing.
It's become totally ridiculous. Calgary is 12-1 when scoring first.
Tampa Bay is 12-2 when the Lightning get the first goal.
So, Great Tortellini, tell us why.
"I think the league is in a defensive mode. It's very tough to score
goals," he said.
"Each team has their own concept in terms of how they can be
successful. I don't begrudge anybody anything."
One other thing, oh Great Tortellini, 'splain that eight-game
undefeated run and win-loss, win-loss ever since?
The Lightning won Games 1-3-5-7 in the previous series and 2-4 in
"As you go through the long road in the playoffs, it's trying to keep
momentum. Another team trying to get momentum back," he said.
"The most important thing if you lose a game is how you respond."
There was no response yesterday from the league in terms of possible
punitive action against Ville Nieminen who received a major for
pasting Vinnie Lecavalier's face into the glass with less than five
minutes to play in the third period.
If Lecavalier is out of the lineup for Game 5, it would make three
Tampa players out of the lineup as a result of hits to the head.
But the Great Tortellini, who was so attracted to controversy in the
third round, wasn't going to go there, either.
"There's supposed to be an emphasis on the head," he said. "But
you're talking to the wrong guy about that."
Oh, thank you, Great Tortellini, for clearing up all that has
mystified in this series.