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Lightning Round: John Tortorella to ESPN

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and Nikita Zadorov reveals the life of Nathan MacKinnon

Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 11: Head coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets handles bench duties during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 11, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach who was fired by the Columbus Blue Jackets, John Tortorella, is reportedly joining ESPN as a studio analyst.

Pale Dragon on Twitter made doodles in pen for all the SB Nation blog logos, and check out Stanley on a jet ski. My only question is what does the Stanley Cup drink? Beer is easy, but he’s a stainless steel cup. My guess is Stanley chugs furniture polish when he’s out on the town.

Nikita Zadorov did an interview (link later in the twitter thread) that explained a lot about Nathan MacKinnon. A lot of people ragged on this for being very dictatorial over his teammates, but I kind of get it. MacKinnon is high-strung and not only puts his money into bettering himself as a player, but he puts in the effort on the ice every night; he’s always the hardest working Av on the ice even in the regular season.

His exit interview this season was “I’m going into my ninth year and I haven’t won shit,” so I can see where the frustration comes from. And credit to him, there are way worse ways of spending lots of money as an athlete than on dietologists, personal trainers, and personal chefs. It’s also really interesting to see who’s been shipped out of Colorado the last few years (Zadorov, Barrie, Kerfoot, Toninato). Maybe some of those trades were a response to not responding to the commitment MacKinnon demanded?

Also, maybe let the players at least keep some ice cream around?

The schedule for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championships is out and it kicks off at the end of August.

Joe Thornton is back in Switzerland (where his wife is from), skating with HC Davos while he figures out if he can — or even wants to — return to the NHL. [NHL dot com]

“This came so sudden, I really haven’t had time to think about it,” Thornton said June 2 after Toronto was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “First and foremost I have to be a dad for a little bit here. But yeah, I feel really, really healthy and really, really, good … And that’s a good sign.”

Thornton is No. 14 on the NHL scoring list with 1,529 points (425 goals, 1,104 assists) with the Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins, and is sixth in games played with 1,680. He has scored 134 points (32 goals, 102 assists) in 186 playoff games. Thornton has played the second-most regular-season games in NHL history without winning the Stanley Cup, behind former teammate Patrick Marleau (1,779).

NHL, IOC unable to agree on expanded media rights deal for 2022 Winter Olympics, but the league still intends on sending players to the tournament. [ESPN]

“If and when that final deal is announced, it will not include expanded media and marketing rights for the NHL, which had been a goal for the past decade. The NHL was denied “Top Sponsor Status” for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, which would have allowed its website and NHL Network to have content from the Games. It was one of the stated reasons why the league opted not to send its players to those Winter Olympics, among other financial considerations.”