Quick Strikes: Former Lightning coach John Tortorella talks about his kerfuffle with the Pens

Torts defends Columbus

The Bolts

Help us rank the teams in the Atlantic Division. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be ramping up our season previews covering the Lightning, the Crunch, and the Atlantic Division as a whole. Set the stage by telling us where you think The Lightning fit in among the rest of pack. Do you think they’ll repeat as division champs? Or is someone new going to come in and take that spot.

The Prospects

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The Game

John Tortorella talked with The Athletic (paywall) about a wide range of topics including his strong words for Jack Johnson and the Penguins front office earlier this summer.

But I have a … let’s go first with Jack. Jack and I have since talked, and I believe Jack. I think Jack was out there looking at homes, he got thrown into a press conference. I believe what he has said, that you have to show Pittsburgh respect. They’ve won. It’s your new team. I get that. Jack and I have worked through that. But you just asked me earlier a question about this city and this team … I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility as a coach of the team and a person living in the city, with the way the city has welcomed me and my family … I’m going to defend it, because I think we’re an easy target. You asked the question already, and we’re going through it with a couple of players now about Columbus and being here. I’m part of this city. My family is part of this.

I disagree with Torts on lots of things but I’ll always appreciate the way he stands up for his team and the market where he’s coaching. He built a winner in a non-traditional market in Tampa and he’s doing it again in Columbus.

He also talked about the pending free agencies of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Panarin has indicated that Tampa would be one of his preferred spots to play in the future and has been seen working out in the area with Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy over the last few weeks.

Dom Luszczyszyn’s season preview series reached the New York Rangers (paywall) who he predicts will finish last in the Metro. That shouldn’t be too surprising as the team announced at the trade deadline that they were entering rebuilding mode. A big part of that rebuild was trading Ryan McDonagh to the Lightning.

Now entering the 2018-19 season, the Rangers are a team that’s very unlikely to compete for a playoff spot, but with enough good pieces left over from their contending years, they shouldn’t land completely at the bottom yet either. The rebuild has only just begun after all.

The Rangers could surprise in either direction, of course. But for now, it seems as if the team isn’t quite bad enough to compete for projected first-overall pick Jack Hughes along with Vancouver, Ottawa, and Detroit, but not nearly good enough to compete in the 2018-19 playoff race.

The Capitals officially announced yesterday that they signed former KHL winger Sergei Shumakov to a one-year ELC.

Shumakov posted 40 points last season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL last season, tying for the team lead. He also posted four points in 11 playoff games as CSKA Moscow reached the Gagarin Cup Final.

Part of being competitive long term in the NHL is figuring out ways to fill out your depth with inexpensive players. This is a smart bet by the Caps who could find themselves with a capable middle six winger for almost no cost. And if Shumakov doesn’t work out, the Caps can move on quickly.