Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Tortorella regrets his goaltender tirade, but it raises a key point
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published December 30, 2005
TAMPA - If you were anywhere near the St. Pete Times Forum Wednesday night, you probably heard Lightning coach John Tortorella. Maybe you saw the roof raise with his anger.
Tortorella, during a loud, expletive-filled, lectern-pounding eruption, pinned much of the blame for a loss to the Canadiens and the team's troubles on goaltender John Grahame.
Thursday, Tortorella said he regretted the drama, not so much because he called out a player (that is nothing new) but for the way he lost his cool and for getting off his team-concept message.
"My little tirade, that doesn't help, absolutely not," Tortorella said. "That's a bad coaching reaction. That doesn't help the hockey team right now. I have my feelings, but it does not have to be presented that way at this point with this team."
A notable admission from a coach who generally speaks his mind with little concern for the consequences. But it does not change the bottom line.
Tampa Bay's goaltending, which entered Thursday 19th in the 30-team league, needs to get better, a lot better, if the team has a chance of defending the Stanley Cup.
Grahame, who has played 30 of 38 games while being given every chance to solidify the No. 1 spot vacated by Nikolai Khabibulin, has won 15 but lost 13 and a shootout. His .889 save percentage entered Thursday 33rd among goalies with at least 13 games. His 2.94 goals-against average was 22nd.
He also has lost five of his past six decisions. No surprise, then, Sean Burke starts tonight against the Bruins at the Times Forum. Expect him to stay if he plays well. If he doesn't, then it's back to Grahame.
General manager Jay Feaster said the team, only $700,000 under the $39-million salary cap, won't be trading for a goalie in the foreseeable future. A free agent who hasn't played this season probably isn't the answer either, and the waiver wire isn't generally a place to find a goalie who will turn around a season.
Not that outside help is really a necessity.
"In the totality," Feaster said, "the answers are all within the (locker) room."
There are numerous questions for a team nine points behind the Hurricanes in the Southeast and just three ahead of the Thrashers, who are closing on Tampa Bay for the East's eighth and final playoff spot.
The power play is off its feed. The penalty kill reeks. The team has nine goals in its past three games in which it had 116 shots and, by Tortorella's count, 53 scoring chances.
And it is a real problem when third- and fourth-line players such as Tim Taylor, Rob DiMaio, Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Craig are the most noticeable forwards on the ice.
"Right now we have some guys who are fighting it, not just the goaltender," Feaster said. "We have to get back to who and what we are, the hardest-working team in hockey."
That said, goalies have to make saves; not only spectacular ones, as Grahame does regularly, but game-turning ones at crucial moments, which lately have been harder to come by. Late game-losing goals against the Rangers and Canadiens were unscreened and from the outside.
That is the kind of season it has been for Grahame, who at one point won a team-record nine straight games. But the Denver native can be awkward on saves, making it harder to get into position for second and third shots. Lately, he has struggled with focus and allowing too many dangerous rebounds.
Grahame declined comment. Burke said he does not consider tonight an opportunity.
"For me, tomorrow is one game," he said. "I'm not looking at it as, "If I win this game I get to play the next.' I'm going to go out and compete for these guys and battle hard and see how everything plays out after that."
He was sure of one thing, though: "I don't think anybody on any team has the right to hide behind or shy away from their own responsibility and look to blame any individual.
"It's just not possible in a team sport for one guy to be responsible for winning and losing. Everybody contributes one way or another. Whatever was said we all realize Johnny went out and battled as hard as anybody."
Tortorella praised Grahame's "mental toughness" and called him "one of the best competitors on this team," adding generally, "I have total belief in the way our system is and the people in that room.
"Through my emotions after the game and my anger, you still have to remember, we win and lose as a hockey team because there are so many things that go into a game. The coaches have to help here too, and I don't think I helped in that situation. We need to do this together and that includes the coaches."