|Tortorella, Dubinsky, Avery, Boyle, Voros (Photo credit: dbostrom)|
Kevin Oklobzija, Democrat and Chronicle --- "They know how to push each other's buttons pretty well," Nichol said this morning.
It has been 18 1/2 years since the first Tortorella/Hartley encounter and time surely hasn't made the hearts grow fonder. Tortorella does, however, remain steadfast in his commitment to his team.
So why didn't Tortorella defuse the situation against the Canucks by putting out a skill line? Why exacerbate the matter by choosing to deploy your set of nuclear weapons against the Hartley starters? Is someone really going to jump the Sedin twins?
"Is someone going to jump Phil Kessel," Nichol countered. "John Scott did (in the Sabres-Maple Leafs preseason game)."
"Players respect that he (Tortorella) has their back," Nichol said. "As a player, you rally around that. It's been his M.O. for a long time: us against the world. The team is an inner circle and if anyone outside that inner circle tries to interfere, he erupts."
The Hartley M.O. hasn't changed much either: He loves his tough-guys and wants his team to be nasty and abrasive.
"Hartley always, always, always, always wanted his team to be tougher than they really were," said Scott Metcalfe, the Amerks Hall of Famer who played a key role with Nichol and Dan Frawley on that 1996 Calder Cup team.
Tortorella never backs down from a challenge. He doesn't think his team ever should, either.