The New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks tonight for the first of two meetings this season -- a refreshing contrast to lockout scheduling and pre-lockout imbalanced schedules with the other conference. We swapped questions on that topic and tonight's game with Kent Basky of Nucks Misconduct, the keeper of all things Canucks on SB Nation.
(You can see my answers to Kent over here, but if you're a regular reader of LHH you've heard it all before. So go banter with Canucks fans and tell them how wrong I am.)
Lighthouse Hockey: How's life under John Tortorella? What's been the biggest change? From afar, it looks like the Sedins are adjusting just fine, though I see the team is hovering at NHL .500. Do you think this might work?
Kent: Well, I think the most noticeable difference so far is work ethic. We're seeing guys actually give a crap, which was one of the biggest issues with Vigneault during the end of his tenure.
Tortorella's a hands-on coach, and while some in this market are panicking, we should all realize this is a work in progress. This road trip actually may turn out to be a blessing in disguise because of different situations this team's found themselves in. They seem to learn from their mistakes and move forward a lot better already. Other than that, it's a typical Vancouver October. They win a few, lose a few, Luongo gets into a groove and they roll from there.
LHH note: We were looking forward to finding the Canucks in a "try to catch Grabner" situation. But alas. The Shanabell tolls for he.
LHH: I know it's just two games under his belt, but is Eddie Lack going to make it as an NHL goalie? If so, how do you find those? Asking for a friend.
Kent: A friend? Tell Garth we said hello. I think Lack's gonna be fine. He was really solid in his time in the AHL, and it's just unfortunate that he suffered the hip injury last season, though he seems to have recovered just fine.
While he may not be a superstar in the making, he's definitely able to be a solid and dependable back up right now. Will he blossom into a #1? Time will tell, I suppose.
LHH: How is Roberto Luongo's head these days regarding the whole "I'm still a Canuck" thing?
Kent: I think for the most part, he's cool with everything. I am positive that there are still some issues lingering in the back of his mind, but overall all of this is likely going to keep him focused and more determined than ever. Some have written him off, even here in Vancouver, so he has a lot to prove.
He's going to be fine, and then over the summer they can deal with what they need to do, which I suppose will be determined by the team's success this season.
LHH: Realignment and You: Like it, or not?
Kent: LOVE IT. Just from a travel standpoint, having no teams more than one time zone different is amazing. I also dig the fact that we no longer have to play Minnesota six times a year. They're awful people, team... fans... all of them. They can all go choke on some lutefisk. Heh.
Seriously though I think that being in a more competitive division is better for the Canucks and not worse like some predicted. Getting into battles more often with better teams is a good thing. Building these rivalries up with LA, Anaheim and those d-bags in San Jose is already a lot of fun.
Our thanks to Kent, and our worst wishes to his team. Follow him on the twitterverse at @KentBaskyNM.