Fort Never-Smooth? John Tortorella on Crazy Nassau Coliseum Games

He's coaching a new team a full continent away, but memories of crazy tilts at Nassau Coliseum are still fresh in John Tortorella's mind.

"An absolute mess, right on through. It seems like every time we come into this building -- I've come here quite a bit with New York [Rangers] -- it turns into a cluster. And it was that tonight."

That's Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella answering a question regarding what he thought of his team's 5-4 overtime win over the New York Islanders Tuesday night.

(Completely unrelated, but the post-game scrum video also has him by the side of two young Long Island friends who he says are battling through health challenges. Nice touch. h/t Nucks Misconduct)

Tortorella, of course, has coached many a hectic game at the Coliseum -- not just during his recent tenure behind the Rangers bench, but also in his Lightning days where a five-game playoff series with the Islanders had its share of hi-jinks.

Anyway, though his Ranger games with the Isles were filled with back and forths and the emotion that comes with that charged rivalry, it's amusing that his memories of those encounters are still close enough to the surface to say "we" when referring to his new team on one of its rare visits (and the first of his tenure) to the Coliseum.

But looking back at Isles-Rangers tilts during the Tortorella era, you can understand why.

Last spring featured two dramatic overtime wins for the Rangers at the Coliseum as both teams chased low-seed playoff spots. The previous season saw a 4-2 win for each side as well as an Isles shootout win. And 2010-11 saw a 6-2 Isles win, a 6-4 Isles win, and a 6-5 Rangers win.

Overtimes, lead changes and games where a team scores six goals: in a coach's book those are certainly candidates for the "hot mess" category.

It may no longer earn the title of "Fort Neverlose," but with games like that -- not to mention the ice that was bad last night and has been bad most nights this season -- "Fort Neversmooth" sounds apt.

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