Alain Vigneault

Blog: Alain Vigneault returns to Vancouver. John Tortorella’s still on Broadway.

The coaches switched teams this offseason, and AV will coach against the Canucks he almost won a Stanley Cup with just two years ago.

Who would know it’s the preseason?

Tonight’s frosh week finale has all the makings of a matinee worth seeing – because, really, who wants to see Fast and Furious at noon on a Saturday? – and it’s not because of the guys on the ice. It’s because of Alain Vigneault, the coach who led the Canucks to two Presidents’ Trophies and a Stanley Cup, as well as six Northwest Division titles, from 2006-2013. It’s because of John Tortorella, the former Rangers coach and YouTube clip star who now heads the same Canucks team Vigneault was banished from. Oh, and AV’s now the bench boss behind the Broadway blues.

But, you know this. So, who cares?

Well, many do. They know it doesn’t matter – in the standings – but everyone who would watch it is ready to do so. It’s not about the win or the two points that casually come with any victory. It’s for the same reason you want to win a $5 game of poker. It’s pride.

In the same way that Cory Schneider’s and Bo Horvat’s careers will be forever linked, fair or not, and in the same way that Cody Hodgson’s and Zack Kassian’s careers will be forever linked, fair or not, Alain Vigneault’s and John Tortorella’s new tenures will be forever linked, too.

Forever may be a hyperbole. Sports writers tend to do that. Sometimes, at my worst, I consider myself one.

Already, Team 1040’s Jeff Paterson has reported that New York Post columnist Larry Brooks, the famed media sparring partner Torts knows all too (virally) well from his time in Manhattan, is in Vancouver to cover tonight’s preseason finale.

Really? You flew across country for a preseason game? Why not just change your residence from Wall Street to Granville Street and follow Tortorella around all the time?

“This was a kinder, gentler John Tortorella,” Larry Brooks told TSN’s Farhan Lalji on Thursday. “We’ll see how it goes when it counts.

“He has many, many more good days than bad days. It’s just, the bad days make news… I think he will make a real effort to change his image as it’s been represented in his dealings with the media. I think that’s pretty clear.

“I’d be disappointed if the other side of Torts doesn’t come out at some point. I think everyone would be disappointed. Don’t you?”

Good on Brooks to bury the hatchet, and good on him for admitting there wasn’t even one to bury. Dogging Tortorella for the few embarrassing clips in his past is as fair as the Bluth’s high school airing that George Michael “Lightsaber” scene from Season 2 of Arrested Development.

Larry Brooks writes for a tabloid. He’s good at it, but it’s a tabloid. So is the Internet, I guess, but that doesn’t mean we’re getting closer to a “What’s Important?” bull’s eye.

Tortorella. Vigneault. Canucks. Rangers. For whatever reason, these two franchises can’t escape each other. It’s the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. It’s Mark Messier’s flight from JFK to YVR, and Markus Naslund’s flight in the opposite direction.

Tonight, the circus comes to town. Wait, no… it’s already here:

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