John Tortorella is a family man
John Tortorella can thank Dmitry Afanasenkov for helping clean up his reputation, as the former Tampa Bay Lightning winger recently said some rather complimentary things about the oft-maligned coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Speaking to Alexei Shevchenko of khl.ru, Afanasenkov stated that Tortorella is "a hockey man through-and-through" and "a true professional", but "for him family always comes first."
Expanding on those comments, Afanasenkov said this:
"(Tortorella) was always telling us that while we should regard the game (and) the team as very important it must not be at the expense of our families. There was one occasion, just after my wife had given birth, and I was spending a lot of time with her, helping her, and this time I overslept. It was during the play-offs and we were to meet at six, and I woke up at 5:55. I jumped up, got dressed in a couple of seconds and hurried off to the arena. I was still late, but when I walked in John just asked me how things were with my wife and child."
Asked if he ended up playing in that game, Afanasenkov added: "I played, yes, and for quite a while. Although I was very groggy."
On a different note, Afanasenkov spoke about winning the Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and taking it back to his hometown of Archangelsk in Russia:
"I thought it might help in some way to develop the game up there, and that they’d build a rink or something, but sadly that didn’t happen. Well, they did build a rink but it’s already falling apart."
The full interview can be read here.