It's easy to remember the goaltending situation at the outdoor game, the Sedins taking penalties and - yes - his tunnel chat with Bob Hartley - as the low points in Tortorella's only season at the helm in Vancouver. But he should also be remembered for what he said on the way out:
"We have to stop talking about 2011," said Tortorella. "The team needs to be retooled."
As simple as it sounds to us now, it wasn't back then. Back before Benning, Linden and all the fresh faces were here.
And Torts was spot on. It's a retooling/rebuilding/re-whatever the hell you want to call it process that continues to this day, one that showed Kesler and Bieksa the way out of town, one that helped (more recently) cost Higgins and Prust full time gigs and will surely be the driving factor on February 29th depending on what happens in the 11 games before then.
I'm sure a lot of focus on his return will involve how much Torts wants to put a big dent on his former team fighting for their playoff lives. The Jackets just got pants'ed 5-1 to the worst team in the conference two days ago so his focus should rightly be there. But, honestly, do we really care about Torts anymore?
The reality feels pretty simple: if you can't beat the worst team in the league while you're madly scrambling for points, you don't belong in the playoff discussion. San Jose wouldn't blow this game. The Predators wouldn't blow this game.
Will the Canucks?
Human Guinea Pig Formations
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata
Alexandre Burrows - Linden Vey - Emerson Etem
Derek Dorsett - Brandon Sutter - Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler - Chris Tanev
Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega
Ben Hutton - Luca Sbisa
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell - William Karlsson - Matt Calvert
Kerby Rychel - Gregory Campbell - Rene Bourque
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Justin Falk
Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout
I'm not totally confident in these estimates above unless the 'stache is going to roll four lines hard.
1. If the Canucks get comically outshot - as recent history has shown they love doing - how bad will it be?
2. If the Canucks get comically outchanced - as recent history has show they love doing - how bad will the difference be?
3. If they're outshot and outchanced after all that rest on home ice with the playoffs on the line, why wouldn't they be sellers by trade deadline?
This team ain't ready to roll over yet. They're getting their captain back, they're at home and the veterans know what's on the line. Plus Hansen gets his whole first line again (that's right, it's honey badger's line), Horvat is starting to warm up and Burrows doesn't want to get join a certain unloved duo in Utica. Call it 4-0 for the good guys and a shutout for the beleaguered netminder.
What, did I jink it all? The shutout too? Oh shut up puppet, let me have my moment.