John Tortorella is “dying” to see David Booth play.
Torts should get his wish tonight when the Vancouver Canucks host the New York Rangers in pre-season action at Rogers Arena.
“I’m dying to see him in game action, I haven’t seen him in game action since he stuffed some goals in on us when I was in Tampa,” said Tortorella. “He’s a really good player that makes us a better team and we’re just trying to get him healthy.”
Booth had an injury filled 2012-13 campaign missing 36 games with groin and ankle injuries. After suffering a setback early this pre-season, he was primed to make his pre-season debut Saturday in Edmonton, but didn’t feel right about it.
Booth isn’t rushing a return to the ice; he’s done with all the injuries and wants to make sure the time is right.
That will likely be tonight versus the Rangers.
“Unless something happens between now and game time, and there’s a possibility of that, but yeah, I’ll play,” said Booth, following the Canucks morning skate.
“I think you’ve just got to jump in there, I’ve practiced a few times with the team, but I’ve got to get games in. If I can get through this game and have a good week of practice, I don’t see why I can’t be ready for October 3rd.”
Booth said he is as anxious to show off what he can do to his new coach, but cautioned he won’t be back to his old ways right off the bat.
“It’s going to be frustrating, I know that, but you can’t get down. It’s going to take some time to get my balance back and my timing and coordination and seeing the ice, just getting on your edges, that stuff only comes with time and I want to do that now rather than wait another week.”
Tortorella revealed a few other line-up changes for tonight: Roberto Luongo will start, Frankie Corrado and Kevin Bieksa will both play, Jason Garrison will not, Jordan Schroeder is in a bootcast and will miss approximately three weeks of action, and there’s no update on the status of Nicklas Jensen.
VIGNEAULT VS. TORTORELLA
Alain Vigneault, the all-time winningest coach in Canucks franchise history, returns to Vancouver for the first time since becoming bench boss of the New York Rangers.
How the crowd reacts to Vigneault remains to be seen, but his former players are excited to shake hands with AV and thank him for all he did for them as individuals and this franchise overall.
“We got here at the same time so we went through this whole process together,” reflected Roberto Luongo. “We did a lot as a team, we didn’t get a chance to win that Game 7, but we did win a lot of things and we make it to Game 7 of the Final, so it was a great run by him and our team and unfortunately these things happen in sports.”
“It’ll be good to see him,” added Daniel Sedin. “He meant a lot to this organization and to us as players. He gave me and Henrik a chance to be first line players and we’ll be forever thankful for that.”
A lot was made during the off-season of the change from Vigneault to Tortorella, but it’s been so far, so good, for the Canucks, who are adapting to Torts’ ways and enjoying his honest approach.
“His attitude has been great, it’s a learning process for us too, it’s a new system and he’s been real good,” said Daniel. “I talked to a few guys before the season and they all had good things to say about him. If you do your best and play his system, he’ll be good to you.
“He’s an honest guy, he’s going to tell you when you play bad and he’s going to tell you when you play good too – it’s good.”