The last time Tim Thomas laced up his skates in Vancouver to play it was to backstop the Boston Bruins in the deciding game of their 2011 Stanley Cup victory.
The enigmatic goaltender marked his return to Rogers Arena but it was as a member of the Florida Panthers and the result was once again a cause for consternation to the sliding Canucks.
The Panthers skated to a 3-2 shootout victory, stretching the Canucks winless streak to five games as well as stretching the patience of combustible coach John Tortorella.
“We sucked, it was easily our worst game of the year,” Tortorella ranted after the game. “We didn’t deserve a point. I don’t think anyone played well.
“This clunker makes no sense. It was a total lack of respect (for the Panthers). This one kicks me in the side of the head.”
The coach was upset early to the point where Tortorella did not make a player available during the first intermission for a Sportsnet interview which, in retrospect, might have been doing TV viewers a bit of a favor.
Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was busy poking fun at himself heading into the game on his Twitter account, joking that he was at the Canadian Tire picking up an air pump.
It was a sublime reference to Luongo’s outburst before Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins when he complained he was busy pumping Thomas’s tires.
For his part, Thomas remained busy before the game, reminding his teammates that he had enjoyed a rather important victory in Vancouver .
As for the franchise itself, it was Florida’s first victory in Vancouver since back in 1993-94 when the Panthers were just an expansion team.
“After the game we said, ‘now we’ve all won here,'” Thomas said afterward.
In Toronto, the Leafs skated to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders, a game in which the streaky Phil Kessel broke through for two goals, giving him 12 on the season.
Perhaps more noteworthy as far as the Leafs are concerned is that David Clarkson, their high-priced off-season addition, finally broke through for his first of the year.
As for the puzzling Islanders, they just can seem to figure themselves out this season, now mired just two points out of last place in the Metro Division.
Cano, the next Michael Jordan?
Interesting tactics the agents of Robinson Cano have resorted to, trying to sell the second baseman as the next Michael Jordan as they troll for a new contract said to be in excess of $300-million over 10 years for the free agent.
The Yankees are said to have countered with an offer of 7-years, $160-million, so there is a little ground to make up if Cano is going to remain in New York.
Cano’s agents, who include Jay Z, are supposedly trying to portray their client as a rock star, who can make a difference not only on the field but off the field as someone who can drum up television ratings and sell tickets.
Although Jordan once took a stab at baseball it was of course in basketball that he carved out his incredible legacy as one of the game’s greatest stars.
Comparing Cano to Jordan “is dumber than hamsters” writes one New York tabloid columnist, who are having a field day with the story.
Although Cano is an above average player “he does not move many needles,” writes John Sherman in the New York Post.
Sherman illustrates his point with a joke, saying that Jay Z and Cano walk into a bar:
The bartender says to a customer, “You know that guy just might reach 3,000 hits.”
The customer says, “No doubt, but who the hell is that with Jay Z?”
The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web most weekday mornings