The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday
The new warm and fuzzy persona that John Tortorella is presenting in his new role as the coach of the Vancouver Canucks has passed its first stress test.
And, by all accounts, the former New York Rangers firebrand was able to maintain his cool as a cucumber approach as the Canucks met Tortorella’s old employer in Vancouver.
It would have been the perfect opportunity for Tortorella to flash his fiery temper, his first meeting against his old team now being coached by the laid-back Alain Vigneault, the man he replaced in Vancouver.
But there was no hint of hostility from Tortorella, writes Elliott Pap in the Vancouver Sun, no mean-spirited digs or steely-eyed glares at members of the New York media who were lobbing the questions.
“I know you’re going to dig at me but I’m not going to go back to what happened,” Tortorella replied evenly when asked if he held any resentment to getting fired by the Rangers after last season.
Despite the Canucks lopsided win – and yes, it is still just the pre-season – Tony Gallagher writes in the Vancouver Province that Vancouver's brand might be tiring a shade.
Grunwald dumped by the Knicks
It was an active night for sporting news for the teams from New York City.
In basketball, the New York Knicks announced a shocker, bringing back former Madison Square Garden president Steve Mills to replace Glen Grunwald as the Knicks’ executive vice-president and general manager.
Grunwald is a former GM of the Toronto Raptors.
All Grunwald did was help put together the pieces that led to the Knicks winning 54 games in the NBA last season. But that was obviously not enough to satisfy Knicks owner James Dolan.
The hiring of Mills, writes Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News shows that Dolan doesn’t have a clue when it comes to running a basketball team.
It was Mills who first brought Isiah Thomas to the Knicks operation and Thomas has maintained a relationship with Dolan since he was dispatched.
The return of Mills, writes Nate Taylor and Harvey Araton in the New York Times, could be a signal that Thomas will once again have a major voice in the Knicks operations.
Rivera closes out his stay in New York
Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in baseball history, shut the books on his storied career with his final appearance for New York at Yankee Stadium and it was an emotional send-off for all.
In the ninth inning, after Rivera got the second out second out against the Tampa Bay Rays, New York manager Joe Girardi remained on the bench.
In a classy move that will forever be recalled, Girardi sent veterans Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter out to the mound to remove Rivera from the game for one last time before the adoring home town masses.
It was a moment for untapped emotions, led by Rivera himself whose tears started to flow at the mound.
“After 19 years of dead-eyed stoicism,” writes Jeff Passan on Yahoo.com, “Mariano Rivera let down his guard and took one minute to cry his eyes out.”
The only downer on the night as far as the Yankees were concerned was the outcome of the game, a 4-0 Tampa victory.
The Rays, who won for the 12 time in their last 15, have now whittled their magic number to earn an A.L. wild card berth to two games.
And speaking of the Yankees, Kevin Kernan speculates in the New York Post that Girardi, whose contract runs out after the season is over, could wind up as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
49ers back on track
Football fans in San Francisco are resting easier now that the 49ers have seemingly turned a corner with a dominating 35-11 win over the St. Louis Rams
After an agonizing 1-2 start to the season, the defending NFC champion 49ers “in the blink of an eye” showed that all is now well writes Chris Burke on SI.com