No matter how much he said it wasn't, Saturday's game in New York between the Rangers and visiting Vancouver Canucks was largely about John Tortorella's return to MSG. Chris Kreider did his part to alter the narrative, but only slightly.
The Rangers rookie who could never manage to stay up in the NHL and find a big role under Tortorella in New York, gave the Rangers two early goals and then finished off a hat trick in the third period to officially turn the game into a rout, giving the Blueshirts a 5-1 lead at that time (Rangers eventually won 5-2).
It was the first multi-goal game of Kreider's career, not just his first hat trick. He took his goal total on the season from three to six in one big afternoon and against his former coach to boot, a coach who we can safely say didn't have the utmost confidence in the young Kreider. He had this to say last season when the Rangers called up Kreider from the AHL:
"We want to play with a little pace, so that's who we go with," Tortorella said. "There's a number of guys we talked about. I'm still not crazy about bringing a kid here, but we felt with his assets, his speed especially, that's who we'll go with."
In the shortened 2012-13 season, Kreider appeared in 23 games, less than half, and averaged just 10:07 per game. Granted, Kreider was young and still developing at the NHL level but he wasn't given much of a shot under Torts in New York, something he has been given this season. Under Alain vigneault Kreider has been playing more than 17 minutes per game in what is now 20 games this season and has been very productive on top of it, getting his chance in the NHL and really flourishing.
Tortorella meanwhile had hoped to come in, 'kick their ass' and leave but the Rangers were the team doing the kicking while Torts was lashing his own team on the bench. Alex Edler found himself on the wrong end of Torts' wrath after one of Kreider's goals (via @GoldandorSmith).
Conclusion: It was not the return to New York that Torts was hoping for.