Toast to Torts

John Tortorella, the new head coach for your Vancouver Canucks!

John Tortorella: Head Coach for your Vancouver Canucks!

“One of my dreams … was hoping some day I could coach in Canada. To be with this team where it’s at … I couldn’t be more excited.” – Torts at his 1st official Canuck Press Conference

I know I am more than a little late to the party BUT I wanted to wait until closer to the season to post this. I believe it is fair to say that following a Q&A from the fans and his introduction to Vancouver media, John Tortorella had turned a lot of people from their preconceived notions regarding his demeanor. Everyone seemed to be expecting to see the man who hates losing and has put himself into hot water with his words but that was not the man who presented himself to the fans and this city [except of course, he still hates losing as do we all!]. Does he have a past and has he made mistakes? YES, hasn’t everyone?! Tortorella acknowledged from the get go of both interviews that he’s working to change that perception of himself and noted that he doesn’t want to put himself or the Canucks organization in a sticky situation.

Every SINGLE time he has addressed the media, EVERYTHING he has said is OVER analyzed. He recently made comments in regards to his dislike for twitter and that he does not want his players to use it too much or leak what’s happening within the locker room. Is it wrong of him to want to keep team dynamics private? I don’t think so. Shortly following what the media dubber his twitter tirade, during another media press conference a cameraman’s cell phone went off interrupting the conference causing Torts to threaten to walk if it happened again. Perhaps a little rash to walk out BUT recently the local media have had little or NO respect for the team.

For the first two pre-season games, Torts was not behind the Canucks bench but rather watching from above. Many commentators and fans alike disagreed with this decision. I liked the decision. By watching from above he could get a real sense of this team, the prospects and see what areas need to be addressed before the regular season begins come October 3rd.

Things are not going to be the same with Torts at the helm of this team and whatever perspective you had of him before is likely to change. He’s going to run a tight ship and the team will have to work hard BUT perhaps his style is what they need to get that extra push throughout the season and down the stretch drive.

Success can be hard to come by in any career but looking at the history of John Tortorella, one can see that he has achieved many success at every level of his coaching career. He has coached the AHL’s Rochester Americans to the Calder Cup victory in 1996, coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to Stanley Cup Victory in 2004 [also won the Jack Adams award in 2004], and helped to coach the US Olympic team to a Silver medal in the 2010 Olympics.

NHL coaching record: In the 854 NHL games he has coached, Torts has amassed a record of 410 WINS-340 LOSSES-37 TIES-67 OVERTIME LOSSES. This year with the Canucks, he will surpass the 900 games coached milestone. Let’s hope it’s a big year for Torts and the team!

He might not have been the coach that many desired or expected to land in Vancouver BUT he is the coach that chosen for the job. He might possibly stir up the media with a comment or two that they over analyze as they do everything. He might do things that make you question his motives BUT everything he does in regards to the team will be to push them to give their best every game. Will they win every game? Probably not, BUT hopefully each loss[may they be few!] will teach them something and be another push to make them better individually and as a team.

I’ll leave you with this last quote from Torts:

“It’s a pretty unique situation coming to a team that’s winning, that has done a lot of great things along the way [like] almost winning a Stanley Cup [in 2011],” he said. “It’s the next level the [Canucks] organization is looking for. I know how I’m going to approach it. It’s going to be asking the players that are here, hopefully some younger players coming through to our organization, for more out of them.”

Welcome to Vancouver, Torts! I look forward to the ups and downs and all the in between as this new chapter with the team begins!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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