How many ways can one say this season was NOT picture perfect in any way? Well after over 3 weeks of fans waiting to hear will he or will he not be fired, the Vancouver Canucks made it official with the announcement that John Tortorella had been relieved of his coaching duties. Some people will be incredibly ecstatic about this news, some will be upset and some will likely not care at all.
The team released the follow press release (May 1, 2014):
Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden announced today that Head Coach John Tortorella and Assistant Coach Mike Sullivan have been relieved of their coaching duties.
“Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team,” said Linden. “On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best.”
“We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staff, improve our roster and connect with our fans,” added Linden. “Our General Manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately.”
I’m on the fence on this one as I genuinely like Torts. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea by any means and I didn’t always agree with him but I loved that he wasn’t afraid to stick up for his players or to tell the media how it is. I know that he made some mistakes (don’t all coaches?) but in a year that nearly his entire roster was bogged down by injuries to the point where we only had ONE month of the season that they were all healthy hardly seems enough to judge fairly on. I would have liked to see what would have happened with Torts if he was given the opportunity with a healthy roster. It was a year in which everything that could go wrong did and Torts being at the helm of the ship, is facing the brunt of the consequences. Torts may not have been perfect but he is not solely responsible for everything that went wrong this season with the team.
Torts is not the only coach who was relieved of his duties this season and he won’t be the last. The Canucks are not the only team in the search for a new coach but it is one more task added to their growing list of things to do in preparation for the new season around the corner. The Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, and the Nashville Predators are also looking to fill coaching vacancies prior to next season. No coach no matter what their contract is ever safe from the being let go club. Most notably on this year’s just relieved NHL coach list is Barry Trotz. Barry Trotz saw his 15-year tenure with the Nashville Predators come to an end this year. There are many names the team can look at coaching wise: (John Stevens, Kevin Dineen, Peter Laviolette, etc.) and you can bet that Trotz will also be in that candidate mix. Time will tell if ANY of those names ends up being name as the Canucks head coach or if they will bring in someone else that no one has yet considered.
Love him or hate him, Torts has never been one afraid to speak his mind and he will find his way behind the bench of another NHL team again. One thing is certain, Canucks press conferences will never be the same again. There was never a dull moment in his short tenure with the team but it is time to say so long, farewell to Torts and I wish him the best of luck in the future!
We’re in for many changes over the next months…are you ready for what all that will mean come October, Canucks fans?
As always, until next time, nuck said.