The Vancouver Canucks at 1:00 PM today made the announcement of new head coach John Tortorella. The hiring comes at an interesting time for the Canucks as a franchise, which has struggled after an emotional Game Seven Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2011.
After watching Dallas Eakins and Lindy Ruff take positions elsewhere in the NHL Tortorella remained one of the best coaches available, but comes with a number of well-documented quirks.
Simply put, John Tortorella is a talented hockey coach with a very low tolerance for incompetence. Ask a stupid question in a media scrum? Duck. Play poorly on the power play? Your last name has just become a memorable sound bite. Forgot to turn your ringer off during a scrum?
Tortorella is an intense guy who will inherently become the storyline wherever he coaches, but all these qualities could make him the perfect fit for the Vancouver Canucks.
After two first-round playoff disappointments the Canucks could use a kick-start, and John Tortorella has put the boots to a few players in his day.
While many rightfully worry about the effect a personality like Tortorella’s could have on a team like the Canucks, I submit that the Sedins and their teammates are the perfect crew to thrive under the ferocious head coach.
First of all, the Sedins seem to have no ego whatsoever. Having developed their game during the brutal “Sedin Sisters” era in Vancouver the duo simply don’t suffer from criticism, and I expect they will easily embrace Tortorella’s aggressive approach.
Following their captain key players like Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, and Zack Kassian should also conform to an aggressive style both in coaching and in play if safe-is-death Tortorella is to take the reigns.
The Canucks are a highly skilled and talented team, and at their best they are one of the more entertaining teams in the NHL, but there is no guarantee Tortorella will return to the style of play that carried his Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004.
Despite the wealth of scoring talent on Vancouver’s roster the NHL just isn’t what is used to be 9 years ago, and Tortorella could have to embrace both sides of his coaching past if he is to succeed in Vancouver.
Alain Vigneault was notorious for employing a defensive style of play while rarely opening the game up with a healthy roster, but will Tortorella find balance between Safe Is Death and The Shot-Blocking Blues?
The experiment began Tuesday afternoon, and if Tortorella’s arrival at YVR the other day was any indication we can expect another amazing relationship to blossom between Torts and the local hockey media.
— Matt Lee (@mattlee61) June 21, 2013
Get your popcorn ready.