Welcome To Van City John!
One got the sense Tuesday, as John Tortorella addressed the Vancouver media for the very first time, that this is the beginning of a brand new relationship. Vigneault wasn’t an outspoken coach but he was lively and provided personality. Torts gives off an aura that’s on a completely superior level than most coaches around the league though and it was palpable in a packed setting Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 will be Mike Gillis’ and John Tortorella’s anniversary and Johnny is the new boyfriend, which some might call a rebound coach given the time passed between now and when AV left.
The players are Mike’s pets; dogs and cats if you will. These ain’t no farm animals dawg! John already has the approval of the parents in this situation. In fact the parents arranged for Mike and John to form this partnership and see where life might take them, without really knowing what to expect besides a stiff pusher. Alrighty then!
About The Man
Here’s John Tortorella, a Stanley Cup champion coach and Jack Adams award winner, who’s inheriting a group of pets as his own in this very quickly turned serious relationship. Torts can be dumped at any time but there’s a promise on the table of five years. Guess what, the pets have to get used to it and many watched in the flesh Tuesday.
What can they expect and what can we expect, as supporters of this relationship for the players AKA the pets and for the collective cohesiveness and sustainability of the relationship?
John has vowed to change his ways stating he wants to build a relationship with media AKA the cousins. We’re assuming he meant a positive relationship but you never know with this one. There were already some straining moments at the dinner table Tuesday when Torts was asked about the Twins and some random hockey website.
It’s as if the extended family members have all placed bets on how long the relationship can last, but unfortunately for them, John has also vowed to respect the pets, which bodes well for the main relationship (trust me).
Says Tortorella, “I’m dealing with an older team here, as I look at the roster, I think I need to respect the older players and some of the processes they’ve gone through and make adjustments with myself as far as how I handle them. My job as a Head Coach of a hockey team is to push athletes to be the best they can be, to push them to areas where they don’t think they can get.”
Gooooood John, you’re learning quickly. Daniel and Henrik Sedin don’t need you to harp on them, they really don’t. That’s not to say you don’t have the power to separate them from time to time or push them but let’s be honest, they know what they’re doing. They’re already stiff from being old and you know what they say about old dogs.
Fortunately, these dogs are still really good at all the tricks they learned a long time ago.
Today Henrik was quoted as saying, It’s going to be a great fit for us. He expects a lot out of his players and that’s all you can ask for.” Of course it is and that’s an acceptable request from any coach but when you’re trying to perennially compete for the Stanley Cup, you shouldn’t necessarily need a coach to tell you he expects at least 100% from you each and every single night.
“Torts, meet Ryan. Ryan, meet Torts. Oh, you’ve already met? How splendid!?”
Tortorella was at the Vancouver pound a few years back when he met a young pup named Ryan Kesler. Kesler, a perennial Selke trophy nominee was playing the best hockey of his career up until that point and probably still has his best hockey ahead of him now.
Ryan Kesler looked like he wanted to cry in the Norm Jewison media room Tuesday as Torts talked but I’m convinced he only wanted to cry for joy.
Kesler wants to win, there’s no doubt about that and if he can keep a cool head, Tortorella could be the key to creating a permanent version of the Keslord we saw two years ago in Nashville. Kesler is one of the few guys I can see in a profanity laced 24/7 dressing room video jumping up and down getting psyched up as Tortorella screams and shouts.
That is, rather than slumped over looking at the floor or head up staring at the ceiling with a more depressed look than Peter on Homeward Bound when he has to leave Shadow on the farm. The car drives away as Shadow lays on the driveway just how Peter told him to.
It’s quite sad. *TEAR*
Then there’s that good ol’ goalie controversy which only gets new life because of this. That said, it will be likely be short-lived as the goalie market has opened up drastically the last 48 hours with the Bernier/Scrivens swap, Kiprusoff retiring, and Bryzgalov being bought out. Roberto Luongo will be moved (sadly) and Cory Schneider will stop pucks like a beast this coming season.
Van City Pressure
The pressure will always be there for him but it was undoubtedly magnified with Bobby Lu riding the pine. If you need more convincing that it will be Luongo swapped/bought-out/abandoned, John Tortorella is from Boston, a mere 37 minute drive (thanks Google Maps) from Marblehead, MA where Schneids grew up.
Of course Torts nor Gillis would say anything about the situation today and told media they hadn’t even gotten there yet.
Also, Tortorella isn’t the GM but one’s got to think it may have an effect.
Where does that leave everyone else? By everyone else, we mean Jannik Hansen, Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre, Dale Weise and Derek Roy, among others. The last four names there are free agents, Weise being the only one restricted, but assuming all or some of them are re-signed, this is where Tortorella’s magic comes into play the most and it’s where I hope he differs from Alain Vigneault.
AV juggled lines when they didn’t need juggling whereas Torts’ M.O. is, “What have you done for me lately?”
Tortorella has the go ahead to juggle the lines like a circus performer only when the time is right and that’s precisely how he’ll be efficient with all the ass-kickery. If you aren’t playing well, you get demoted or you simply don’t play.
He’ll never sit the Twins, or at least I sure as hell hope he never goes that route, but with almost everyone else, that’s how they will stay motivated throughout the 82-110 game season.
Additionally, this will be the year of Jordan Schroeder. No one expects the kid to score 30 goals and tally another 30 assists (yet) but he will get a full-season’s opportunity.
Tortorella has a proven track record of working with young players, not only having fostered younger guys on the Rangers the last couple years but also having won a Calder Cup as Rochester Americans Head Coach in 1995-96.
Don’t be surprised if Schroeder and even Nicklas Jensen get 2nd and 3rd line playing time this season if someone ahead of them falters.
As John pointed out Tuesday, there is no coach in the league that doesn’t want to score more, but defence wins you championships and it’s about finding that right balance.
With physical balance on the ice, that is if Torts can find it, stronger minds and mental readiness for a two month playoff run will be bred, which Torts said didn’t happen for his Rangers this past post-season.
He also preached everyone doing everything, meaning the Sedins would play on the PK in the future. That’s one thing I’ll believe when I see.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover and some people in VanCity seem to think they can read John Tortorella like a book already.
I believe we are yet to read more than a couple chapters.
Quote of the Day
— Q Smith™ (@NWSBQ) June 25, 2013
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