From Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:
And this on the same day Alain Vigneault was introduced as the new head coach of the New York Rangers.
From Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun:
The Canucks told TSN that “no decision has been finalized yet,” but if Lawless’ source is correct and John Tortorella is indeed about to become the next bench boss in Vancouver, it will be extremely interesting to hear why general manager Mike Gillis decided on a coach that was deemed by Rangers general manager Glen Sather to be too defensively minded.
“I like an upbeat, fast style of play with quick transition,” Gillis said recently. “We managed to do that and we were successful.”
Granted, after the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs, Gillis seemed to suggest the club would have a fairly different on-ice philosophy next season — one that was more about winning battles in the corners and in front of the net than using speed and skill to defeat the opposition.
“When I took this job we decided on a style of play that resulted in great success,” said Gillis. “Certainly the landscape has changed. We have to address those changes moving forward. We have no choice.
“It’s not something I necessarily, principally agree in. But that’s what we face. We have to make the changes and adjustments that are necessary to compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s my intention to do it, recognize what is going on and make sure we have a team that is better equipped.”
It may also be unfair to pigeonhole Tortorella as a defensive coach. After all, this is the same guy who won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay with a “safe is death” credo. Perhaps he didn’t feel he had the right personnel in New York to play an attacking style.
There’s also no question that Tortorella can be a great motivator, and after two consecutive first-round exits, the Canucks could possibly use some, er, let’s call it…stimulation.
Though Kevin Bieksa may disagree…