For the Vancouver Canucks, the John Tortorella era officially starts tonight in San Jose against the same team that swept them out of the playoffs in May.
That Sharks’ four-game victory ended up costing Alain Vigneault his long-held job behind the Canucks’ bench, paving the way for the hiring of Tortorella, who was fired by the New York Rangers, who then hired Vigneault.
Yeah, it’s been an interesting summer.
According to Tortorella, the goal for his team tonight can be summed up with one word: aggression.
“I just hope we’re aggressive,” he said, per NHL.com. “We have a mindset that if we’re going to make mistakes it’s going to be through the aggressive side, not testing the waters, not being in-between. We’ll chip out the mistakes as we go through, but I want those mistakes to be made by being over-aggressive.”
Specifically, Tortorella has said he wants his defensemen getting up the ice and pinching to keep pucks in, even if it means the occasional odd-man rush surrendered.
Vancouver’s top four blue-liners — Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison, and Alex Edler — are, taken as a whole, considered one of the strengths of the team.
On that note, it should be interesting to see how much Tortorella plays those four in 2013-14. In New York, he leaned heavily on the likes of Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and, when healthy, Marc Staal.
Vigneault, on the other hand, liked to spread out the minutes among all six d-men a bit more.