The John Tortorella era in Vancouver hasn’t been entirely without confrontation. There was that time last month when he threatened to “walk” if cellphones went off during his press conferences. And he got in a bit of a yelling match with the Edmonton bench earlier this month.
But besides a few isolated incidents, the famously volatile head coach has actually been pretty measured in his approach.
“He’s got a good sense of humour about it all and is just a lot quieter and calm,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said, per The Province. “He’s a very good coach and doing things behind the bench through the course of a game to change momentum — and to keep momentum.
“For me, from the time we hired John, it’s been an invigorating exercise with a fresh approach in how the game is thought about. It was a difficult transition to go through, but it’s also one that I’ve enjoyed after the fact. I really like the way he’s handling the team.”
Torts has certainly had opportunity to fly off the handle. But, for example, a 4-1 home loss to Montreal on Oct. 12, complete with a third-period no-show from his troops, was met with a simple, “We didn’t play a good third period.”
Of course, that’s only what he told reporters. His message may have been a little different when he spoke to his players in private.
At any rate, it’s still early. The real test for Tortorella’s composure will be if the Canucks (5-4-1) are out of a playoff position later in the season. And if that doesn’t happen, the test will certainly come in the playoffs.
Vancouver plays the Islanders tonight in Uniondale before finishing its seven-game trip with games Thursday in New Jersey and Friday in St. Louis.