The day after Canucks general manager Mike Gillis went on the radio and promised to “get back to the fundamentals and principles” in which he believes — specifically, an “up-beat, puck-possession, move-the-puck quickly, force-teams-into-mistakes, high-transition game” — coach John Tortorella said he’d prefer to keep any detailed discussions about the team’s style of play an internal matter.
In other words, no comment.
But Tortorella did have something to say to all those who believe the style he’s been teaching the Canucks doesn’t suit the players on the roster.
“I’m not going to go into specifics, but I venture to guess the people that say that really don’t know what we’re teaching as far as the coaching style,” he said.
Then, addressing the reporters around him, Tortorella added, “Somewhere along the line, maybe all of us, at the end of the year we can sit down at a roundtable and you can tell me what you think the style is. And I’d be more than happy to do that, because I don’t think many people really do know what the style is.”
(If true, one might ask in response, what does it say about the job the coach has done that the people who watch the team every day for a living still can’t tell what he’s trying to teach?)
Despite the challenge to reporters, Tortorella did admit to making a “huge mistake” in January when Vancouver started its precipitous slide out of a playoff spot.
“The responsibility that was lost was me in not keeping my foot on the pedal,” he said. “I had to make an adjustment when we were banged up. I had to. But the responsibility falls on me in not getting back quick enough to the style I think we should play.”
You can listen to the audio here.