Now that John Tortorella is out with the Vancouver Canucks, details about how he ran the show in his one season with the team are finding their way out.
Gary Mason of the Globe And Mail shared some curious tidbits he’s learned about how the embattled former coach handled the situation in Vancouver. To say the least, it’s an eye-opener.
— Tortorella wanted the organization to buy out forward Alex Burrows. In 49 games during an injury-addled season, Burrows, 32, had five goals and 15 points and has three more years left on his contract with a $4.5 million cap hit.
— Injuries were a big problem for the Canucks this season and they had to dip into the AHL ranks for help often. Problem there, according to Mason, was Torts never spoke once with Utica Comets coach Travis Green. It’s tough to know who you’ve got on the way up if you’re not discussing it with the coach and that put former GM Mike Gillis even more on the spot to try and help the team.
— Torts wasn’t one much for practices this season, apparently. Mason said players felt the coach didn’t have the team practicing enough during the season. He also accused David Booth of being late for a meeting he was early for.
With this pile of apparent issues, it’s incredible to think the organization hurried to get Tortorella in place and signed him to a five-year contract last summer. Now that Torts and Gillis are both out of town, let’s just marvel at how this all came apart this season.
Busy day in Minnesota, as the Wild made a series of moves to get to their 23-man roster.
Perhaps the most prominent move was the demotion of young defenseman Mike Reilly.
Reilly, the prized University of Minnesota product, made headlines this summer after balking on signing with his draft team, Columbus, to join his hometown Wild.
The 22-year-old failed to leapfrog any of the club’s veterans in training camp, however, and Minnesota will now open with a top-six defense comprised of Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Mathew Dumba, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin.
Journeyman Nate Prosser will serve as the club’s seventh d-man.
Up front, good news for former seventh-round pick Tyler Graovac — he’s won the club’s third-line center job, thanks to a roster spot created after Jordan Schroeder was waived and Justin Fontaine was placed on IR.
Graovac, 22, has spent the majority of his pro career with AHL Iowa and impressed in ’14-15, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he’ll add some size to the Wild lineup.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”