Sometimes it feels like no one is safe from the wrath of John Tortorella.
There was the “absolute stupidity” that led to his lengthy suspension following that unforgettable locker room confrontation with Bob Hartley in 2014. He seems to relish opportunities to criticize players from other teams, particularly members of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He’s the sort of guy who inspires highlight reels of his “best” and saltiest comments:
The “fiery” coach freely admits that he could get along better with the media.
Long story short, Torts spews venom outward, but his own players encounter the bile as well. David Booth reminded us of as much on Thursday as he recalled his Canucks days:
This seems like a decent excuse to take a trip down memory lane and look at Torts’ best/worst moments. (For the sake of keeping this greatest hits package under three discs, we’ll skip his long-ago Lightning days.)
Tortorella hasn’t been with the Blue Jackets for very long, yet there are rumblings here and there that he’s not gotten along with certain personalities.
Both the Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen deny that there was a rift with Tortorella, yet the rumors were abundant. If nothing else, it’s clear Torts told Johansen that he felt he was out of shape.
Torts only coached the Canucks for 67 games, but it was a pretty disastrous time, even beyond the Hartley scream-down. Tortorella has also memorably clashed with Adam Oates (who said he could easily beat him up) and Peter DeBoer over the years, just to name a couple other coaches.
Benching Roberto Luongo during the Heritage Classic likely hastened his departure. Accurate or not, it was a little harsh to label Zack Kassian the way he did in public. There may have been issues with Alex Burrows and there were questions regarding whether Torts “lost the locker room.”
Oh, and remember his tirade toward Jannik Hansen?
Bumpy exit from Big Apple
Torts enjoyed a long run with the New York Rangers. Still, things ended in an even uglier fashion than you usually see when a coach exits a team.
Henrik Lundqvist denied calling for his firing, but reports indicated that multiple Rangers wanted him out. Things got weird with Brad Richards despite his assurances and he deflected questions about how he got along with Marian Gaborik. His back-and-forth with Carl Hagelin was pretty entertaining, too.
Sean Avery seemed to savor Torts’ firing the most, but that’s up to debate.
One can almost picture former Tortorella charges handing each other gifts like Johan Franzen “gave” to Gustav Nyquist in regards to Mike Babcock:
Maybe Booth will hand Brandon Dubinsky something similar, considering the rugged forward’s experiences playing under Torts for the Rangers and now the Blue Jackets?
(H/T to The Score for the Booth tweet.)