Tom Sestito, John Tortorella

Tortorella hopes Sweden wins gold because Hamhuis, Luongo won’t play


Vancouver Canucks coach, and Boston native, John Tortorella could’ve had his loyalties split in Sunday’s gold medal game between Canada and Sweden because of the number of Canucks players on both teams.

Instead, Torts sounded off about not having a full boat of players at Canucks practice and very much prefers one team over the other as Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun shares.

“I hope Sweden wins because I don’t think Hammer [Dan Hamhuis] is going to play judging from what’s happened and I don’t think Louie [Roberto Luongo] is going to play,” said Tortorella. “So I don’t give a [bleep] right now because they’re not playing. I just want them back here. I hope Danny [Sedin] scores two goals and [Alex] Edler gets three assists and Sweden wins so they come back feeling good about themselves because it’s going to help us. That’s all I’m concerned about right now.”

Tell us how you really feel, coach.

Dan Hamhuis has been in Canada’s lineup but not playing many, if any, minutes in games as the seventh defenseman. Roberto Luongo has been backing up Carey Price through most of the Olympic tournament. Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler, meanwhile, have been getting steady play and minutes with Sweden.

Despite the harsh words, the takeaway from this is simple: If guys aren’t going to play, Tortorella would rather have them with him in Vancouver doing workouts and practicing with the team. He just has a very colorful way of saying that is all.

After seventh straight loss, Tortorella takes the blame

John Tortorella, Brad Richardson, Tom Sestito

TORONTO — Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wants you to point the finger at him when it comes to the team’s losing ways of late.

The Canucks lost their seventh straight game after dropping a 3-1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Following the game, Tortorella owned up to the team’s recent slide and put the losses squarely on his and the coaching staff’s shoulders.

“It’s pretty obvious the coaching staff here has not done a good job teaching details of situational play,” Tortorella said. “Third period, wall play, underneath the puck – we just have not done a good enough job because our guys are just not consistent at it. It’s going to be a huge focus as we get through this break and get ready to play again.”

The Canucks went into the third period holding a 1-0 lead over the Leafs, but goals from Mason Raymond, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk put Toronto over the top.

“It’s the way it’s going but we can’t be in that situation,” Tortorella said. “We can’t let the momentum change in that third period the way it did. And that’s details. I need to take full responsibility for that. Obviously I have not taught that well enough because we continue to make the same mistakes in crucial times of the game. You guys may not see the little things that happen before goals, we do. That’s situational play and we have not been consistent enough with it.”

The Olympic break comes at an ideal time for the Canucks. Not only are they mired in a losing streak, but they’re without five regular players. Forwards Henrik Sedin and Mike Santorelli and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Christopher Tanev, and Yannick Weber.

“Mentally and physically hopefully we’ll get some bodies back also,” Tortorella said about the Olympic break. “It was a dog’s breakfast as far as the [road] trip, three in a row losing them all. We’re in a spiral so it couldn’t come for a better time mentally and getting guys back also.”

PHT Morning Skate: Tortorella thrilled for Martin St. Louis

Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis (26) looks up during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Trevor Hagan)

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is thrilled that Team Canada picked Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis as Steven Stamkos’ replacement. Tortorella coached St. Louis for parts of seven seasons before the Lightning parted ways with the bench boss. (

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Martin Brodeur said that it’s “not a big deal” that he won’t be going to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he admitted to some nostalgia as the games draw near. Meanwhile, he’s waiting to find out if he’ll go a month between starts. (The Bergen Record)

Although it’s not entirely in their control, the Chicago Blackhawks’ goal is to enter the Olympic break with the best record in the Western Conference. (CSN Chicago)

The Nashville Predators are just 1-7 in shootouts this season and that might end up being what costs them a postseason berth. (The Tennessean)

The Edmonton Oilers experimented with moving Nail Yakupov to the team’s top line on Thursday and the initial results were good. (Edmonton Sun)

Max Pacioretty had a hat trick on Thursday, but he said he would’ve been kicking himself if Montreal ended up losing because he also failed on two penalty shots. (Montreal Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been very happy with Deryk Engelland’s recent play, which is why they’ve made efforts to keep him in the lineup, even if it means using the defenseman as a forward. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Tortorella: ‘We need to change this hockey team’


It’s not Eddie Lack’s fault that the Vancouver Canucks dropped their fourth game in a row (and five of their last six) via a 2-0 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, but he was frustrated nonetheless.

“We can’t buy a win right now,” Lack said. “I’m trying to do my job and keep us in every game. It’s tough.”

Head coach John Tortorella praised Lack and David Booth after the defeat, but aside from that, he was as glum about his team on Monday night as he was earlier in the day.

“We need to change this hockey team,” Tortorella said. “We were a slow team. Lack of offence. This really worries me.”

Does that mean Torts might want changes that extend beyond acquiring Raphael Diaz? That remains to be seen, but Vancouver needs to find some way out of this funk or a playoff berth could slip through their fingers.

Tortorella returns, says Canucks are ‘off the rails’


Canucks head coach John Tortorella will return from his 15-day suspension to take on Detroit tonight and, to hear him explain it, he’s returning to a team that’s lost its way.

“We’re off the rails on a lot of different aspects,” Tortorella said of his team, which went 2-4-0 in his absence. “Every aspect of our game is off. This team can and will play the right way.”

Tortorella, who’s been away from the team since going after Calgary coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18, was apologetic on Monday, saying he “embarrassed” his family and the organization, adding his suspension came at a time then the Canucks probably needed him most.

“I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the league. It hasn’t been a great two weeks,” he said. “I didn’t help matters for this team and we’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back.”

The Canucks won just once in regulation during Tortorella’s absence — a 2-1 victory in Edmonton — and also beat Phoenix in OT. But his time away was largely marked by defeats (to Nashville, Edmonton, Chicago and Winnipeg) and an inability to score goals. Vancouver had just 15 over the six games, five coming in one outing against the Coyotes.

Tortorella says there are many things for his players to deal with, and they’ll start with what’s between their ears.

“We had meetings this morning, we have a long list of things we need to improve at,” he said. “We need to start over on the mental side.”