Largely out of the spotlight since being turfed by the Canucks last May, John Tortorella appeared on radio Friday morning and took full responsibility for his dismissal.
“I don’t think I did the job for our team in the second half [of the season] with our consistency, and I think that’s what cost me my job,” Tortorella explained on Tampa radio station 620 WDAE. “We couldn’t stop the losing streaks. We needed to win a couple games within those areas.
“Quite honestly, I deserved to be fired after that second half of the year.”
Tortorella — canned after the first of a lucrative five-year, $10 million deal — finished 36-35-11 last season in what was regarded as a disastrous campaign for both himself and the organization; the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time in five years and their anemic offense finished 28th in the NHL.
That said, Torts did have some positive things to say about his time in Vancouver. He praised the group of players he coached and said he made strides to develop a better relationship with the media than he had in past stops, like New York.
But he also acknowledged the incident that left an indelible black mark on his time with the Canucks.
On Jan. 18 of last year, Tortorella lost the plot and went after Flames head coach Bob Hartley following a massive line brawl to start the game:
Tortorella was suspended 15 days for his antics — one of the longest coaching suspensions in NHL history — and admitted it marred his entire campaign.
“You’re talking to a guy that went down a hallway after another coach last year, which was so across the line, so embarrassing to my organization and my team,” Tortorella said. “You live and die by the sword a little bit there.
“That was really one of the bad spots of my season.”