Mike Gillis

Canucks GM says Tortorella is a ‘very strong candidate’


Things are wild and crazy in Vancouver now with John Tortorella in town to speak with the Canucks again.

This afternoon, GM Mike Gillis spoke with Team 1040 in Vancouver about how the process is going and while he wouldn’t confirm Tortorella is their guy, he said all the right things pointing towards him.

“We’re trying to finish off the process,” Gillis said. “I can’t say at this point, but John (Tortorella) is a very strong candidate.”

Obviously with Tortorella there’s the aspect of working peaceably with the media that comes into question. Gillis was eager to tip-toe around that part of the job when it comes to the new coach.

“It’s important (to work with the media). We’re under the microscope all the time. We’re in the spotlight, we accept that.”

He also stressed that it’s not a one-way relationship as well.

“I think you (media) guys have an obligation to work with us as best you can. It’s a two-way street.”

It might be a two-way street, but Tortorella was a MACK truck in his dealings with the press in New York. If it’s true the Canucks are about to offer him the job, business is about to pick up.

Report: Canucks offer head-coaching job to Tortorella

John Tortorella

From Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:

And this on the same day Alain Vigneault was introduced as the new head coach of the New York Rangers.

From Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun:

The Canucks told TSN that “no decision has been finalized yet,” but if Lawless’ source is correct and John Tortorella is indeed about to become the next bench boss in Vancouver, it will be extremely interesting to hear why general manager Mike Gillis decided on a coach that was deemed by Rangers general manager Glen Sather to be too defensively minded.


“I like an upbeat, fast style of play with quick transition,” Gillis said recently. “We managed to do that and we were successful.”

Granted, after the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs, Gillis seemed to suggest the club would have a fairly different on-ice philosophy next season — one that was more about winning battles in the corners and in front of the net than using speed and skill to defeat the opposition.

“When I took this job we decided on a style of play that resulted in great success,” said Gillis. “Certainly the landscape has changed. We have to address those changes moving forward. We have no choice.

“It’s not something I necessarily, principally agree in. But that’s what we face. We have to make the changes and adjustments that are necessary to compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s my intention to do it, recognize what is going on and make sure we have a team that is better equipped.”

It may also be unfair to pigeonhole Tortorella as a defensive coach. After all, this is the same guy who won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay with a “safe is death” credo. Perhaps he didn’t feel he had the right personnel in New York to play an attacking style.

There’s also no question that Tortorella can be a great motivator, and after two consecutive first-round exits, the Canucks could possibly use some, er, let’s call it…stimulation.

Though Kevin Bieksa may disagree…

Lundqvist says he didn’t call for Tortorella’s firing


There were serious rumblings that Henrik Lundqvist was one of the New York Rangers’ anonymous “top players” who called for the firing of John Tortorella, but the star goalie told the New York Post that wasn’t the case on Wednesday.

“I know there is some speculation regarding Torts being fired, but let’s be clear on one thing,” Lundqvist said via an e-mail. “It’s not my call who the coach should be for the New York Rangers.”

“I would never put pressure on the management on decisions like that. I’m just a player. My focus is to play the game and do the best I can on the ice. Whatever [happens] off the ice, I leave to our great staff we have working for this club.”

Of course, there’s always the possibility that he didn’t say Tortorella shouldn’t be fired, either. Perhaps he provided deafening silence on the matter instead?

(The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman cited an unnamed source that said Lundqvist’s comments “changed everything.”)

Beyond being the team’s go-to guy, the 31-year-old’s comments (or maybe lack of praise?) carry extra weight because he’s in the final year of his current deal. He insisted that the head coach in charge doesn’t affect his contract status, however.

“It has no impact for me on who the coach is when it comes to my contract,” Lundqvist said. “I love everything about the New York Rangers. I love the fans. I love the organization.”

“I hope we can work something out when it is time to do so.”

It’s worth mentioning that Tortorella refrained from critiquing Lundqvist after games and accepted the blame for the top players’ struggles.

Beyond that, there are plenty of candidates who might have said something – or worse things – than Lundqvist, anyway. Perhaps the guy who made a $12 million salary yet was a healthy scratch for the Rangers’ final two playoff games did some venting?


Rangers fire Tortorella

What they’re saying about the firing

Report: Tortorella to have second interview with Canucks

John Tortorella Rangers

Former New York Rangers bench boss John Tortorella will have a second interview with Vancouver about its vacant head coaching gig this week, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

News of a second interview comes days after The Province reported Torts’ first discussion with Canucks brass “went over extremely well.”

This has led many to speculate the 2004 Jack Adams winner is a frontrunner for the job.

Here’s more, from Friedman:

Information about his first one is not exactly flowing across the atmosphere, but it sounds like a lot of time was spent discussing media interaction.

The Canucks don’t want daily craziness and Tortorella apparently understands he will have to be different.

Vancouver is the hardest English market in the NHL. There is no doubt the man can coach, but [Canucks GM Mike] Gillis’ toughest decision may be whether or not he truly believes Tortorella can handle it.

Another rumored leading candidate for the gig, Los Angeles assistant John Stevens, is also believed to have a second interview lined up for this week, though there’s been no confirmation that it’ll happen.

Report: Vancouver has serious interest in Tortorella

John Tortorella

Yesterday it was reported that the Dallas Stars are interested in former New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella. It turns out they might have some competition.

The Vancouver Canucks are talking to Tortorella and he’s regarded as a strong candidate to be the team’s next bench boss, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.

Tortorella would bring with him a no-nonsense approach and an emphasis on gritty, body-sacrificing play to a team that ranked near the bottom of the league in hits and blocked shots this season.

Of course, he’s also known for his signature way of handling the media. Imagine the quotes that this year’s goaltending controversy between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo might have produced…

Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004 and took the New York Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals in 2012. Meanwhile, the Canucks have excelled in the regular season over the last two campaigns, but have promptly collapsed in the playoffs.