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.
Maybe, just maybe.
The Dallas Stars are reportedly showing interest in John Tortorella for their vacant head coaching position, according to a source of ESPN New York.
Tortorella, 54, was fired by the Rangers two weeks ago after a second-round playoff exit to Boston.
There’s not much linking Tortorella to the Stars franchise. He’s coached almost exclusively in the Eastern Conference over his 23-year NHL career — save a brief two-season stop with the Phoenix Coyotes in the late ’90s — and doesn’t appear to have much of a past working relationship with any of the Stars brass.
That said, new Dallas GM Jim Nill promised an exhaustive, thorough search to find his next head coach, so kicking the tires on Tortorella could simply be part of the process.
Tortorella is still being paid by the Rangers — he signed a contract extension during the ’13 regular season — so it’s expected that New York won’t stand in his way should he want to pursue a new job.
Yesterday on a conference call with reporters, Rangers general manager Glen Sather admitted his explanation for firing head coach John Tortorella may seem “a little vague.”
Today, we wonder if Sather had good reason to avoid getting into specifics.
According to a Daily News source, “multiple players,” including some “top guys,” pushed for Tortorella’s dismissal after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins.
Presumably, the lobbying occurred in the players’ exit interviews.
The report didn’t specify which players wanted the combative coach gone, but it does make one wonder if Sean Avery was on to something back in March when the former Ranger tweeted, “Fire this CLOWN, his players hate him and wont play for his BS.”
It also may lend credence to the report by Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman that goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s noncommittal response to a question about re-signing in New York was a factor in Tortorella’s firing.
Frankly, it’s not hard to come up with players that may have had a problem with Tortorella. Brad Richards for getting scratched in Games 4 and 5 of the Boston series. Carl Hagelin for hearing over and over that he “stinks” on the power play. The list goes on and on.
“Every coach has a shelf life,” Sather said.
Related: What they’re saying about the Tortorella firing
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.
Count former NHL all-star Paul Kariya among the long list of people that are supportive of the Colorado Avalanche’s decision to hire Patrick Roy as the team’s head coach. (Denver Post)
19-year-old defenseman James Melindy has inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Jesse Spector liked the challenge that came with interviewing recently fired Rangers coach John Tortorella. (Sporting News)
Tortorella might not have been the most popular person, but Nicholas J. Cotsonika says that’s not why he was fired. (Yahoo! Sports)
A recap of the San Jose Sharks-Los Angeles Kings series in picture form. (LA Kings Insder)
Canadiens captain Brian Gionta is continuing his rehab of his torn left bicep. He’s hoping to be ready for training camp after dealing with a torn right bicep last year. “(Canadiens’ orthopedic surgeon Paul Martineau) was telling me this time, ‘Make sure everyone knows it’s your other arm. Make sure they know it wasn’t anything I repaired last year that went wrong,’” Gionta said, laughing. (Montreal Gazette)
A look at three potential amnesty buyout options for the Washington Capitals. (CSN Washington)
Highlights from Chicago’s 2-1 overtime win over Detroit:
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A sampling of reactions to the news that the New York Rangers dismissed head coach John Tortorella on Wednesday:
Michael Grange, Sportsnet:
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated:
Darren Dreger, TSN:
Matt Sekeres, TEAM 1040 Vancouver Radio:
Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe
Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo!:
Chris Stevenson, Sun Media:
And, finally, what would any Tortorella post be without a reaction from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks?
Taxi! Rangers fire Tortorella
Sean Avery says he told you so about Tortorella