It might be the league’s worst kept secret, but it appears John Tortorella is set to become the next head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Hotstove last night that Tortorella would be announced sometime this week he’ll be the new Canucks coach.
Friedman also said the Canucks and GM Mike Gillis have done their due diligence in making sure he’s the right fit.
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman, who worked with Tortorella in Phoenix, was consulted as were former Rangers players Markus Naslund and Chris Higgins. The Canucks’ window for winning a Stanley Cup with this lineup is closing soon and, as Friedman notes, the feeling is that Tortorella will be the guy that will help make Vancouver’s dreams come true rather than someone like L.A. Kings assistant John Stevens.
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The list of candidates to be the next head coach of the Vancouver Canucks continues to grow.
Renaud Lavoie of RDS reports former Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin has interviewed for the job in Vancouver. Martin joins a list featuring John Tortorella, Kings assistant John Stevens, and up until he was hired by Edmonton, Dallas Eakins.
Martin last coached during the 2011-2012 season with the Montreal Canadiens when he was fired mid-season by then Habs GM Pierre Gauthier. Since 1995-1996, Martin has coached three teams: Montreal, Florida for three seasons, and Ottawa for eight-plus seasons.
Aside from Eakins, it appears Canucks GM Mike Gillis is gunning for someone with NHL experience to replace Alain Vigneault. Perhaps the talk of the Canucks’ Stanley Cup window closing has everything to do with that.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie shared, via Twitter, that one person the Vancouver Canucks are interested in to be their next head coach is current Kings assistant John Stevens. Jason Botchford of The Province says Stevens is a guy who could help out in a big way with the team’s defensemen.
Stevens is credited with helping develop Drew Doughty’s game to the level it’s at now as one of the best blue liners in the league. He’s also given credit for helping guys like Jacob Muzzin and Slava Voynov reaching new levels in their game. As Botchford notes, bringing Stevens in could provide a huge benefit for Alex Edler’s game in Vancouver.
The hang-up with desiring Stevens? The fact the Kings are still in the playoffs and could still be there deep into June. If Vancouver wants him to be their guy they’ll need to wait for the Kings to get knocked out to talk to him.
Stevens does have four seasons worth of head coaching experience after leading the Flyers from 2006-2007 through 2009-2010. He also served as the Kings’ interim head coach last year for four games after Terry Murray was fired and before Darryl Sutter took over.
If you’re a Philadelphia Flyers fan, watching the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup had that distinct bittersweet taste to it.
These Kings came through with so many connections to the Flyers, fans had taken to referring to the Kings as “Flyers West” only now the Kings have the Cup and Philly is still without one since 1975. Dan Rosen of NHL.com highlights the numerous connections the Kings have to Philly and if you are a Flyers fan, you might want to look away. Check out these L.A.-Philly ties, they’re staggering.
- Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, and Justin Williams all had significant time playing for the Flyers in their career.
- Colin Fraser was originally drafted by Philly in 2003 but never played for the Flyers.
- Kings assistant coach John Stevens is a former Flyers head coach.
- Kings GM Dean Lombardi, while between GM jobs with the Sharks and Kings, was a scout for the Flyers in 2006.
- Kings Vice President and Assistant GM Ron Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy with the Flyers in a losing effort during the 1987 Stanley Cup finals against Edmonton.
- Former Kings coach Terry Murray used to play for and coach the Flyers.
At this rate they have to have a Cup parade through Philadelphia too, right?
Drew Doughty’s season got off to a slow start, partly in thanks to him missing training camp in a contract dispute with the team. As the season wore on, he got better and in the playoffs he’s been, at times, the best player on the ice.
The man responsible for Doughty’s awakening? Kings assistant coach, and former Flyers head man, John Stevens. Helene Elliott hears from Stevens about what he did to help Doughty elevate his game.
“I was just trying to get him really focused in on the details, the preparation and the practice habits and all that stuff that I knew could make him an even better player,” Stevens said. “On top of that, Drew might be one of the most gifted, talented players ever and I was probably one of the least gifted, talented players ever, so we have two different personalities.
“I was really trying to get a marriage of his really great, God-given talent and his commitment to focus on details and fundamentals. To his credit, he’s done that.”
That’s a good job out of both Stevens and Doughty as the Kings’ defense is rather nondescript in its play. Doughty’s play helps make things go from the blue line though as he’s been huge all playoffs putting up two goals and eight assists and looked like the guy who was a Norris Trophy finalist two years ago. That sort of play helped make him a huge factor in helping the Kings win the Western Conference and become a Conn Smythe Trophy consideration.