Enemy Territory: Canucks to Hire John Tortorella as Head Coach

If the Vancouver Canucks didn’t have enough of a circus type atmosphere surrounding their club with the goaltender controversy between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, then adding John Tortorella to the mix will be enough to make Barnum and Bailey envious.

According to a report on TSN.ca, the Canucks have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday where they will announce the signing of Tortorella as the club’s new head coach, replacing Alain Vigneault who was fired last month.

Tortorella may be known more for his candid remarks with the media and hot tempered passion for the game (to put it mildly) more than his coaching resume.  A Stanley Cup Champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, Tortorella further padded his resume that year by winning the Jack Adams award as the league’s top coach.

His latest stint, with the New York Rangers didn’t end well when he was fired after failing to live up to the hype that surrounded the blue shirts, following an off season that bolstered their roster and made them immediate favorites to win it all.  But when the puck dropped on January 19th, the Rangers could never find the right mix of line combinations or unity that would lead them to success.

After stumbling into the playoffs, Tortorella was let go by the Rangers despite winning their first round match-up against the Washington Capitals.  For the record, his lifetime coaching record in the NHL is 410-340-37-67 that started in 1999.  He has only coached the aforementioned Rangers and Lightning throughout his thirteen year career.

Now Tortz and Vigneault have flip flopped teams, bringing a renewed sense of excitement surrounding the Canucks and it’s not necessarily about their potential on the ice.  Rather, it’ll be interesting to see how the club’s star player react to the stern coaching hand of Tortorella.

The Sedin twins are the first pair that come to mind when wondering how Tortorella will be received.  Somewhere in Sweden (providing that’s where they reside in the offseason) Henrik and Daniel have to be shaking in their boots at the thought of having the infamous John Tortorella glaring at them from down the bench because of a dive they took or after a soft hit was made.

With the naming of Tortorella as coach, it suddenly takes the spotlight off of Luongo, at least temporarily.  The former number one Canucks netminder still remains the topic of conversation with the possibility that he will be traded this summer, despite the Toronto Maple Leafs now out of the running.  But it’s just a matter of time after the press conference with Tortorella will come and go and all eyes will again shift back to Bobby Lou and where he will end up, kicking into high gear the original circus that Cancuks’ fans have learned to deal with.

One thing is certain.  There won’t be any more dull press conferences or post game interviews with Tortorella in front of the camera in Vancouver.  Welcome to the division Mr. Tortorella.  I hope you enjoy your stay, but please prepare for a bumpy and difficult ride to the top of the division because the Oilers are coming for you and your new club.

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