Most of you had already accepted that John Tortorella had to go, but the more we learn about his year with the Canucks, the more stunning it becomes that Trevor Linden took so long to cut him loose.
While most of the media and fans have been trying to figure out who Linden is going to hire as GM and coach of the Canucks, The Globe and Mail‘s Gary Mason has been digging up the goods on what happened with Torts.
And holy crap – it’s not good. It’s bad. It’s as if he just switched from a coach who’s had a couple of down years to a man who must’ve been extremely lucky to win that one Stanley Cup.
Mason made an appearance on the Team 1040 today, and here’s what came out:
1. Torts’ spat with David Booth
Anyone still wondering how Torts lost the room? Exhibit A:
“There was a team meeting in the morning. David Booth showed up five minutes before the meeting was supposed to start. I guess Tortorella didn’t see him or whatever.
The meeting starts, and Tortorella lights into David Booth for being late for the meeting and Booth says, ‘Uh wait a minute, I was here five minutes early,’ and I guess they got into a bit of a shouting match. The players were like ‘What the hell is going on here?’ because they knew Booth was there early.”
So instead of apologizing when he found out Booth was early, Torts stuck to his guns and fought him over it.
Sounds like a guy players will go to battle for.
2. He wanted Burrows bought out
Tortorella’s thoughts on the one guy who did consistently go to battle for him:
“I gather that Tortorella was at some point in the season trying to put pressure on Mike Gillis to have ownership buy out Burrows’ contract. He was that set against him as a player, did not see any future in him…
I don’t even know if (Burrows) was aware of it, but if anything it raised eyebrows because Alex Burrows has been a consistent player for this organization. It also kind of sent the message that the coach was absolving himself of any responsibility.
That was one of the first signs that this was a coach who was not on the same wave length as the general manager and even ownership.”
Remember that post I wrote about Tortorella having no idea what the problem with his team was? Even I didn’t think he could find a way to blame Burrows for his woes.
Everyone with half a brain in Vancouver saw Burrows creating tons of chances and having the world’s worst luck (at least until injuries took his season away from him).
I understand that many fans are not forgiving about injuries, but the coach? He should get it.
And wasn’t Tortorella supposed to like hard working players? Even during his worst spell of puck luck, Burrows was always one of the hardest working Canucks.
3. His views on practice weren’t popular
Why weren’t his views popular? His views are that practice is useless, that’s why:
“The players were unhappy about the amount of practice Tortorella was conducting. To put it a different way – players didn’t think they were practicing enough and that Tortorella took practice seriously enough…
Tortorella has different views about a whole bunch of things, about practicing the power play.
One of the things he did that really struck people as odd – he didn’t look at videotape of the team he was going to be facing.
There are coaches we know that coached in Vancouver that didn’t believe in coaching the power play. Mike Keenan was one of them.”
Yup, he’s being compared to Mike Keenan.
He never looked at video tape of other teams. Canucks fans complained about Alain Vigneault being outcoached by Joel Quenneville and Darryl Sutter… just imagine if Tortorella had made it to the playoffs and had to go up against one of those guys?
At least we know Torts would’ve been the better rested coach.
4. His relationship with Utica coach Travis Green
Relationship? There was none.
“Another thing that has come out just recently is his association with Travis Green, the coach in Utica… You would think that the lines of communication between those two would be constant and always open. That they’d be communicating about who’s playing well, and this is what we’re doing up here. A farm team should be a mirror image of whatever system the big club is playing.
John Tortorella did not have one single conversation with Travis Green all season. Not one.”
I mean, really? Tortorella didn’t call Green once to ask who was playing well on the farm, who’s grasping the system, who he should call up next?
This is not bad coaching. It’s either total laziness, or complete incompetence.