NHL News & Updates – 1 May 14

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The firing of John Tortorella – What is the plan ahead?

Yesterday’s firing of John Tortorella was maybe seen as no surprise by many observers in the hockey sphere but the action taken by President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden were bold and sent the Vancouver Canucks in a new direction for the year 2014-2015. Once a winning franchise with an appearance in the finals of 2011 against the Boston Bruins, where they lost in the seventh game, the Canucks have since dropped to the point where this year they didn’t qualify for a playoff spot.

John Tortorella
Tortorella fired by the Canucks

In my opinion, Tortorella was not the only one to blame for the Vancouver Canucks poor season. The recent firing of general manager Mike Gillis on the handling of the goalie saga between now departed Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider respectively to the Florida Panthers and the New Jersey Devils was one of the main issue which have shaken this franchise.

Without taking anything away from the actual goalie in place Eddie Lack and upcoming Jacob Markstrom, the Canucks have not taken a solid path in the net. They literally got rid of two of the best goalie in the game basically for nothing. Future will tell us if Bo Horvat will develop into one of the best player in the game but at this point nothing has been proven.

Coming back to the firing of yesterday, Linden needed to take this team into a new direction. A winning direction which means exploiting every ounces of his remaining elite players left. This means not having the Sedins block shots like Tortorella mentioned in his initial press conference last summer, this means using Ryan kesler for he is best at a power forward, teaching the young players coming up and not relying on three lines or two and a half line to get the two points.

Now Tortorella coming to Vancouver was never seen as “the right fit” and people today can see the effect of this coach in the aftermath of disappointing season. Continuity behind the bench will be key. A coach who can teach the younfg players in the orrganization and a coach who will use the best players such as the Sedins, Kesler, Bieksa, Edler, Higgins and use them in their right spot and right role. Of course changes will be needed and will be addressed by the new general manager. Expect players such as Yannick Weber and David Booth to leave.

The next coach characteristics will be defined based on the new general manager Trevor Linden will hire. The general manager will have the authority to hire the head coach and assistant coach the new philosophy dictated by management. Do not expect a team proning on defence only. This is a Western Conference team where offence is essential to win games. Linden is likely to look at a younger general manager like the Flames did with Brad Treliving. It appears that Linden is looking for the assistant general manager from the Boston Bruins – Jim Benning.

Tortorella will be remembered in Vancouver as a head coach who had a boiling temperament despite his zen attitude at the initial press conference. The debacle near the Flames dressing room mid-season was the start of the Canucks’ failing. Tortorella will also be remembered for defensive minded coach who couldn’t instll his system with the players he had in the roster. And finally, he will remembered for a coach who signed a 10 million dollar contract for 5 years and who only completed one year out of that contract.

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