Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Pierre LeBrun tweets,
Hearing whispers that perhaps change is coming sooner rather than later with the Canucks, perhaps as soon as today or tomorrow...
Nothing concrete as I said, but those are whispers out of Van city. Will it be the GM? or the coach? We shall see...
... But, more than anything, the Canucks need leadership from the most important men in the organization, the kind of leadership the Red Wings have with Holland and Babcock. What they don’t need is the GM calling out the coach and the coach having to defend himself in a public forum. They don’t need the perception that ownership meddles in the affairs of the general manager. They don’t need the constant whining about the league, the rulebook and anyone who criticizes their operation.
Gillis had the right idea all along when he looked at the Wings and said, “That’s the way to do it.” That, at least, was the easy part. As for the hard part, he’s still trying.
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province on the Vancouver Canucks. Read more from Willes on this topic...
A day after general manager Mike Gillis expressed doubt over his own future and that of his bench boss, Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wouldn't let himself be drawn into the speculation.
"Mike Gillis is my boss and I can't speak for Mike," said Tortorella of his boss's comments on Friday afternoon. "I don't know how to answer to him because I can't speak for him. I don't want to do that. Mike and I are always talking, but to answer that, I just can't. It's not fair to him or me."
Sitting six points out of the final Wild Card in the Western Conference with only five games to play, the Canucks are set to miss the playoffs for just the third time in 13 seasons and first time since 2008. Still, Tortorella expressed no interest in publicly discussing his team's and, by extension, his own future.
"You're digging at a spot I'd rather talk internally about," said Tortorella. "That's probably something we can talk about after the season is over. I have to worry about coaching a hockey team. We have five more games, a team that needs to better and that's my focus."
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
While everybody and everything will be up for review, what shouldn’t be lost in the conversations or the defending of turf — call it the Gillis line in the sand — is how Tortorella suddenly supplanted John Stevens as the front-runner to replace the fired Alain Vigneault. Or how the new coach, who vowed to push a veteran-laden team hard, pushed them over the edge with a defensive-minded system that produced fatigue, a pop-gun offence and that crazy tunnel tirade.
Following his first game back from a six-game suspension, a 2-0 loss in Detroit, Tortorella said: “We need to change the complexion of our hockey club. Either with our play or with different people. Because we look like a slow team. I thought our best forward was David Booth, which is good for him but not good for us.”
Imagine how that was received by players and management? The coach was obviously defending his turf. An injury-riddled roster was testing his motivational mettle because it was going to be a struggle to make the postseason in re-alignment while butting heads in the Pacific Division.
via Team 1040 tweets,
According to @GMMikeGillis - 'my responsibility to get (team) back on top; 'fans have every right to voice displeasure'
On whether Torts will be back next season; @GMMikeGillis "I'm not sure I'll be back next season"
Here's a link to the entire interview w/ @GMMikeGillis http://ow.ly/voueB
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
John Tortorella, self-deprecating in a way he never once was in five years in New York, took the words out of everyone’s mouths Monday, which is not such an easy thing to do.
“What is fair?” the coach of the Canucks replied when asked if it is fair to draw any conclusions in comparing his team’s lack of success with the success the Rangers are experiencing under Alain Vigneault in Year 1 of the cultural exchange behind the benches of the two franchises. “You’re going to make your own opinion.
“It’s kind of a unique thing with me and Alain. I’m losing games so I’m an idiot and he’s winning games so he’s a smart guy. Rightfully so.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
This season, Tortorella has attempted to turn them into a grinding, shot-blocking, defensive-first team — which is fine if you’ve got the personnel of, say, a Los Angeles or St. Louis. But the Canucks don’t and their attempts to play that way have been a disaster. Defensively, they’re eighth in the West in goals allowed and tied with Edmonton for the fewest goals scored in the conference.
They have, for pity’s sake, two goals fewer than Nashville.
Individually, meanwhile, the only veteran to produce near his career norms is Chris Higgins. Every other Canuck who toiled under Vigneault isn’t anywhere near his expected numbers, and even Zack Kassian, whose play has been one of the team’s bright spots lately, has 13 goals and 26 points on the campaign.
Given everything that’s happened, it’s hard to conceive of Tortorella coming back next season. The players have given it an honest effort but, whatever Tortorella is trying just isn’t working. It’s doubtful the team would buy into another year and it’s a certainty the fan base wouldn’t buy another year of the same. It looks like one and done for Tortorella, who made a fatal coaching mistake this season: He tried to mould his players to his system instead of moulding his system to his players.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
The mood afterwards was morose. The Vancouver Canucks had clung to threads of hope, fractional odds of making the postseason, and when it counted, they folded.
Oh, there are still fractional odds, near zero now, but the season is essentially over for the Canucks, and it ended ugly on Saturday night at home, a 5-1 punch-up at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. Coach John Tortorella could not do what he was hired to do, coax some fire out of a veteran group. The team was flat, and its best players did little. All that remain are six games and questions, the future of the coach, the future of the general manager, the future of a roster of underperformers.
In the locker room, a large scrum of reporters crowded around Daniel Sedin, in the absence of his brother, injured captain Henrik. Daniel has scored a single goal in 2014 and Saturday night was a non-entity. “It’s tough,” he said. Nearby sat Ryan Kesler, his hockey pants on, his shirt off, disbelief on his face, a tattoo of his children’s names and a Superman symbol with a K instead of an S on his right shoulder.
“We find a way to lose this game rather than a way to win,” said Kesler. “Good teams find a way to win.”
Nino Niederreiter received two for interference, Alex Burrows would return to the game.
Here is the the video from the Wild broadcast and below is the Vancouver broadcast...
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
This was the state of the Vancouver Canucks in January and February, going into and coming out of the Olympic break. Beset by jitters, pressure, bad luck and injuries that led to too much ice time for the survivors, many of whom were in over their heads, theirs was a black hole that drew more and more of the troops into its vortex, dragging down even the best of them.
From Dec. 30 until March 6, John Tortorella’s team played 25 games and lost 20 of them, and at the end of that ordeal, the Canucks were, in every sense but mathematical, done for the season.
And from the moment that fact became plain to all but the most delusional of loyalists, anything this team did the rest of the way should have been viewed with extreme suspicion.
That includes now, this confusing period in which the Canucks have won four out of seven, a thing that might be worth getting excited about if it happened, say, in the first round of the playoffs.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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