Kukla's Korner Hockey
Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden announced today that Head Coach John Tortorella and Assistant Coach Mike Sullivan have been relieved of their coaching duties.
“Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team,” said Linden. “On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best.”
“We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staff, improve our roster and connect with our fans,” added Linden. “Our General Manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately.”
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
We asked Linden about some of the other balls he’s juggling this off-season.
On Ryan Kesler, the 25-goal scorer who reportedly wants a trade out of town: “I have a lot of respect for Ryan, as I do all the players. It was a good, healthy conversation,” Linden said of his exit interview with him. “There’s many decisions that will unfold here in the next several months, and for me it’s important that I strategically assess every decision. They all have significant ripple effects throughout the organization. That’s an important decision, and it will play out as we move along here.”
On his goal to implement his vision for a specific brand of hockey this summer: “You have to be sound fundamentally in all areas. Being a team that makes the proper decisions—when to hold the puck, when to put the puck in areas that make it effective to forecheck. It’s about tailoring your game to the personality you have.”
On the possibility of adding Canucks Ring of Honour inductee Pat Quinn to the Canucks’ front office: “Pat’s someone who’s been a real mentor to me, someone who’s been important to my development as a person and as a player. That’s certainly a possibility.”
On the most eye-opening aspect of the new job: “I was surprised actually how many people I did know in the business: Doug Wilson, Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, Cam Neely. Many managers reaching out to me and touching base.”
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
In Toronto, Brendan Shanahan was brought in as team president, and he's getting a feel for the organization. GM Dave Nonis is trying to get his head around how and why the team collapsed down the stretch and surrendered such horrific shots-against numbers while doing so.
Nonis needs to understand what role Carlyle played in that, and then he'll have to justify his decision to Shanahan.
In Washington, owner Ted Leonsis is probably enjoying the basketball success of his Wizards for a few days and taking his time on figuring out how it all went wrong with his hockey team.
The futures of Oates and GM George McPhee are both up in the air. That, of course, ignores the real issue in D.C., which is the future of the team as long as Alex Ovechkin is the centre piece, both with his massive contract and unwillingness to do much else than put up prodigious goal totals.
You can change the GM and coach. But the bigger question is whether you can ever get anywhere with Alexander the Great.
Finally, in Vancouver there were two moves in the final days of the season, the firing of GM Mike Gillis and the hiring of Trevor Linden as president of hockey ops. Like Shanahan, Linden is sorting through the paperwork, and at this point seems to have decided to focus on hiring a GM, and then letting that person decide Tortorella's future.
"John Tortorella was on my staff for the Olympics in 2010. He's a good guy. I don't know what's going on in his head, but you know what? Shut your mouth and worry about your team. Leave my coach alone."
-Brian Burke of the Calgary Flames on Vancouver head coach John Tortorella.
Tortorella made a few comments about Bob Hartley last night and you can read all about in a piece from the CP at TSN.
John Tortorella is not very fond of Calgary's head coach Bob Hartley and is upset about the hit on Daniel Sedin...
Jim Hugson of CBC on the hiring of Trevor Linden in Vancouver.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The Vancouver Canucks made two moves Wednesday: One, they introduced Trevor Linden, the most popular player in franchise history, as the new president of hockey operations. Two, they extended the season-ticket renewal deadline until after the draft and free agency period.
“We’re trying to sell tickets,” said chairman Franceso Aquilini, when asked about the economic cost of missing the playoffs. “I’m disappointed in the season, just like all our fans. Trevor’s here now. He’s going to put a plan in place and get our season-ticket holders back and believing in this team again.”
For now, that’s what this is about. Sales. Belief. But if you’re a season-ticket holder, are you sold just because general manager Mike Gillis is gone? Do you believe just because Trevor’s here now? Or do you wait and see what the plan actually is before you come back?
Vancouver, BC –- The Vancouver Canucks announced today that Trevor Linden has been named President, Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor, NHL. Linden returns to lead the team that he played on for 16 seasons, including seven as team captain.
In his role, Linden will be responsible for all hockey operations, including the coaching and scouting staffs, player procurement and development, and minor league affiliations and operations.
Since retiring after 19 seasons in the NHL, Linden has resided in Vancouver where he has led a number of successful business ventures ranging from commercial/residential development projects to fitness club chains. He has also remained involved in the community through the Trevor Linden Foundation.
from David Ember of the Globe and Mail,
Much of the distancing revolves around the hiring of Mr. Tortorella, whose reputation as a firebrand and penchant to coach defensive hockey made him a controversial choice last year. On Monday, Francesco Aquilini sent a Globe and Mail reporter a text message warning of legal action after the newspaper published a story discussing the family’s involvement in the hiring.
“I read your article today. You are a prick,” it said. Two hours later, a legal letter from the family’s counsel arrived by e-mail. It alleged defamation, sought a retraction and an apology, and threatened further action.
“The facts are that while the Aquilinis supported the decision of the General Manager, the hiring decision was his and not theirs,” lawyer Howard Shapray of Vancouver-based Shapray Cramer Fitterman Lamer LLP wrote in the legal letter to The Globe.
The legal push also took aim at The Province newspaper in Vancouver, which several weeks earlier in a column had mentioned the Aquilinis’ role in the Tortorella hiring. Mr. Shapray on Monday sent a legal letter to The Province and made similar demands as were made of The Globe.
The Aquilinis’ statements skirt how the hiring played out....
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
So we’ve I.D.ed the true problem in Vancouver. It’s not Tortorella, and it is clearly no longer Gillis. It is meddling ownership that at some point likely told Gillis he had autonomy to make hockey decisions, then changed its mind when it mattered most. Now, danger time arrives: Will the Aquilinis stay married to their wrong-headed hiring of Tortorella and hire Jay Feaster, perhaps the only prospective GM in the entire hockey world who would keep Tortorella as coach of the Canucks? Talk about the very definition of a compounded mistake.
Nothing against a competent GM in Feaster, who did a decent job in Calgary. But we’re saying this right now, and as clearly as we can: If Feaster gets the Canucks GM job, this team is in trouble. Because that means the Aquilinis think they are hockey smart, and the Canucks will lose for a long, long time if ownership is going to make the important, hockey-related decisions.
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