The Vancouver Canucks fired head coach John Tortorella on May 1 after just one season.
The Vancouver Canucks fired head coach John Tortorella on May 1.
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The Canucks issued a press release on their official website regarding the matter:
"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.'"
Derek Jory of the Canucks' official website notes the team lost 299 man games in 2013-14 due to an assortment of injuries -- the sixth most in the NHL. Linden told Jory this was a big factor why Vancouver did not live up to expectations this season, missing the playoffs for the first time in six years.
"I think our team is set up to play in certain way. When I look at the strength of our team I look our defense and their ability to have the puck and move the puck, and I think that the style of play did have some impact in that.
"When I look at the number of players that did have seasons that were disappointing, it was concerning, no questioning that played a big factor.
"There's nobody that's been happy with the results of this season and it starts with our players and they're disappointed. I believe in the character of that group down there, I think they're responsible and want to be better.
"I think we as an organization have to connect with our fans in a greater way and ultimately, I think we need to bring excitement back to Rogers Arena and a brand of hockey that people like to watch.
"I understand their discontent, I don't blame them, and it's up to us to win them back."
The other assistant coaches -- namely Glen Gulutzan and Darryl Williams as well as goaltenders coach Rollie Melanson -- are being retained, per Elliott Pap of The Vancouver Sun.
Pap stresses the Canucks are still without a general manager. When he asked Linden about the possibility of hiring a head coach before a general manager, Linden says he has a "real strong candidate list" in place.
"First of all, I'm encouraged by the managerial search. I think I've gotten less pushback on timing. I've got a real strong candidate list and I will be starting the interview process next week so I'm encouraged by that.
"I can think those two processes can move long together for a certain period of time. Obviously it's important that the manager has a great deal of input in the coaching direction so that would be the ideal situation. Things happen quickly and change quickly."
With this, News 1130 Sports Director Ann Schmaltz rattles off a list of potential head coaching candidates for Vancouver:
"Barry Trotz is from BC. He was with the Nashville Predators for a long time and had some success there. He definitely should be considered. (A guy that) was in the running last year with John Tortorella -- assistant coach John Stevens with the LA Kings.
"Of course, that team is still in the playoffs, so it might be awhile before they can chat with him.
"Kevin Dineen was fired by the (Florida) Panthers last fall, but then he won Olympic gold with the Canadian women's team -- he's out there. You never know what's going to happen with the San Jose Sharks' head coach, Todd McLellan, after that debacle with his team, he may be let go."
Tortorella was hired by the Canucks on June 25, 2013, per Jory. Vancouver wound up with a 36-35-11 record. Its 83 points is the lowest point-total since the 1999-2000 NHL season.
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