June 21 2013 11:54AM
According to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, the Vancouver Canucks have "offered" the club's vacant head coaching position to John Tortorella and are "close to a deal" that would bring the controversial firebrand to the west coast. John Tortorella was fired by the New York Rangers after his teams second round ouster this past spring, and he was replaced in New York by recently fired Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault who met with the media today.
Read past the jump for more.
John Tortorella is certainly a fascinating figure, with one hell of a record as an NHL bench boss. Hated by the media, Tortorella has a Stanley Cup ring and a reputation for being something of a task master. I'd imagine that Tortorella's curb-stomping motivational style was something of a selling point for an organization that has watched their club get eliminated from the playoffs twice in their past nine postseason games...
Tortorella is a smart tactician and a competent guy. I'm not convinced that coaching matters nearly as much as talent does at the National Hockey League level, but whatever, Tortorella certainly knows how to dissect an opponent and play to his club's strengths. Of course, he's inheriting a Canucks team that's stacked along the blue-line and in net and light on depth upfront. That might result in the Canucks playing the sort of low-event hockey that is anathema for many of Canuckistan's denizens.
Tortorella's constant battles with the hockey media in New York was the stuff of legends, and apparently the Vancouver Canucks were concerned enough about that subject to discuss it at length in his first interview with the club.
Another fascinating question will be one of style. John Tortorella's clubs have rarely been offensive juggernauts in his decade of coaching at the National Hockey League level, and Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis reportedly wasn't a huge fan of Tortorella's block everything, defensive-shell system with the New York Rangers. Tortorella didn't coach a Rangers-type system when he was in Tampa, however, so I'd suggest that he knows there's more than one way to skin a cat. So that's good, because a full season of Ryan Kesler blocking shots like his ice-time depends on it probably isn't the wisest way for this team to proceed...