Report: Canucks "Close to a Deal" to hire John Tortorella as Head Coach

Thomas Drance
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...

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 UkeeRob
June 21 2013, 12:19PM
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I can hear it now..."what the f##k do you think Tony!!" As in Gallagher.

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#2 antro
June 21 2013, 12:42PM
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Is it just me, or did the reports of the deal being close(d) come close on the heels of the report of the deal between Tippett and the Coyotes? It's like the rumours that Torts was a frontrunner for the Canucks were true, but that the Canucks were still waiting to hear if Tippett was available.

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#3 J21 (@Jyrki21)
June 21 2013, 01:46PM
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Shot-blocking teams are very hard to play against, to be fair, but it just seems like a dumb way to go for an injury-prone team with strong goaltending.

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#4 The_Animal
June 21 2013, 01:53PM
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I'm sure that he's going to tell Gallagher.

"Did you eat glue as a kid? Tony? Wrap your whatever you have for brains around it. Why should I tell you anything. You'll just write something you want anyways. Get out of my face."

Oh. I'm gonna love the quotes from Torts as he has to wrestle with Vancouver media.

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