When the Mike Gillis hired John Tortorella, the Canucks’ coaching search wasn’t over. The team had two associate/assistant coach positions to fill, as they fired Rick Bowness and Newell Brown when they let Alain Vigneault go.
One of those spots is expected to be filled by Mike Sullivan, who has coached with Tortorella in both Tampa Bay and New York. The other spot? It may just be filled by Glen Gulutzan, who previously interviewed for the head coaching job.
The initial report came from Ren Lavoie of RDS, though he got the name a little wrong.
Ex Stars coach John Gulutzan is a strong candidate to be an assistant coach to John Tortorella with the Canucks. #RDS
— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 3, 2013
To be fair, he got it right in the original French tweet. Darren Dreger took the report a step further:
Sources say Glen Gulutzan and the Canucks are working on the details of his agreement to work as an assistant to John Tortorella.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 3, 2013
It looks fairly certain that Gulutzan will be the Canucks’ second assistant coach. Interestingly enough, it will be Gulutzan’s first assistant coaching job in his career, other than a stint as a player/assistant with the Fresno Falcons from 2001 to 2003. He has been a head coach throughout his coaching career, first with the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL, then with the Texas Stars in the AHL, before taking his first NHL job with the Dallas Stars in 2011.
Gulutzan’s first stint in the NHL did not go as well as he hoped, as the Stars missed the playoffs in both of his first two seasons, finishing 10th and 11th in the Western Conference.
He is still a young coach, however, with a strong record prior to his one year in the NHL. He was very successful in the ECHL and took the Texas Stars to the Calder Cup Final in his first year with the team. Some described his time in Dallas as a no-win situation, as he had an inexperienced coaching staff around him, the team saw a lot of turnover, and he inherited a team that had missed the playoffs in the three previous seasons.
Gulutzan may be the “good cop” that many suggested the Canucks needed after hiring Tortorella. He is known as a player’s coach who worked well with young players in the AHL and considers himself a teacher.
Morever, Dallas Stars blog, Defending Big D, has this to say after Gulutzan was fired: “Gulutzan is an intelligent, thoughtful coach who always treated those in the media with respect and class.”
Respect for the media? That definitely sounds like the right counterpoint to Tortorella.
It will definitely be interesting to see how he handles his first job as an assistant after getting used to being in charge for his entire coaching career. He was even the general manager for the Las Vegas Wranglers. It seems like a good career move for Gulutzan, at the very least, as teams will likely want to see that he can succeed at the NHL level before considering him for another NHL head coaching position.Tags: Coach Search 2013, Glen Gulutzan