The Paper Feature: Time to fire John Tortorella

The Paper Feature will run every Wednesday in the Vancouver Sun’s print edition, as well as online here at Pass it to Bulis. (It’s called the Paper Feature for what we hope are obvious reasons.) It doesn’t start up for a couple weeks, but due to a miscommunication, we were told it started this week. Rather than let this column go to waste, we decided to share it with you, our favourite reader.

***

We tried to embrace John Tortorella. We honestly did. But after Game 1 of the Canucks’ 2013-14 NHL season, a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, it’s time to face facts: he’s not the man for the job. Fire him. Fire him right this instant.

Due to the nature of deadlines, this column, set to run in Tuesday’s print edition of the Vancouver Sun, is being written Friday morning, in advance of the Canucks’ weekend set versus the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. But after the abysmal showing last night, I see absolutely no way that I could feel any differently. By the time this runs, the Canucks will be 0-3, their goaltending will still be a complete mess, their defensive posture will remain abysmal, and the Sedins will still be the invisible, over-the-hill twin duds Thursday night’s season-opener made it clear that they were.

Some may say it’s too early. The season will only be three games old by the time this runs, after all. Give the man a chance, they might say. Only a complete joke of an NHL franchise, one owned by a buffoon and run by a General Manager with no understanding of his own ineptitude — especially at finding stability in goal — would fire a coach just three games into the season, they might say. But that’s nonsense. It’s never too early to fire a guy if he’s not working out. Matter of fact, when the Canucks hire the new guy, they should dismiss him as he’s touring the facility, just as a reminder to future coaches that they’re never safe. They’d better win every gosh darn night.

Tortorella had his chance. He came in and said all the right things to the media, and then he set to work instituting his new system, a playing style that involved a strong defensive posture, an aggressive forecheck, and shot-blocking.

So much for that noise. Theposture fizzled in San Jose, with the Sharks dropping four on the Canucks, winning their 10th in a row versus the boys in [a different shade of] blue. 10 in a row! Great news, Vancouver fans: the Canucks are now to the San Jose Sharks what the Colorado Avalanche are to the Canucks. We may as well throw ourselves into the sea.

The aggressive forecheck didn’t lead to anything. The Canucks scored just one goal versus the Sharks, so now we know for sure that this team will be incapable of scoring goals under Tortorella. They’re on pace for an 82-goal season. They’ll probably be outscored by Steven Stamkos alone. Remember the days when the Canucks would score five, six goals a game? Those days are way over.

And as for the shot-blocking, well, we all knew how that was going to turn out. One game into the year, the Canucks have already lost Alex Burrows, who took a chunk of vulcanized rubber off the foot during a 5-on-3 penalty kill. It was the first and final piece of evidence we need that Tortorella hockey simply isn’t the fight fit for Vancouver, whose roster is made up of people with bones.

Perhaps some of the blame should fall on Mike Gillis, who did absolutely nothing to build the sort of boneless roster Tortorella needed. For a guy so hell-bent on innovation, one wonders why he didn’t bother to partner with the scientists that make Costco chicken thighs. If they can make boneless, skinless dinners out of animals that grow up with bones and skin, imagine what they could do with hockey players. Envision, for a moment, a roster full of boneless, skinless hockey players. Sure, they’d be pretty wobbly, but they’d be fearless shot-blockers, and they’d be intimidating too. Skinless freaks are scary. Think of Freddy Krueger.

So out goes Burrows, a pretty important part of the roster, all because Tortorella expects him to block shots. This would never have happened under Alain Vigneault, who advocated the players dive out of the way constantly. (That’s what they were doing all through the 2011 Cup run, by the way. You probably didn’t know that, did you?  See, everybody thought Vancouver’s diving during the 2011 Cup run was an attempt to draw penalties. Not so. It was just a bid to stay healthy. It didn’t work, sadly. By the Cup Final, the entire team was in shambles, arguably because they didn’t dive enough.)

Flippin’ Tortorella wants the Canucks to dive into shots, though. It’s the worst of both worlds. It’ll do nothing to change Vancouver’s reputation around the league — gosh, the Canucks go down untouched even more now, opponents will say — and it will hurt everyone.

Burrows isn’t the only one, by the way. Ryan Kesler broke his foot blocking a shot just last season, for instance. When will Tortorella learn?

Not soon enough. That’s why it’s time for him to go, and nothing that happens between today and Tuesday, when this column runs, can change my mind.

***

Tweet Podium

Part of our page in the paper will be the Tweet Podium, because we’re online-type writers and Twitter is an online-type thing. It will feature some of the best tweets from the previous week. If you see a great Canucks-related tweet, send us a link. Or plagiarize it and bask in its glory. 

Bronze

 

Introducing Weber’s catchphrase: “Way to ruin it for everyone.” The Canucks signed a defenceman named Weber? His first name is Yannick? Aw man, way to ruin it for everyone.

Silver

 

Little known fact: Tortorella also made the Ice Team run 2 miles in 12 minutes.

Gold

 

It makes so much sense! Ruin the rebuild by giving the Flames a loser point in every meeting. The perfect long con.

Tags: , ,

28 comments

  1. NarkusMaslund
    October 8, 2013

    Well done…classic PITB.

    On a serious note, however, those little skate guard things that provide added protection against blocked shots? Would be a good idea for the players to strap those on, methinks. All joking aside, injuries will happen, but might as well do whatever can be done to limit the risks.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
    • Kenji
      October 8, 2013

      Cool idea. The team should buy a whole bunch. Just checked out the website for this product – what a great idea. It would take another ten seconds to put your gear on, but what a benefit.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  2. BCISLEMAN
    October 8, 2013

    I’m an Islander fan &, as a result, am quite familiar w/ Torts and his ways. Lets just say that I am not a fan. At the same time, however, to say that the Nucks are failing because of him is absurd. The bigger problem this team has is Mike Gillis and the culture he has created

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -10 (from 14 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      October 8, 2013

      It’s absurd, you say? Why of course! I was starting to think I was the only one who disagreed with Harrison for putting so much blame on Tortorella, so it’s good to know that there are vigilant readers of this blog astute enough to repudiate this sort of nonsense. Harrison, you’re absurd.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +35 (from 37 votes)
  3. Matt
    October 8, 2013

    Was this *actually* written last Friday, or is it all just an elaborate dig at the Philadelphia Flyers?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  4. Nee
    October 8, 2013

    I look forward to reading the comments of readers who don’t get the obvious sarcasm of this article. : )

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
    • Mitch
      October 8, 2013

      Well not anymore, they won’t. Way to ruin it for everyone.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +15 (from 15 votes)
  5. akidd
    October 8, 2013

    there’s already been some recent sarcasm detection difficulties with that sharks article and now this. but if were laid on any thicker it would spill out over the edges of the toast.

    you guys might do well out east, way out east. “Our glorious leader, putin, needs to step down. he has only killed one tiger with his bare hands. just one tiger. what a weakling!”

    not to say you’re toeing the company line but once i put this article through the sarcasm converter…well, you’re toeing the company line.

    i don’t think anyone thinks torts should be fired at this point but there is genuine(and legitimate) concern about injuries from shot-blocking. more since the canucks haven’t opted for extra skate protection because they say the technology is under-developed. “Waiting For Light AND Strong Skates” probably wouldn’t make a great play nor make an effective strategy against injury.

    and with no forward depth(good thing they sent down the kids) it’s not completely outside the realm of possibilities that things get a little thin in the forward ranks.

    but hey, here’s a positive. the sedins are looking great with those extra minutes. we’ll see how it goes over the full season but not having your star players play less minutes than every other team’s star players might not be a bad strategy.

    and the forecheck IS fun to watch.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 4 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      October 8, 2013

      “not to say you’re toeing the company line but once i put this article through the sarcasm converter…well, you’re toeing the company line.” haha I love you, akidd, but lighten up.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • akidd
        October 9, 2013

        was chuckling as i wrote that(ahh putin) but speaking of lightening up, that was a bit of a heavy touch, no? a 12-paragraph ‘not’ joke. but jeez, harrison, who am i to quibble when…you love me! i’ll just shut up and log out now while i’m ahead. night, night:)

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • John in Marpole
      October 8, 2013

      I see in the papers that the BC Government Humour Control Board is having a special, one time only, sale on 55 gallon drums of Ha Ha at the Laughter Store next weekend.

      Plus, you can get even greater savings on a sense of humour by picking up a special coupon from Gruopon.

      Just sayin’.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  6. Iain
    October 8, 2013

    what, no strombone1 tweet – even after the awesome shoutout to cory?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      October 8, 2013

      I believe these tweets were compiled and filed before Luongo tweeted that.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  7. Ryan
    October 8, 2013

    I guess Vancouver Sun is printing all kinds of garbage these days. Sarcasm or not that article was the biggest waste of half a page in the Vancouver Sun I’ve ever read. Your article pushed me to respond for the first time. Maybe my teenage sister should apply, I mean she has as good a chance as any it seems. Don’t worry, you’ll keep eating your words, and it’ll make you look more stupid as the season goes on.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -13 (from 23 votes)
    • DanD
      October 8, 2013

      Oh boy, maybe you guys should write worse so the trolls aren’t so tempted to come out.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
    • NotRyan
      October 8, 2013

      The understanding of sarcasm is a form of intelligence. This intelligence takes time to develop which is why most children below the age of 5 do not understand sarcasm. However as with all forms of intelligence, some adults remain at the 5 year old level. Thanks for administering ‘The Test’ PITB!

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
    • Aaron
      October 8, 2013

      Ryan what you fail to understand is that this was dripping with sarcasm aimed at the over dramatic and reactionary members of the Canucks fan base. PITB makes thier points with a blend of humour, sarcasm, facts and opinion while providing a great read. It’s to bad you missed the point of this article you may have had a good laugh. Anyways keep reading thier weekly posts in the sun as they can be very entertaining.

      Keep it up guys I think your great and still wanting an app for PITB.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • Harrison Mooney
        October 8, 2013

        We’re hoping for an app in the worst way. It’d be great.

        VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
        • Naturalmystic
          October 9, 2013

          Post Media is hemorrhaging money. Fantastic journalists like D. Baines and others jumping onto the buy out retirement ship. Outsourcing print production, selling off estate properties. Don’t hold your breath waiting for PM to pony up the dough for an app.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
    • John in Marpole
      October 8, 2013

      Cambo, is that you?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. Human Cannonball
    October 8, 2013

    Stay gold, PITB.

    Your comments section is one of the best on the web. It’s a constant source of confusion, misguided insults, and poetry.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
    • biznow
      October 8, 2013

      So much poetry. Little known fact, when you view these pages while wearing thick rimmed hipster glasses, Higgins’ abs appear in 3D.

      Seriously though, good article. Always enjoy reading. There’s a small typo, not sure if it’ll make it to print, but in the opening paragraph “it’s time to fact facts”.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  9. Knight of Cydonia
    October 8, 2013

    Can’t wait to see some angry letters to the editor in the Vancouver Sun….
    Hope your column will last more than 3 weeks.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  10. Cam Charron
    October 8, 2013

    I agree with Ryan. The article was as big of a waste of time as Harrison trying to beat me at tennis.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  11. Huck
    October 8, 2013

    Sarcasm is the lowest possible form of wit. Just sayin

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
    • Daniel Wagner
      October 8, 2013

      Meanwhile, satire is the highest. Guess which one this is.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
      • Neil B
        October 8, 2013

        Sometimes some wits are so witty they have an extra “t” at the front.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Could be worse
      October 8, 2013

      I think you’re thinking of knock-knock jokes.

      Which I agree would have been a terrible article.

      “Knock knock!

      Who’s there!

      John Tortorella!

      John Tortorella who!

      John Tortarella the Canuck’s coach!”

      Terrible!

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)