Update: It’s official now. John Tortorella has been fired, along with his running mate, Mike Sullivan.
Wednesday was an incredibly jam-packed day for sports fans. All three game sevens in the NHL playoffs were intense, with the game between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild particularly crazy. Game five between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets was a nailbiter, with the Raptors giving up a 26-point lead before eking out the win.
Then, just to make things interesting, a slew of new Rob Ford rumours: He’s heading into rehab. There’s a new video of him with a crack pipe. He made extremely crude comments about a political rival. He had a run-in with Justin Bieber. There’s a sex tape.
Really, it was the perfect time to break news that you want to slip under the radar. So, appropriately, news broke. According to Farhan Lalji, the Canucks will fire John Tortorella on Thursday.
BREAKING – John Tortorella will be fired by #canucks tomorrow
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) May 1, 2014
I’m fairly certain that Tortorella has actually already been fired and that what Lalji was actually breaking was the announcement of that fact. Otherwise that would be one awkward meeting in the morning.
LINDEN: Hey Torts, thanks for coming in. Just wanted to have a discussion about your future with the Canucks.
TORTORELLA: F@$% you.
LINDEN: Right. Good talk.
The timing was particularly fun because it came just a couple seconds after Anze Kopitar scored the go-ahead goal in game seven of the series between the Sharks and Kings. If the Sharks lose the series, Todd McLellan will, in all probability, lose his job. Linden might have been jumping the gun just a bit letting Tortorella go when the score was just 2-1.
The timing gets even more painful when you consider that his former team — and Alain Vigneault’s current one — the New York Rangers, just punched their ticket to the second round by beating the Philadelphia Flyers in game seven.
Everything went wrong this season for the Tortorella and the Canucks. They couldn’t score, setting a franchise low for goals in a season. Their leading scorer, Henrik Sedin, had just 50 points. Only one player, Ryan Kesler, broke the 20-goal barrier with 25 goals. Alex Edler, who had been a minus player just once previously, had the league’s worst plus/minus at minus-39. Alex Burrows got cursed by a witch and forgot how to score.
Then there were the two biggest debacles of the season. The first was Tortorella heading down the Flames’ hallway in an attempt to fight Bob Hartley, earning a two-week suspension. The second was starting Eddie Lack in the Heritage Classic, the last straw that chased Roberto Luongo out of Vancouver and into Florida’s waiting, overly-tanned arms.
There didn’t seem to be any other option for the Canucks and their new President of Hockey Operations, Trevor Linden. It seemed so inevitable that the three-week wait was an eternity, leading to rampant rumours that Tortorella would be here for another season or that Linden wanted to hire a general manager first and pass the responsibility of making a coaching change to the new new guy.
Instead, if the report is true, Tortorella is done in Vancouver and Linden may need to consider hiring a new coach before hiring a new GM, as there will be competition for the most qualified candidates.
Who will be the new coach? Let the rumour-mongering begin.Tags: John Tortorella