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article imageSecret is out: John Tortorella to be Vancouver Canucks head coach

By Marcus Hondro     Jun 21, 2013 in Sports
Hockey fans in Vancouver should brace themselves because the circus is coming to town. That circus would be John Tortorella, who arrived at Vancouver airport Friday keeping tight-lipped; he didn't need to talk though, his very presence said it all.
Tortorella, 55, if not about to be named coach after interviewing last week, would be as welcome on the left coast as a nuclear sub (who, by municipal law, can't enter Vancouver waters). But it's the NHL's worst kept secret and he will be named the team's 17th head coach in the coming days.
Tortorella for Vigneault, straight up
The sometimes wildly talkative, other times taciturn Tortorella will follow Alain Vigneault, the club's winningest coach who also has the franchise record for most points in a season, with 117 in 2010-11, the year he took them to within a game of the Stanley Cup.
With Vigneault signing to replace Tortorella as head coach of the Rangers in New York, this one becomes a trade and should be easy to make judgements on when each has eventually been fired, or before. While Torts has a Cup in 2004 in Tampa to his credit, for 8 of his 12 seasons as a coach in Tampa and New York he either didn't make the postseason (4 times) or failed to advance past the first round (4 times).
Vigneault's record as a Canuck coach in 540 regular season games is 313-170-57. The only other coach in Vancouver history to get past 141 wins was Marc Crawford, who coached roughly the same amount of games as coach 'V' and managed 246. Vigneault made the playoffs 6 of 7 seasons with the Canucks and one of three with Montreal.
Rangers and Canucks: same offensive numbers
The Rangers and the Canucks struggled finding the offensive on the ice that they seemed to have on paper in 2013, and each needs more goals to contend in 2013-14. But Vancouver GM Mike Gillis told fans last month after San Jose eliminated his Canucks in 4 straight in the first round, that he has misread the league and realizes now that he has to get bigger and more defensive.
He certainly won't get more offensive with Tortorella, not if last season's numbers in New York are an indicator. The Rangers managed 130 goals in 48 games in 2013, not a woeful total but Tortorella had high-octane talent like Rick Nash, Marion Gaborik (traded at the deadline to Columbus), Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan and Derek Stephan, so not so impressive, either.
Partly due to injury, Vigneault had less to work with to get to the 127 goals his Canucks scored last season. Beyond the Sedin brothers, with Ryan Kesler and David Booth out most of the season, for goals Vigneault was relying on the likes of Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond and whatever the defense could muster. The Rangers want more offence and without adding a player seem to have it.
With Tortorella Vancouver will need more defence to make up for the loss they'll have in goals. And on the nights they Tortorella gets neither the defence or the goals, fans will need to tolerate a circus coming to town.
More about john tortorella, Vancouver canucks, gm mike gillis, alain vigneault
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