Canucks can Tortorella as team continues to clean house

The man charged with the job of revitalizing the Vancouver Canucks made his first major move toward erasing the memory of one of the team’s worst seasons in recent history. Trevor Linden, the former Vancouver captain who has taken over as the team’s president, put his stamp on the Canucks by firing head coach John Tortorella on Thursday.

VANCOUVER — The man charged with the job of revitalizing the Vancouver Canucks made his first major move toward erasing the memory of one of the team’s worst seasons in recent history.

Trevor Linden, the former Vancouver captain who has taken over as the team’s president, put his stamp on the Canucks by firing head coach John Tortorella on Thursday.

Linden said the action was the first step in moving on from a frustrating season that saw the Canucks miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“Today is about the future of this team and the goal of getting it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs,” Linden told a news conference.

Tortorella’s firing was expected, but Linden said he didn’t want to rush the decision.

“I tried to come in from a neutral place,” he said.

“At the end of the day I kept coming back to a lot of things I didn’t like that I saw trending. I just felt to move forward and kind of put a new perspective and new direction, it was the right thing to do.”

Besides Tortorella, assistant coach Mike Sullivan was also relieved of his duties. They join fired president and general manager Mike Gillis as those paying the price for a dismal year that saw the Canucks finish 25th overall.

Assistant coaches Glen Gulutzan and Darryl Williams and goaltender coach Roland Melanson will keep their jobs.

Linden hopes to have a new general manager hired by the end of the month.

The search for a coach could coincide with looking for a GM.

“I have a real strong (GM) candidate list that I will be starting the interview process next week,” said Linden. “I think the two processes can move along together for a certain period of time.

“It’s important the manager have a great deal of input on the coaching direction. That would be the ideal situation.”

One of the names most frequently mentioned for the Vancouver GM’s job is Jim Benning, Boston’s assistant general manager and a former teammate of Linden. The Bruins have the potential to play deep into the Stanley Cup playoff.

Linden refused to be specific about any candidates but indicated playoff teams may be willing to let him talk to their staff.

“I have not got any pushback on timing from a playoff standpoint,” he said.

Linden wants a coach with experience at “many levels.” The person must be a teacher and be able to communicate with his players.

One of the most popular Canucks of all time, Linden is trying to repair the team’s image and its relationship with fans left disillusioned by Vancouver’s drop from the ranks of the NHL’s elite.

“This is a fresh start for our team and you’ll see us make some other changes this summer,” he said in a letter to season ticket holders. “It starts with how we shape our management and coaching staffs and the roster improvements we’re able to make.”

The Canucks had a good start under Tortorella but finished the year with a 36-35-11 record for 83 points. The Canucks had just 13 wins in the 41 games since Jan. 1. Vancouver also struggled to score, managing just 196 goals on the season, leaving the Canucks tied for second least in the league.

At an April 14 season-ending news conference Tortorella was blunt when he said the Canucks are getting old and the core needed revitalizing.

Linden was asked about the comments.

“We talked about that,” he said. “I don’t totally agree with everything he said.”

Tortorella, who won a Stanley Cup coaching Tampa Bay in 2004, was hired as the Canucks’ 17th head coach last June to replace the fired Alain Vigneault.

Vigneault took over Tortorella’s old team, the New York Rangers, and has led them into the second round of this season’s playoffs.

Just Posted

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

Castor murderer denies he’s a killer

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

Advocate poll shows another hospital wanted in Red Deer

Over 50 per cent of voters support second hospital

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month