|John Tortorella Goes Down the Hall to the Calgary Dressing Room...|
Tortorella has a history of combative interactions with members of the media, but has won a Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa, and took the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals. Tortorella is a solid, winning coach, with a contrasting style to that of Richards, and comes in at a time when a change is needed.
My buddy Bill described Tortorella as Woody Hayes on steroids, which is quite funny, but perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. I would suggest that John has some shared characteristics with Woody, in that he apparently does not suffer fools gladly. He does not appear to be the type to back down from a challenge, and appears to have a blazing competitive spirit. These attributes may contrast with Coach Richards approach, but are merely different ways of going about the same job. In the end, Tortorella is a veteran, successful coach, and I think he will find that this team is a good fit to the way he likes to see hockey played. I did not feel that way about Vancouver's personnel when he went to be Coach there. Tortorella is far, far from a square peg in a round hole here, and I think the personnel and the coach will adapt to each other rather quickly.
In my opinion, this is a very important coaching job for Tortorella, and I think he is going to give it a very good shot. Things got cross wise from the start at his last job in Vancouver, and it didn't end well. I think he needs to have a good outcome here. Goodness knows I'd love for him to have a good outcome here. And honestly, I think Tortorella brings something that is not found elsewhere in the Blue Jackets organization, and in that way complements a lot of pieces that are already in place.
I got a chance to listen to Jody Shelly over on 97.1 the fan on their "Inside Edge" show. Jody has played for Tortorella, and spoke glowingly of how Tortorella was able to be honest about accountability. I think those are things that are needed right now, as our team tries to fend off the record for 'most ignominious start ever'. We need a win at Minnesota tomorrow.
If we accomplished no other thing today, we screwed up the other teams 'book' on the CBJ. Whatever they thought we were, we are something different today with the addition of Tortorella. There are no guarantees in this business, and you have to play the games and get the results. I think this will turn out well in the short term. Ideally, it also works out well in the long term.
Congratulations Coach Tortorella, and good luck!
We wish you the best in all things Coach Richards. I will thank you for your service in a later post.