Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tortorella fired

Tampa Bay Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today that John Tortorella will not return next season as the team’s head coach. Tortorella has one season remaining on his contract.

“This has been a very difficult decision because of everything that John Tortorella has meant to and done for this organization,” Feaster said. “Torts came to Tampa and not only built the foundation under our club but he also changed the culture and raised the expectations, eventually leading us to the Stanley Cup in 2004. What he accomplished during his tenure in Tampa was nothing short of remarkable and our organization will always owe him our thanks, gratitude and deep respect.”
And here comes Barry Melrose.

Say what you will about Tortorella's antics, no one deserves to be canned in the media weeks before it actually happens. I wonder if this means OK Hockey (a name that could lead to some hilarious headlines if things go sour down the line) is any closer to purchasing the team.

Are there any Tampa Bay fans out there with thoughts on what's happening?

Tortorella's won a Cup recently and won't be out of work long. Ottawa's a plausible destination, as is Florida, San Jose or Atlanta.

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At 3:56 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

Gong show.

Looking on the bright side, I guess with Melrose, Lecavalier and St. Louis at least Tampa will have some of the finest slicked back hair in the league next season.

At 3:58 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

You do have to wonder how all this will affect Lecavalier. I can't imagine him signing an extension this July anymore... a reasonable man would wait to see how all these changes play out.

At 4:11 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous Karina said...

So what's Torts' anticipated destination?

I think Ottawa would be smart to pick him up.

At 4:33 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Hooray! Cue an entire year of hearing about how Lecavalier will obviously sign in Montreal because he speaks French. Of course he'll play on the top line with Sidney Crosby right?

I hope ottawa picks him up. I'd love to have seen his reaction to Patrick Lalime or Ray Emery.

At 4:43 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous oiler said...

As a Tampa native and resident, I can tell you that the call for Torts to go has always been much stronger from outside the city (Canada) than it has been within.

Perhaps it's a comment on the sophistication of the hockey fan here in Tampa, but more likely I suspect it's simply that Torts was liked here.

This move, more than anything, seems like the will of new ownership being imposed. And while I hope that's not true, if it is, I think we'll know pretty soon by what happens to Jay Feaster next.

Sure, there's talk that perhaps Tort's routine had grown old with the players, but whenever you fire a coach for that reason you're still left with the obvious question of "is there someone out there who's better".

Barry Trotz still has a job. I don't understand why Tortorella couldn't follow the same path. The answer, right now, appears to be the change in ownership. It's the difference between a winning owner (the Davidson group) and a rookie one.

I hope and think he'll go to Ottawa or Toronto, and turns them into a Cup champion.

There's no reason the team couldn't go worst to first under the old regime. But now I have to seriously doubt where this franchise is headed.

At 5:04 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Hooray! Cue an entire year of hearing about how Lecavalier will obviously sign in Montreal because he speaks French. Of course he'll play on the top line with Sidney Crosby right?

It's funny, but it's because he's French Canadian and a star that he'll never sign with Montreal, at least not until he's about 38. No Quebec born player who is any good ever chooses to play for Montreal... and all who are drafted by or traded to Montreal eventually find their way out. When Yanic Perreault is the best Quebecois UFA the Habs have attracted to Montreal in the past decade, well.... that speaks volumes.

Of course I would love for Vinnie to Montreal to happen, but I can picture 29 other jerseys on him before le bleu, blanc et rouge. My early, completely uniformed guess would be LA.

At 5:06 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger sager said...

There's a principle at stake with the Melrose hiring... the principle being, "What's the worse that can happen?"

(Other than the team sinking to the bottom of the league, the stars leaving, Steven Stamkos' development being stunted and the franchise going under, not much.... good on James to call shenanigans the other day.)

Oh, and Garry Galley was on the radio in Ottawa just now saying you shouldn't be speculating about who the Sens will hire — because you wouldn't want to speculate and end up contributing to exciting sports-talk radio or something.

At 7:21 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Oh, and Garry Galley was on the radio in Ottawa just now saying you shouldn't be speculating about who the Sens will hire — because you wouldn't want to speculate and end up contributing to exciting sports-talk radio or something.

And we should definitely listen to Garry Galley because he knows a thing or two about not contributing to exciting sports-talk radio.

At 8:16 a.m., June 04, 2008, Blogger Blitzen said...

Torts is not going to Ottawa if you read (listen) between the lines in an interview Murray gave yesterday with Team1200 in Ottawa. He said that his list of candidates did not include a coach that was waiting to be made available (i.e. Torts waiting to be officially fired).

At 8:25 a.m., June 04, 2008, Anonymous Rachael said...

Thank God for that...I couldn't stand to look at Fonzie behind the bench for 82 games! I'm liking the alternative names that are coming up, but I do not want Torts in Ottawa.

At 1:07 p.m., June 04, 2008, Anonymous jamiebez said...

I think Tortorella is a great coach, but he wouldn't fit well with Ottawa's personnel.

In Tampa, he had them playing an offense-first, speed-based style. That works when you have good top line scoring (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards), good secondary scoring (Stillman, Andreychuk, Modin) and a great goalie to bail everyone out (Khabibulin) when they're out of position racing up the ice. Ottawa only has one of those things - the great top line.

He has a lot of attributes the Sens do need though, like the ability to hold players accountable. If he can change his style to suit the personnel, it might work, but I'm not optimistic.

At 2:05 p.m., June 04, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hey Coach!" (From his wife's awful children's book.) Get Lost!

It is simple as that. Tampa needs a fresh start and his philosophies were old and uninspiring.

Jay Feaster is not far behind you. I hope!

At 3:40 p.m., June 04, 2008, Blogger gritz said...

Another comment from Florida here ... and I agree with everything written by 'oiler' above. Given the ownership change I expected to see him go, but I never felt like there was an undercurrent of "Fire Torts Now" floating around here. When he came the team was an absolute joke, and he played a big part in turning the culture around and making the team a winner. That will buy you at least a season's worth of good will, especially among fans who have taken more than their share of ridicule. ("Good hockey in Florida? Yeah, right.")

Sure, he got in trouble for calling players out in the media, but I never felt that he was cruel - just honest. Let's face it - he wasn't lying when he said the team's goaltending sucked. I think Dan Boyle said it best yesterday: "Motivation was probably his best asset. Certainly, it's a well-known fact he was really hard on a lot of us. But when you look back, we won a Cup and certainly a lot of us are better players for it."

Every coach brings good and bad points, and on the whole Torts was better than most. Given the new ownership it may be time for a change but I'll be sorry to see him go.

At 5:47 p.m., June 04, 2008, Anonymous oiler said...

Good comments, gritz.

I'd also just like to add what a huge role he had in getting lecavalier to play like a superstar. vinny was held to a level of expectation that i dont think many coaches would hold a guy like that too. and i was looking forward to seeing stamkos go through the same process.

feaster had a good comment in the papers here about how tampa was a country club for players before torts arrived.

thats the biggest fear now with no successor named (especially considering the name that is being rumored).


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