At some point, Tampa Bay needs to let go its infatuation and nostalgia with John Tortorella.
Maybe the mainstream media veterans and some bloggers like to dip back in that well again because it’s something to boast about. “Hey, we had him when he was just the right amount of bat-shit crazy to win the Cup!”
Like players, some coaches arrived at the right time for their chance at a championship only to never win it again. Tortorella could be the modern day Mike Keenan. Keenan was known to get in his players’ heads, berate them at times and even question their sexuality.
Torts could be tough, sure, but it’s mainly his media game that’s not winning any fans. Coaching is much of a public relations game as much as it’s one involving wins and losses. Torts’ media landscape was a little less on the 24-hour cycle then and wasn’t focused on the sensational headlines and metadata that would drive pageviews. Now, in a matter of seconds, his rant is the latest GIF.
Having Tampa media and fans continue to almost blindly endorse him is a little much.
Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones also gives a bit of a comparison to Keenan, and sure, one championship is one more than many coaches have won. Keenan relented himself to being a poor version of Mike Milbury on NHL on NBC and found himself coaching in the second- or third-best league in the world, nabbing a championship in the KHL. It’s a league much like it was 10-15 years ago, if not 20, being a little more tough and unrelenting to go with the skill.
I don’t think Tortorella would want his career to reach that point. You’d think his time off doing analysis at TSN would have given him time to do adjustments and he swore in front of Vancouver media he was a changed man. That didn’t last long.
When handing over the team to Tortorella, it better be a grinding, veteran team ready to adhere to shotblocking defense or else you’re in for a mini-rebuild. It’s almost as if it would better if Tortorella would be coach and GM so he can get his roster in order, but that would never happen.
Unless Torts can permanently adjust his approach and style with players, the league will tire of him and eventually stop giving him a job.
And onto the links:
- Jones on Torts: “He won’t be hired to start a season, but he’ll be the coach an underachieving team will turn to in the middle of next season.” Tom Jones | Tampa Bay Times
- That time when Phil Esposito punched reporter Bob McKenzie. Of course, furthering my assertion that Espo is really Frank Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny. OnTheFourthFloor.com
- Former Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon retires after a shoddy season in the KHL. NHL.com
- BriseBrois again mentioned for a GM post somewhere but what’s laughable is Pierre McGuire mentioned here. Someone must really want him to never work in hockey again. Kevin Allen | USA Today
- Tom Kurvers, senior adviser to Steve Yzerman, will be part of the USA Hockey advisory group for the World Championships. USAHockey.com
- Drooling over Drouin. W.B. Philip | Lightning Shout
- Wanting a Dan Boyle reunion? He wants to stay in San Jose. Curtis Peshalka | San Jose Mercury News
- Flyers owner Ed Snider doesn’t want Lecavalier to be a fourth-line center. Randy Miller | NJ.com
- That Benoit Pouliot. So hot right now. Goal, assist and Brad Richards also gets a goal and Jokinen gets an A. NHL.com
- Looking to get your hands on the newest hockey gear in South Florida? Head down to the Panthers IceDen Saturday for South Florida Hockey Fest. Ed Jovanoski, Tomas Fleischmann and Erik Gudbranson will also be on hand. Panthers.NHL.com
- Also, could the Panthers make it a hat trick for trading the No. 1 overall pick? When will they learn. Mike Halford | NBCSports
- Orlando Solar Bear’s Scott Tanski donates hair to Locks For Love. SportsPageMagazine.com