Hammer Falls on Tortorella and Sullivan

After Vancouver GM Mike Gillis was removed from his duties April 8, it was only a matter of time before team president Trevor Linden would make a decision on the status of head coach John Tortorella. Tortorella just finished the first season as Canucks head coach, where he led the team to a 36-35-11 record and missed the playoffs for the third time since the 2005 lockout.

That wasn’t enough to save his job despite one year into a five-year, $10 million contract with the club. Linden decided to fire Tortorella and assistant head coach Mike Sullivan Thursday morning.

In an email to season ticket holders today Linden explained the decision:

This is a fresh start for our team and you’ll see us make some other changes this summer. It starts with how we shape our management and coaching staffs and the roster improvements we’re able to make. Our goal is to be back in the playoffs next spring as we continue developing this group into a team that can challenge for the Stanley Cup.

We’re also committed to making it exciting to watch Canucks games throughout the season. A Season Ticket Member sent me a message recently saying, “We all want ‘The Cup’ of course but we also want to enjoy the ride too.” We’re going to do everything we can to make that happen. We want to put a team on the ice that creates buzz and anticipation in the city on game days. A team that has you planning your week around games and coming early to Rogers Arena to enjoy the atmosphere and to cheer on your Canucks.

To say the 2013-14 season was a roller coaster for Canucks fans is stating it rather modestly. During the season, they weren’t an entertaining club to watch.  They tried to change things up with a new coach but it blew up in their face. I seen a few press conferences with Torts during the season and he would say belittling things about his team such as  “We still have a lot to learn about…” and “I still need to teach them about…” type of comments. Did he realize he was coaching a veteran-heavy team with the likes of Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler and the Sedin twins? Did he know he was coaching a team that had many players end up one win away from the Stanley Cup two years before? From the sounds of it you would think he was coaching the Oilers or Islanders.

From other media reports, it appears the hire was purely on the shoulders of the ownership and less on Gillis. And both took the fall for what was an odd-hire considering they essentially swapped coaches with Alain Vigneault going to New York and is still playing hockey.

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