On Thursday, new Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden made it official that head coach John Tortorella and assistant Mike Sullivan were fired. Assistants Glen Gulutzan, Darryl Williams and goaltending coach Rollie Melanson are staying on.
“Today is about the future,” Linden said. “My vision is to bring an exciting, winning brand of hockey back to Rogers Arena, with the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
The 2013-14 Canucks were anything but an “exciting, winning brand of hockey,” scoring less than 200 goals for the second time in franchise history and missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. Tortorella called the team “stale” and in need of a retool during his end-of-season press conference. With nine players currently holding some form of a no-move/no-trade clause in their contract, it’s going to be interesting to see how Linden and his new general manager forge ahead with that roadblock in front of them.
Linden said he met with Tortorella several times after the regular season and took an open-minded approach in making the decision. Once he did decide to make a change, he said he tried to talk himself out of doing it, but ultimately it needed to be done.
“At the end of the day, it kept coming back to a lot of things that I didn’t like that I saw trending,” he said.
”Starting with a clean slate is important.”
Linden will begin interviewing general manager candidates next week and ideally would like to have someone in place by the end of May. The search for a new GM may take time and he could lose a candidate or two along the way as other opening around the NHL are filled, but he’s not too worried about that.
“Ultimately, there’s several options,” he said. “Those two processes can move along together, if you will. They’re not mutually exclusive.
“The timing of it is somewhat tricky, there’s no question. I made this decision on what’s best for the team, not necessarily timing.”
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