The New York Rangers are fueling the coaching carousel right now. They have arguably the most desirable job opening of the three NHL vacancies – along with the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks – and are in the process of interviewing the top candidates available. Their decision could be the most important domino to fall.
But they’ve also contributed an interesting name to that pool of prospects: John Tortorella, a man with a Texas-sized ego that might end up in the appropriate state for it.
Katie Strang of ESPN New York reports that Tortorella is on the Dallas Stars’ radar to replace Glen Gulutzan. They’ve yet to ask permission to speak with him; Tortorella is under contract with the Rangers, having signed an extension during the 2012-13 season.
Would Tortorella work in Dallas?
Personality wise, it would be like returning to Tampa Bay, where the media scrutiny was miniscule compared to that in New York. That doesn’t mean Torts won’t be Torts – the man knows not another manner in which to behave – but it does mean the petty baiting of the media that turned into a sideshow might subside.
At least until the playoffs.
But the real question about Torts in Big D: Is he the right fit for what they’re building?
The Stars are going young, using veterans like Sergei Gonchar to bridge to the next wave of talent that’ll make Dallas a contender again. Some say Tortorella is a good mentor for young players; others remembering him crushing the spirit of talented rookies like Chris Kreider.
On that latter point, we’ll say this: The stakes will be different in Dallas. Patience will be a virtue. Tortorella, under different circumstances, will have more of it.
Defending Big D still sees Alain Vigneault as the top candidate for the Dallas gig, with Lindy Ruff and Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill getting a look from GM Jim Nill as well. (Blashill coaches the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, and Nill’s obviously tied in with that franchise.)
New York Rangers: Vigneault is a “prime candidate” for the Rangers opening, with the team having asked permission to speak with Lindy Ruff as well. The NY Post has hired Dan Bylsma as the new Rangers coach, by the way.
Vancouver Canucks: John Stevens, the former Philadelphia Flyers bench boss, is the leading candidate for the Canucks’ opening now that Dallas Eakins inked with the Edmonton Oilers. The team has permission from the Los Angeles Kings to speak with their assistant. Former Stars coach Gulutzan and former Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel have also gotten a look.