At the begining of his debut season with the Vancouver Canucks, John Tortorella decried "that damn Twitter", which he deemed as nothing but trouble.
He's probably even less a fan of it now, as TSN's Farhan Lalji used the medium to report that the Canucks will part ways with their coach after just one year in Vancouver.
Damn you, Twitter. Damn you to hell.
That's correct: on the same day their former coach, Alain Vigneault, punched his ticket to the second round of the postseason with his new club, the New York Rangers, word breaks that the Canucks will be firing the guy they replaced him with. New president Trevor Linden has admitted he'll be learning on the job. Presumably, he's yet to get to the chapter on timing.
(And seriously, letting word out in the third period of two Game 7s? Thanks for nothing.)
The move makes sense, though. Tortorella was a gamble for the Canucks, who were hoping that a veteran group that had grown somewhat lackadaisical after its trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 would respond to a shift from Alain Vigneault's gum-chewing to Tortorella's aggressive coaching.
Instead, the team got noticeably worse, failing to score 200 goals in a season for only the second time in their history, and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. Nobody had a good season. Nothing went right. And rather than providing the calm leadership one might expect from a veteran, Stanley Cup-winning coach, Tortorella tried to fight Bob Hartley in a hallway.
It may not be entirely fair to pin the decline of the Canucks in the back half of their season on that moment, but when you hang a lantern on a game like that -- when you earn an historic, two-week suspension at a time when your club needs points and they spend the next two weeks looking like a team without a coach -- it's tough to look past it.
It's also tough to look past the way this team free-fell afterwards, the way they seemed to have no idea how to score three years after leading the league in goals, the way they never seemed to know what their defensive strategy was, the way they couldn't hold leads, the way two more star players (Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, again) were inspired to ask out during the year, the way they all but threw in the towel down the stretch.
Vancouverites know: that's not what towels are for. They are for waving, while implying that the officials are out to against you.
There were no bright spots. So embarrassing was this season that, after trading Luongo, the Canucks didn't bother to replace the giant mural of their former captain hanging outside the arena with any current player, and they stripped basically every semblance of the current team from their website in favour of interviews with members of the 1994 team and photos of its captain, their new president, Trevor Linden.
This edition of the Canucks had a stink so bad it's a wonder anybody in the front-office survived, and no surprise that Tortorella followed the man that hired him, Mike Gillis, out the door. Sure, Tortorella had a four-year, $8 million contract, which owner Francesco Aquilini will reportedly now eat, but with season ticketholders in a fickle fanbase slow to renew, breaking up with Tortorella might turn out to be the cheaper option.
It's truly amazing what's happened to this franchise. In the summer of 2011, they were within one win of a Stanley Cup. Fast-forward three years and they've fired two coaches, a General Manager and President, and the team is a smoldering wreck like the cars outside Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011, the day this whole thing started to fall apart.