Gallagher: Tortorella would keep things lively, but the Canucks already have the Melanson sideshow
Perhaps hiring John Tortorella would give the Canucks that long-needed jolt of emotion that was clearly missing in their playoff series these past two seasons.
And, yes, he’d end the country club atmosphere that always seems to spring up every time an organization tries to do everything for its players the way this team has done.
He’s good with young players, trusting a whole bevy of them with the Rangers at one time, most of them flourishing wonderfully well.
But there are a couple of things to consider here. It might work. It might also blow up in their face in a horrible way — to the point where, if the Sedins get turned off, they might play here next year, collect their salaries, head to the Olympics and not come back.
Replacing Alain Vigneault with Tortorella would be replacing one coach whose team couldn’t score goals in the playoffs with another whose team couldn’t score in the playoffs.
As one TEAM radio caller said of Tortorella on Wednesday morning, “If he was to bring his shot-blocking, meatwagon brand of hockey to Vancouver, Ryan Kesler would get injured just answering one of his phone calls.”
And that’s just a sample of the public reaction. Imagine the circus in the media. Tortorella’s antics not only would lead the sports shows and be on the back page of The Province, they’d lead news broadcasts all across the country, given the popularity of the sport here.
It’s one thing to say the media doesn’t matter, and there’s considerable truth to that assertion. But GM Mike Gillis, who already finds any supporters in the media he may have dwindling by the day, would be spending most of his time putting out fires started by a charming coaching staff headed by a guy with short man’s complex and ably augmented by Rollie Melanson, a guy who boasts about not talking with the media in Vancouver as though it’s some badge of honour.
And it’s true. Melanson is better than pending U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice at finding excuses not to talk. Refuses to say a word on the record to me other than hello, but sings like a canary to his buddies in Quebec. And Gillis claims he can’t understand how it leaked out to the media in Quebec before he phoned Vigneault to tell him he was being fired?
Yes, Torts is a charmer, all right. The last time the Rangers were in here he managed to get into a tiff with Shanel Pratap, a likable, still fairly low-profile young reporter at Global television over some innocuous question to which he managed to take exception.
Not sure what would happen when some regulars really started to have some fun with him, especially if his team didn’t start well or wasn’t particularly buying into what he was selling.
Which assistant coach would he want to bring in, Larry Brooks, just to make sure there’s never a dull day? It would certainly keep the focus and pressure off his players.
But even Tortorella would struggle to keep up with Melanson, who clearly seems to want out of Vancouver and back into Montreal very badly, based on his remarkable comments Tuesday in which he managed to put the boots into Pierre Groulx, the already-fired goalie coach of the Habs, by pointing out how Carey Price had gone downhill.
Never mind that Price wasn’t exactly at his best under Melanson. Never mind he doesn’t have the numbers to back up his assertion. Never mind he’s under contract here and it’s not exactly kosher to comment on the coaches of other teams or openings that may exist with other teams.
Groulx, whose young son Leo is severely autistic, is out of work and Melanson is burying the guy with a backhoe of abuse as if trying to make sure he doesn’t get work anywhere else. That should play wonderfully well with Canucks co-owner Paolo Aquilini.
Seriously, why doesn’t he just go to Gillis and ask to be released from his deal here? Pining so openly for the hallowed grounds of Montreal like this isn’t doing anyone any good, Cory Schneider included.
So much fun already, and Tortorella is still only a candidate.
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