Canucks coach John Tortorella to opt for eye-in-sky view to evaluate players in NHL pre-season game
Notebook: ‘I want to make my own evaluation,’ he says sitting alone up top
VANCOUVER — New Canucks head coach John Tortorella called his first audible of the NHL pre-season Monday night, opting to sit in the press box rather than stand behind the bench for his team's opening exhibition game against the San Jose Sharks.
Tortorella had indicated he would be on the bench for all six pre-season games, but had a change of heart.
“I'm just not a good enough coach to be able to coach a game and try to win it, which we should be trying to do, plus evaluate and give a fair look at some of these kids,” he explained following the morning skate at Rogers Arena.
Like Greta Garbo, Torts likes to be alone when he does sit up top, although he did watch Monday's game between coaching staff members Rollie Melanson and Darryl Williams.
“You have people talking about that play and this play,” he said. “That's a big reason why I didn't go to Penticton (prospects tournament) because too many people are talking to me. They are going 'he's good, he did this' and I want to make my own evaluation. Then we'll discuss it as a group as we go through the next couple of weeks. This is where a lot of the major evaluation is going to happen.”
Tortorella made it clear that sitting in the press box didn't mean he would actually be sitting with the press corps and listening to their advice.
“I won't be up with you, I can tell you right now,” he said, smiling. “We're going to have different views eventually so I'll just stay away right now and go about my business that way.”
A DEAD RINGER? As we feel our way into the Tortorella era, the dos and don'ts are becoming more apparent. On Monday, a TV cameraman’s cellphone began to ring during the coach's press briefing. He wasn't amused.
“That's going to be a major league fine, I tell you,” he said with a partial death stare. “I'll walk, I'll walk ... if cellphones go off, I'll walk.”
There was no reason to believe the cameraman was planted by Larry Brooks, Torts' main press adversary in New York.
GUITAR MAN: During the summer, the Canucks sent their web people around the country to interview some of the team's prospects. One such visit was with defenceman Frank Corrado, who demonstrated his prowess on guitar by playing the introduction to AC/DC's Thunderstruck with just one hand. (It's on YouTube.)
Corrado, 20, began playing guitar when he was 12 and took lessons for five years.
“I started the year of the NHL lockout (2004-05) because there was nothing to do with no hockey on TV,” he said. “So I picked it up as a hobby. No one in my family was really musically inclined but I was always listening to music in the car with my dad and his stuff was classic rock. I liked it and it kind of grew from there.”
Corrado now has 10 guitars — “to get some different sounds” — but hasn't brought any of them to training camp.
“Once I'm more settled, I'll bring one out,” he said, obviously referring to whether he starts the season with the Canucks or on the farm in Utica, N.Y.
His current musical tastes go from classic rock to hip-hop and country. He has heard of Chad Brownlee, a one-time Canuck draft pick (2003 sixth-rounder), who made it in professional music and not professional hockey. Corrado doesn't plan to follow that career path.
“Chad Brownlee has a good voice and I don't have that,” Corrado said.
He also has no plans to play with the Canucks' house band, the Odds, on a night when he's not dressed.
“Not a chance,” he laughed. “I don't think so.”
Canucks' marketing department, are you listening?
NAME GAME: With a first name like Bo — short for Bowie — Canucks rookie Bo Horvat doesn't really need a hockey handle. But he did have one in junior with the OHL’s London Knights that has yet to spill over into the Canucks’ dressing room.
“I guess they call me 'The Ox' a little bit in London,” he revealed. “That was kind of my nickname there but other than that, it's pretty much just been Bo.”
Hunter Shinkaruk is “Hunts” and he fully understands how Horvat, at 6-0 and 206 pounds, became known as The Ox.
“Just look at him,” said Shinkaruk.
CUTTING DOWN: The Canucks sent two players back to junior Monday without a pre-season audition.
Centre Cole Cassels, son of former NHLer Andrew, was returned to the OHL's Oshawa Generals while defenceman Jordan Subban, younger brother of P.K., was given his ticket to the Belleville Bulls.
Both players were taken in the 2013 entry draft, Cassels in the third round and Subban in the fourth.
QUOTABLE: “You would have had to find your own helicopter and your own private jet. It was just too much of a hassle.” — Canucks winger Dale Weise, with his girlfriend due any day, on why he opted out of the team's fishing trip to Prince Rupert just prior to training camp.
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