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Top Shelf: Tort reform coming to Vancouver
By Dan Di Sciullo, NHL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you've ever been to Vancouver you know the place is so beautiful it's hard not to walk around all day wearing a smile. Well, unless your name is John Tortorella.
The new Canucks head coach has earned his reputation as a malcontent over the years and it doesn't seem like a move to the West Coast is going to have a mellowing affect on Tortorella.
In this era of media savvy coaches Tortorella has decided to retain his edge. Although the outspoken American has sometimes rubbed his players the wrong way for criticizing them publicly, others have welcomed his honest and no-nonsense approach.
One thing is clear: Tortorella is not at all like his predecessor with the Canucks. After all, Alain Vigneault has been described as an easy-going coach who doesn't do a whole lot of screaming and shouting.
Of course, one of the biggest storylines of this offseason was Tortorella and Vigneault swapping places after being fired by their former clubs. Now Vigneault gets to try his coaching philosophy with the New York Rangers, who Tortorella led to the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.
Torts also has big shoes to fill in British Columbia, as Vigneault took the Canucks to the postseason in each of the past five years, a run that included a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.
The problem was both coaches wore out their welcomes in their previous jobs and the time seemed ripe for change.
While Vigneault has been characteristically quiet in NYC, Tortorella has already begun making waves in Vancouver. First up was his thoughts on Twitter and the way some NHL players use the social media site to connect with fans.
"Quite honestly, I think that Twitter and tweeting is one of the most narcissistic things I've ever seen," Tortorella grumbled.
"There better be nothing coming out of our locker room, as far as what goes on there."
To some, Torts' tirade was a pointed shot at Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who operates one of the NHL's most followed Twitter accounts in the form of @strombone1.
Tortorella also has ratcheted up the intensity at Vancouver's training camp, putting the Canucks through a fitness regimen that team captain Henrik Sedin called: "Tough, very tough."
Some players are excited about the coaching change, including forward Ryan Kesler, who said he likes the fact Tortorella isn't afraid to tell his players when they aren't performing well.
"I think Torts and I are a great fit. We both want to win and we both hate losing," Kesler said via his team's official Twitter account. "I want to be told what I'm doing right and wrong."
One of the great debates in sports is whether it's more effective for a coach to be a taskmasker/disciplinarian or someone who uses the carrot more than the stick. In Tortorella and Vigneault we have two shining examples of both coaching philosophies and it should be interesting to judge which man's strategy will pay greater dividends for their respective teams this season.
Time will only tell if a sour attitude is the right recipe to make a winner of the Canucks. Even if it does there's no guarantee it'll bring a smile to Torts' face.
Then again, what will?
09/13 14:30:24 ET