Yesterday, the Canucks fired general manager Mike Gillis. The stains of the Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider debacles were probably too significant to ignore in a season in which the Canucks missed the playoffs. Predictably, the guns now have their sites set on head coach John Tortorella, because why not? Nobody likes Torts.
For starters, Gillis deserved to be fired. His goaltending fumble aside, Tortorella was hired as head coach to do a job, Gillis didn’t even try to give him the tools he needed for the job. Tortorella and the Canucks were an odd marriage from the start. Solely because the Canucks roster was close to the polar opposite of the black and blue hockey players Tortorella’s systems and philosophy require. Which is fine, it’s the general manager’s responsibility to give his coach the tools he needs to be successful. Gillis didn’t do that. In fact, he made no attempt to and if he had his way, he would have traded Ryan Kesler, the most “Tortorella type” player at the trade deadline.
Gillis error on constructing the roster after the hiring of Tortorella was doubly inexcusable. The hiring of Tortorella was at the very least a joint decision between himself and Francesco Aquilini. After all, ownership would need to sign off on the coaching hire. In that case, Gillis was complicit in the hiring and still didn’t make any effort to respond accordingly when it came to constructing the roster. At the very worst, Aquilini hired Tortorella and Gillis disagreed with the decision and then made no effort to give his new coach the tools he needed to win. In either case, you’re fired.
Tortorella is a good hockey coach. Yes, he’s often a jerk in the media. No, he doesn’t value reporters. Yes, most of your (reporters) questions are stupid. But he’s still a good coach with a Stanley Cup ring and has found success everywhere he has coached. Besides the fact Tortorella still has four years worth of salary on his contract, he shouldn’t be fired. Why even hire him in the first place if you were just going to set him up for failure?