Kings might be last opening for Torts
With the dominoes beginning to fall, it sounds like a good time to take stock of what options are left for former Lightning coach John Tortorella. Torts didn't return a phone call to catch up, so it is up to us to read between the lines. First a refresher as to who is coaching where:
Panthers: Peter DeBoer; Senators: Craig Hartsburg; Sharks: Todd McLellan; Maple Leafs: Ron Wilson.
That leaves two jobs open, the Thrashers and the Kings. We learned Friday that Atlanta has asked permission to speak to Lightning assistant Mike Sullivan, presumably about the head coaching job. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also has reported the team will interview Brad McCrimmon and John Anderson. Tortorella's name has not been mentioned there in a while, though initial reports were that the Thrashers had asked permission to speak to him. Be that as it may, his name has not been mentioned with that job in a while.
That leaves the Kings of the current group of teams that fired their coaches. Maybe Jacques Demers was right after all. The former Lightning coach and current television analyst for Canada's RDS told us earlier this week that the Kings would be a perfect fit for Tortorella. A young team with some good talent and nowhere to go but up. Sounds a lot like the Lightning when Torts took over in January 2001.
And not that Tortorella minds pressure, but there wouldn't be much right away in LA, where any steps forward would be a victory and the media does not pay a whole lot of attention to hockey.
Got to also say a quick word about the Senators going with Hartsburg. A good coach, but, really, did the team not go with Torts, as the Ottawa Sun reported, because it believes Torts brash, in-your-face-style would not go over well in the locker room? This is a veteran team that can't seem to find the focus or skill to take that final step. The report in the Sun plays right into the perception that the Senators are soft.