Torts: "I'm out of my mind already"

4

September

Torts For the first time since the mid 1980s, John Tortorella does not have a team to prepare with, does not have a training camp to plan for. How is the former Lightning coach coping?

"I'll be honest with you, I'm out of my mind already because I'm not preparing the team," he said Thursday. "That's all I know how to do. That's all I want to do is prepare a hockey team. It's tough now that I'm not doing that."

Tortorella got back in the game Thursday when TSN hired him to be a studio analyst. Tortorella said he would be in Toronto three or four days a week, and he joked that wife, Christine, is not handling well that he is still underfoot this time of year.

"She doesn't want me around," he said. "She's happy as hell I'm going."

As for his TV gig, Torts said being an analyst always interested him, and now, being out of the league, it's a good way for him to stay current with what teams are doing and how players are playing. But as far as how he's going to handle the job, he said, "I don't have a clue how comfortable I'm going to be."

He said people may be surprised at how he comes across. He said he is not going to rip into people, and said he told TSN not to expect that kind of sideshow.

"The perception of me is I'm too hard and I rip on people. It's untrue," he said. "I hold people accountable when I coach, and when I approach this here, I want to learn it and do it to the best way I possibly can. I want to learn about the business and offer everything I have. It may last a week. It may last a while. We'll see."

Tortorella, 50, interviewed for three jobs during the summer, with the Sharks, the Thrashers and Islanders. None turned out to be the right fit. He said he has a clause in his TSN contract that will allow him to pursue an NHL coaching job should one open during the season. 

"I want  to coach, no question about it. I want to coach again," he said. "This gives me an opportunity to stay close to the game and learn about a part of the business. I think I'll learn more about the league doing it this way, and it will keep my straight at far as personnel."

As for analyzing the Lightning, which is on TSN four times next season, the first on Oct. 28 at Toronto, Tortorella said it won't be a problem. He declined to talk about how he feels his situation with Tampa Bay was handled or what he will take from his seven seasons as coach which included four straight playoff seasons, winning the 2004 Stanley Cup and the 2004 Jack Adams award as coach of the year.

"I'm always going to be honest," said Tortorella, fired after last season's last place finish. "As far as Tampa Bay, that team's changed. There are so many players gone from when I was coaching. There are certain people in that organization I are about, but that team has changed so much, I don't even know what the lineup is going to be."

We'll have more with Torts in Friday's paper.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

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