Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Jones: A tip for Tortorella if he gets another NHL coaching job

Former Lightning and Rangers coach John Tortorella is now the former Canucks coach.

Tortorella, the man who led the Lightning to its only Stanley Cup in 2004, was dumped by Vancouver last week, fired after only one season.

No surprise. The Canucks are a mess, having finished 24th in the 30-team NHL. They need to revamp and rebuild, and Tortorella is not the type of coach best suited for a reclamation project. True, he took a bunch of kids such as Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Marty St. Louis and turned them into a championship team. But he's now a veteran who probably doesn't have the patience for youthful mistakes. He would probably prefer taking an experienced team to the next level.

And that's what will happen next.

That's right. Tortorella, 55, will get another NHL job someday. Having a Stanley Cup on your resume carries a lot of weight. Look at Mike Keenan. He is twice as prickly as Tortorella, and he ended up coaching eight teams, including five after his one and only Cup victory with the Rangers in 1994.

So Tortorella will get another job. Here's my guess: He won't be hired to start a season, but he'll be the coach an underachieving team will turn to in the middle of next season.

He hasn't had tremendous success since leaving the Lightning after the 2007-08 season. He has coached five seasons, four with the Ran­gers. His teams missed the playoffs twice and reached the conference final only once.

Tortorella won't want to hear this, but most of his success came with Craig Ramsay as his assistant. Ramsay played good cop to Tortorella's bad cop. Last summer, former Lightning defenseman Brad Lukowich told the Vancouver Sun:

"(Ramsay) was a great guy for Torts because Torts came so hard at guys and Rammer was so good at backing him up and giving the same message but at a less emotional level. He was the arm-around-your-shoulder kind of assistant coach that Torts needed."

Tortorella and Ramsay eventually butted heads in Tampa, and Tortorella replaced Ramsay with Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan is a good coach but a lot like Tortorella.

"It was kind of like beating the same drum," Lukowich said. "You'd hear it from Torts, and then you'd hear it from the next guy in pretty much the same way. If you made a bad play, you heard about it a couple of times the same way with the same delivery. So I'm not sure the message got across quite as clearly as it did the first time. With Rammer and Torts, they were a great one-two punch."

Doubt that it will happen, but maybe Torts should try repairing his relationship with Ramsay and hire him as an assistant the next time he gets a job.

Interesting point

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (right) agrees with the NBA's lifetime ban for Clippers owner Donald Sterling after his racist remarks were caught on tape. But Abdul-Jabbar, who once worked for Sterling as a Clippers assistant coach, said the person who taped the conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend without Sterling's knowledge should be "sent to prison."

It has been assumed the conversation was taped by that girlfriend, V. Stiviano, but her attorney said it was taped by mutual agreement and leaked by a friend.

"Shouldn't we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media?" Abdul-Jabbar, 67, wrote in Time magazine. "Didn't we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen's privacy in such an un-American way?"

Most inspirational

The NHL announced last week the finalists for the Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Surprisingly, the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, who returned after breaking his right leg midseason, was not among the finalists.

The winner, however, is an easy choice. Former Lightning forward Dominic Moore (right), now with the Rangers, returned after a year in which he lost his wife, Katie, to a rare form of liver cancer.

The other finalists: Carolina's Manny Malhotra and New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr, who just signed another one-year deal with the Devils. The winner will be announced June 24 at the NHL awards ceremony.

Media notes

HBO's Hard Knocks, which follows an NFL team during training camp, is having trouble finding a team for this summer's series. The Bears and Cardinals turned down offers.

Thebiglead.com reports the University of Miami turned down a deal to be the subject of a Hard Knocks-type show on Showtime.

Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith, considered one of the top sports writers in the business, is retiring from magazine writing. Smith, 60, has been with SI since 1983.

• Fox Sports 1 has canceled Crowd Goes Wild because of low ratings, according to Sports Illustrated media critic Richard Deitsch. That was the show co-hosted by Regis Philbin. The last show is scheduled for Thursday.

Three things that popped into my head

1. It was sad to see Vinny Lecavalier (below) playing less than nine minutes and not taking one shift in the third period of the Flyers' 2-1 loss to the Rangers in Game 7 of their first-round series.

2. The Bucs will announce the newest addition to their Ring of Honor on Tuesday. Gotta be Derrick Brooks, don't you think?

3. Finally, the draft gets here Thursday. What in the world is ESPN2 going to talk about when it's over?

tom jones' two cents

 
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