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Video: Winning hockey games ‘comes down to battles,’ says Torts

Jun 25, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

John Tortorella didn’t want to get himself in trouble with the league on his first official day as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, but in a question-and-answer period with fans, he did admit when presented with the following question…


…that “it was pretty much wide open as far as letting them play” in the postseason.

The officiating in the playoffs – no matter how many times the NHL says the standard doesn’t change — has been a long-running complaint in Vancouver, particularly of general manager Mike Gillis, who sat beside Tortorella for the Q&A.

So…taking into account the way the game is called and played in the postseason, and perhaps knowing that complaining has gotten the Canucks nowhere, what’s the solution for a team that’s had plenty of regular-season success, but so far has fallen short of its Stanley Cup aspirations?

“Everybody wants the offense,” said Tortorella. “I don’t think there’s one coach in this league that does not want that offense. Everybody wants that. It’s sometimes hard. The way teams defend, the way they pack the middle of the ice. It’s sometimes hard.

“You better make sure, as you’re trying to create that offense, that you’re also doing the things away from the puck, and protecting the puck, and doing the stuff on the walls.

“That’s a big part of winning hockey games consistently, is that puck – going to get it, protecting it, and when you’re in your own end zone, or in the neutral zone, make sure you’re protecting it so it doesn’t enter.

“That comes down to battles.”

Gillis, not surprisingly, concurred.

“Absolutely, 100 percent,” he said. “We need to strike that balance between defensive play and offensive play. We have good offensive players here, but we also have good defenders and we have great goaltending.

“I think when you look at the regular-season games, they are different games as you move through the first round of the playoffs, the second round, the third round, the Stanley Cup Final.

“I agree with John totally – we need to prepare throughout the course of the season for what’s going to happen in the postseason. And to do that, you need accountability, you need consistency, you need to ensure that work ethic is there every day, and that’s what we intend to do.”

Related: Canucks GM Gillis still likes ‘an upbeat, fast style of play’

  1. imleftcoast - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Anticipated? I’m also ‘anticipating’ an announcement on moving the Coyotes to Seattle.

  2. imleftcoast - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    At least he admitted being fired by the Rangers. Shorty is quite a homer these days.

  3. jcmeyer10 - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    “Look commentators, you guys are just not good enough for this Q&A. You guys are jitterbugs.”

  4. 950003cups - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    When he talks about “battles” he’s talking about battling the media after his team blows chunks all over center ice in their own building.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Cue the scene from Drop Dead Gorgeous where all the Minnesota state beauty pageant contestants are blowing chunks after eating the clam.

      But all on ice.

  5. r4n6er - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    I look at the swap between the Ducks and the Leaf’s coaches and I start to realize that a coaching style that doesn’t work in one place can work in another. Fingers crossed this was the right choice.

  6. bronxsanman - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I can’t wait till he tells the Sedins they have to block shots or he will sit them like he did to Gaborik. This should be hilarious.GOOD LUCK VANCOUVER !

  7. imleftcoast - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    He mentioned in the press conference that the Sedins are going to have to block shots and kill penalties. He’s not a lunatic. He said they’re not Ryan Callahan. Sedins are team guys. It’s a non-issue. Tortorella definitely wants to add some grit, which all Canuck fans nodded their heads in agreement with.

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Blah! Blah! Blah! Blowing smoke up everybodies behind these 2 guys are doing. Their making it sound like they and only they hold the key to success. Hey! Torts! why didn’t win a cup in NY? You think Vigneault didn’t know all this sh@t their throwing at us.

  9. cheesesteak75 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Every time this clown gets in front of a camera his head get bigger!

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