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Tortorella returns, says Canucks are ‘off the rails’

Feb 3, 2014, 12:19 PM EDT

tortorellagetty Getty Images

Canucks head coach John Tortorella will return from his 15-day suspension to take on Detroit tonight and, to hear him explain it, he’s returning to a team that’s lost its way.

“We’re off the rails on a lot of different aspects,” Tortorella said of his team, which went 2-4-0 in his absence. “Every aspect of our game is off. This team can and will play the right way.”

Tortorella, who’s been away from the team since going after Calgary coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18, was apologetic on Monday, saying he “embarrassed” his family and the organization, adding his suspension came at a time then the Canucks probably needed him most.

“I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the league. It hasn’t been a great two weeks,” he said. “I didn’t help matters for this team and we’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back.”

The Canucks won just once in regulation during Tortorella’s absence — a 2-1 victory in Edmonton — and also beat Phoenix in OT. But his time away was largely marked by defeats (to Nashville, Edmonton, Chicago and Winnipeg) and an inability to score goals. Vancouver had just 15 over the six games, five coming in one outing against the Coyotes.

Tortorella says there are many things for his players to deal with, and they’ll start with what’s between their ears.

“We had meetings this morning, we have a long list of things we need to improve at,” he said. “We need to start over on the mental side.”

  1. joey4id - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Mea culpa, Mr. Torts. Now! Get back on your horse and redeem yourself. Did you really say “off the rails”? Thank you for that. 😉 The check is in the mail.

    joey4id – Sep 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM
    Torts! Burke! We’re seeing a train wreck waiting to happen in Western Canada.

    • hockey412 - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:05 PM


    • imleftcoast - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      I think Sullivan has done fine in the interim. The Canucks need more practice. Torts is the one who reduced the number of practices.

      • joey4id - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        Well! I hope he can pull it together and save his job. Otherwise this may be his last season in the NHL. I hate to see a coach deteriorate like that and lose his career. Go Torts!

  2. xdj511 - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Sure, but are they going off the rails on a crazy train?

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      All aboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa! Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay

  3. patthehockeyfan - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    “… and an inability to score goals. Vancouver had just 15 over the six games, five coming in one outing against the Coyotes.”

    Kings’ fan here. We’d be happy with that “inability to score goals.”

    Torts has paid his fine for his actions. As much as I’d like to see the Canucks continue to lose (so the Kings can maintain 3rd place), I can’t help but hope Torts succeeds in Vancouver. Crazy though he is, he’s got this indescribable likable quality about him.


  4. stepanup - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    So happy the embarassment (Peyton’s right, I do mean it insultingly) and lack of goal scoring are Vancouver’s problem and not New Yorks’ anymore.

    Anyone else read this as an unintended slight of the rest of the coaching staff? It’s like any job where you take over for your boss for the week, the boss comes back and says everything is all screwed up. You’d feel pretty crappy, right? Speaking of what’s between the ears…

    • micasa81 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      I don’t think it was unintended – if you watch the media scrum, he expressly states that it’s not just the players who are to blame, but also the coaching staff. But he also doesn’t single out the 6 games in which Sullivan was in charge. He said they’ve been a different (i.e. much worse) team in January than in December.

    • imleftcoast - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      I took it as a statement of the obvious, what else could he say and have any credibility?

      • stepanup - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        He has credibility left?

  5. joey4id - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    The Nucks have w wins & 12 loses in the last 16 games. Suffice to say their problems started well before Torts decided to visit the Flames dressing room.

  6. therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    If anyone would know “off the rails” when he sees it it’s Torts.

  7. csilojohnson - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    what stepanup said.. ^

  8. shamu1the1whale - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Y’all gotta check out this super hilarious song “sung” entirely by… John Tortorella! I recently found this on youtube. This is so funny!!

    • shamu1the1whale - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      In case the link isn’t working, here’s the funny song:

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