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Vancouver columnist: If Torts isn’t fired, Kassian should request trade

Mar 19, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT

zackkassiangetty Getty Images

Never afraid to stir the pot, Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher had quite the column in this morning’s paper.

The focus of the piece was 23-year-old winger Zack Kassian, who Gallagher believes deserves the same chance to play in the top six that 21-year-old winger Nicklas Jensen has received lately from coach John Tortorella.

Write Gallagher:

Now let’s be clear, this is exactly what a coach should do with a young offensive player like Jensen — straight into an opportunity to succeed with gifted players so as to bolster the confidence and get him off on the right foot. All good coaches do this and should do this. They’ve played Jensen perfectly. But what must Kassian be thinking here? Am I some sort of leper? Why not me?

This automatically makes the big right-winger mad keen to see how this coaching-management uncertainty turns out in the offseason. Because if Tortorella and this cadre of assistants are to return to run the show again next year, Kassian needs to request a trade as soon as possible if he ever hopes to get an opportunity to reach his potential in the NHL.

Kassian is a bit of a polarizing player in Vancouver, as so many players seem to be in that market. There are some who believe he has the potential to become a dominant power forward in the NHL, a la Milan Lucic; others believe he’s the Canucks’ next Steve Bernier, i.e. a perfect fit to play with the Sedins, but only on paper.

Related: Torts doesn’t trust Kassian to play with Sedins

  1. patthehockeyfan - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    And the Vancouver soap opera continues.

    I previously called it, “Days of our Dysfunctional Lives.” It’s getting more like, “As The Stomach Turns.”

    As much as I’m looking forward to the end of the regular season and the playoffs, Vancouver is the one and only reason I can’t wait for the entire 2014 hockey season to end.

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      This isn’t an issue anywhere outside of the mind of Tony Gallagher, and whatever buffoon at the Province passes for editorial oversight.

      I wouldn’t use that rag to housetrain my dog (sorry Brough!).

    • kaptaanamerica - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      Don’t be a tool Patty. Vancouver media is trying to stir controversy where there is none to seek advertising and papers…

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:27 PM


      • patthehockeyfan - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        The columnist who wrote the story, Tony Gallagher, is probably a failed athlete. Now, he seems to think himself a hockey coach. Talk about a tool.

        It’s not just this story, kaptaan. There’s just too much drama coming out of Vancouver. It’s every week, twice a week. It almost seems embarrassing to the rest of the hockey world.

      • davebabychreturns - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Pat, its a crazed hockey market (and a one team sports town) trying to make sense of an enormous collapse with the help of some notably awful sports coverage (both in print and on talk radio, although I haven’t listened to that in years).

        It’s just a tire fire this season.

  2. rushledger - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    This team is entertaining no doubt.

    • kaptaanamerica - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      One of the top three/ four revenue teams in the league, so YES they must be entertaining.

  3. fabdeezy77 - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Guys has no clue what a locker room is about, and he’s just wanting attention. Nice try

  4. imleftcoast - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Who made the decision to bring Jensen up? When Daniel was hurt, they called up Archibald first. After being questioned on the logic of that, they finally called up Jensen. Again, it look like there is some disagreement between the owner, GM and coach.

    As a side note, a number of people on PHT disagreed with me that Jensen should have been called instead of Archibald – on the basis that Jensen was nowhere near ready and had not scored in the AHL. They’ve been proved to be completely wrong about that.

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      Well you’re not really clear on the timeline here, but Archibald was called up in late October and again in January, and at both points Jensen was having an absolutely dismal season and struggling to even have an impact on games at the AHL level (nevermind score).

      Then he put it all together and began racking up goals in Utica and lo and behold got the call – it doesn’t really make anyone who wanted him called up earlier correct, just makes those who didn’t want him called up this time incorrect.

      • imleftcoast - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        Agree about Jensen – he started slow and then went on a tear. I was just referring to the call-up in March after the Heritage ‘Classic.’ You had a team that couldn’t score, and they called up a third line grinder with the season quickly slipping away. That seemed like a quintessentially, wrong-headed Tortorella decision to me. At the time, wren and kaptamerica set me straight on Jensen not being ready. Proved to be incorrect.

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        @left coast, I’m glad you agree that you were proved incorrect. Jensen wasn’t ready according to him and his coach. Now he’s ready and hopefully he’s displaced Daniel Sedin down to the third line for next season.

      • imleftcoast - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        @kaptaanamerica, I’m glad you agree your comment was proved incorrect. Jensen was ready, and throwing him was exactly the right thing to do. That was the only way to find out if he could displace Daniel. 1-0 chump.

        kaptaanamerica – Mar 3, 2014 at 9:12 PM
        Oi Wren, you are right mate. Let the player develop more in the minors and only bring him up when he isgonna be a solid performer. That’s what Detroit does and it works. You don’t throw young players on the big club to see what they’ll do the way imleftcoast is suggesting. These guys aren’t top five picks who should be able to perform within a short time.

        3 1 i Rate This

      • imleftcoast - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        Jensen, another goal tonight.4 points last 4 games.

  5. feedmetherock - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    This entire roster needs to be shaken up. Kesler needs to be moved. Move the Sedin’s too, they are both shells of their former selves. Move Bieksa too. Try and get younger and hope that one of Horvat or Shinkaruk are ready next season. Right now, the season is lost for them, there is no need to keep taking shots are the coach and players at this point. fabdeezy77 is right. The writer has no clue what is going on behind closed doors and is just looking for clicks and attention.

  6. pigeonbutt - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Brough is from the city and knows damn well that Gallagher is a hack who just tries to sell controversy. Validating this is just throwing up after eating someone else’s sick

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Perhaps Halford and Brough had to enter into an agreement with the Province – to get out of the huge money blogging contract they likely had, naturally – that in order to be free to move over to PHT they’d have to occasionally give Tony G some national exposure (that didn’t come from him being outwitted by noted intellectual Shawn Thornton)..

  7. njadvocate111 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Kassian has little to no potential, nevermind the potential to be Lucic. Kassian is a decent fighter at best, at worst he’s a constant reminder of what you traded Cody Hodgson for. Laughable that Gillis even has a job

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      Although this trade has proven to be one sided I do agree somewhat with the article that Kassian hasn’t exactly been put in a position to succeed. I remember watching him with the Sabres and it was clear to me that the kid atleast had the ceiling of 15-18 goal power forward/grinder/fighter. He looked a lot like Hartnell did early on in his career in Nashville. If the Canucks look to trade him this summer I’m pretty sure the Flyers would atleast inquire. He seems like their type of player and would appear to be a good fit next to Couturier and Read on the 3rd line. If Steve Downie can hold down that spot then Kassian certainly can as well.

    • ikillchicken - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      Laughable too that Hodgson fanboys are still so deluded that we gave up some kind of superstar. The guy has all of 16 goals and 35 points. That’s playing as a top line center, first unit PP, etc etc.

  8. barkar942 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    There were media members that would start asking Torts questions like “shouldn’t this player be playing here or there or with this one or that one” and Torts would answer “Stop coaching, Pat. Ask me a question about something but don’t ask questions that show how you want to coach the team”.
    Once again, Tort’s style of coaching was a little tough and harsh compared to Tom Renney when he took over the Rangers. He demanded effort and responsibility for defensive coverage and a players positioning and work away from the puck. He benched players who were just floating waiting to get a break away (see Zherdev). He benched players who were back checking like they were on vacation (again, see Zherdev). He has always said that players need to play correctly, and many of these potential offensive stars need to learn how to play without the puck (see DelZotto and Kreider). Constantly this year I still have seen DelZotto making poor decisions away from the puck (and obviously so did AV and they shipped him out for Kline), and Kreider chasing a player for that extra second or two to make a hit and it puts him out of position on his defensive coverage and the puck ends up in the Ranger’s net.
    I would say if Torts is saying someone isn’t ready, he’s probably correct. I am sure the influence on Zuccarello from playing under Torts is a good part of the reason that Zuc is turning into one of the best back checking forwards in the game.
    The Senators Karlson was getting burned last night away from the puck. Great offensive potential, but the defensive play away from the puck is lacking.
    There was a large turnover of players in the first couple of years when Torts came into NY. Basically looks like the same purge is happening now in Vancouver.
    I still feel that Torts shouldn’t have been fired from here, but what is done is done. I was loud on my soapbox about AV’s shortcomings early in the year, but have adjusted to what he is trying to do. Vancouver is in a rebuild now. Leave Torts at the helm and be patient.

  9. soro17 - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Three things that Jensen can do that Kassian can’t: skate; take a pass on his backhand; make a pass longer than 10 feet. Kassian’s inability to do these things, combined with an absolute cluelessness as to where he should be / go when breaking out of his zone, are the reasons why Kassian doesn’t get the time that Tony G thinks he deserves. Tony is dazzled by the odd play Kassian makes at the other end of the ice. He should count how many times a game Kassian stymies a breakout by being in the wrong position, by losing the puck in his feet, by having the puck bounce off his stick or by blindly throwing the puck into the neutral zone to no one in particular.

  10. AppealToReason - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Some of the best games Kesler has played this year after Santorelli got hurt were with Kassian on his wing. They were also some of the best games I’ve seen Kassian play. Almost like playing the kid with talented linemates allows him to show his talent.

  11. rrsm53 - Mar 20, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Gillis is a tool and the coach you have is a bigger one. Canucks have done crap since the bruins burned them in the Cup finals.

    Luongo was done after that series should never have been the circus it became. Gillis and Torts should be shown the door fast at the end of the season.

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