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Ex-Canuck Garrison refuses to pin blame on Torts

Jul 16, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

Jason Garrison Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks are putting a lot of faith in head coach Willie Desjardins to return the team to the playoffs after a disastrous 2013-14 under since-fired John Tortorella.

All you have to do is read between the lines.

“Willie is a great teacher, motivator and communicator; his teams have competed with a style of play we believe will help us compete in our division and in the playoffs,” read the statement from general manager Jim Benning upon the hiring of Desjardins. (Emphasis ours.)

But defenseman Jason Garrison, now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, isn’t willing to pin the blame for last season’s failures on “one single person,” i.e. Torts.

“It’s a team game,” Garrison told TEAM 1040 radio today (audio). “Collectively, we didn’t get the job done.”

At the same time, Garrison conceded that adjusting to Tortorella’s system was, well, an adjustment.

“These guys that have been here for a while were so used to a certain system with [Alain Vigneault],” he said. “It was an adjustment for everyone on the team.”

An adjustment that, if you believe one report, may have led to frustration among certain Canucks over a perceived lack of practicing the new system.

As we wrote in our post on the signing of Ryan Miller, Vancouver’s braintrust clearly believes the system was to blame for much of the team’s struggles last season. From misusing the Sedins to playing too “slow,” Tortorella was lambasted for the job he did. Even Mike Gillis, when he was still the general manager, strongly insinuated that the way the Canucks were playing under Torts was the wrong way.

Now, though, the pressure is on Desjardins, Benning, president of hockey ops Trevor Linden, and a Canucks core (minus Ryan Kesler) to deliver on the promise to play “up-tempo” and “fast” and “bring exciting, winning hockey back to Rogers Arena.”

  1. lowenni - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Obviously a lot of blame can be pinned on Torts, but it’s classy of Garrison to keep all the blame off of him. As much as everyone loves to shoot off on Torts, I’m sure he’s having a rough time being fired two seasons in a row. Garrison notes what hockey is, which is a team game, and his attitude of accountability and leadership are something that’s gonna help the young Lightning core a lot as well. Classy statement in my opinion in answer to a loaded question about a controversial figure.

  2. c9castine - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    let it go man. its over. hes gone, and you have a new coach.

    if you really want to blame somebody blame Gillis. hes the one who started the debacle by creating a goalie controversy and ruining relationships with two starters, firing his coach when there was no need to, hiring an idiot when there was no need to…

    as a team they failed last year. but gillis is the man you want Jason.

    • Jason Brough - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      You say “let it go,” as if I’m trying to shovel dirt on Torts. Not the case. I’m trying to set things up for next season. How they play and how successful they are under Desjardins will be interesting to watch.

      • imleftcoast - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Based on team history, this should be interesting to watch until about mid-December. Benning and Linden might still make it interesting to watch (from afar) after that, but realistically I’m not sure the Canucks will still be in the playoff race by Jan 1, 2015.

      • c9castine - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        OK well, your tone makes that point a little confusing I am not going to lie especially for readers like me who have seen you write blogs posts for almost the last year about the Canucks and in a lot of them Torts is the object of negativity.

        But I see your point. if Desjardins doesn’t improve upon last year, what does that mean exactly? (that was a real question). Or for that matter, if he does better or worse.

    • imleftcoast - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      let it go man. Gillis is gone. So is Garrison – he doesn’t have a new coach, he has a new team.

      Garrison is trying to do the right thing with this response. Why is Team 1040 still asking? Slow sports day, non-stop Vancouver navel-gazing? Nice of Garrison to even agree to this interview when he’s with Tampa now.

  3. elrock7 - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Gillis set the bar pretty low, Benning will be better but even a crackhead from gastown would be better than gillis.

  4. canada2014gold - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    The bar is “oh so low”.

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