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John Tortorella fired after one season coaching Vancouver Canucks

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

John Tortorella was 36-35-11 as the Canuck coach. (Getty Images)
John Tortorella was 36-35-11 as the Canucks coach. (Getty Images)

John Tortorella is out as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks after just one season.

After reports surfaced on Wednesday night that Tortorella was on his way out, the Canucks made the announcement on Thursday. Tortorella, along with assistant coach Mike Sullivan, were fired.

"Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team," new Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden said. "On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best."

"We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staff, improve our roster and connect with our fans," added Linden. "Our General Manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately."

Tortorella came to Vancouver last offseason, signing a five-year contract with then-GM Mike Gillis. Sills was fired at the end of the season and now Torts is following Gillis out the door.

Tortorella came to Vancouver after a long stint as the Rangers coach, one that had its fair share of ups and downs. His relationship with the media and his demeanor were big talking points, something he vowed to change in Vancouver (and for the most part, he did better). But more important were the reports of the players wanting him out and the Rangers' defensive style becoming stagnant.

That same issue might be what is hastening his exit in Vancouver. The way the Canucks played under Tortorella vs. past coach Alain Vigneault (who took Torts' post in New York) was different and it didn't seem to suit the Canucks. At the same time, Tortorella was dealing with a roster in a bit of flux as the Canucks hit a critical point in their franchise, but still the team didn't perform up to expectations.

Without question the defining moment of the Tortorella era in Vancouver will be the incident between he and Flames coach Bob Hartley in January that landed Tortorella a 15-day suspension. He tried to visit the Flames dressing area after a first-period brawl to confront Hartley.

Now that that's in the past, the Canucks are turning their attention to what lies ahead. Linden has the task of finding a new general manager before thinking about a new coach as they decide where the team is headed.

Tortorella is the fourth coach to be fired since the season ended, joining Barry Trotz in Nashville, Adam Oates in Washington and interim coach Peter Horachek in Florida.

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