Those of you who are avid hockey fans know of Tortorella's, um, tenuous relationship with reporters... or fans... or his players (see here, or here, or here, or here). He's not known for subscribing to Thumper's mother's philosophy of, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." and this leads me to the three reasons why I think he'll be great for the Vancouver organization. Despite these reasons being numbered, they are listed in no particular order.
#1. He's going to keep the Vancouver sports reporters in line.
For years now, I think our local reports have received some special treatment (or think they're entitled to special treatment) by the players, the coaching staff, and the franchise as a whole. Recently, the hubs came up with a phrase: "Can you get this knife out of my back? I need it for something else." This seems to sum up the relationship the Vancouver organization has with the reporters here. As a fan, it seems as though the franchise gives the reporters far more access than any other franchise gives their local reporters. Now, I don't think this entitles the franchise to receive rose-coloured reporting, but Botchford and the like often seem to forget that they have it pretty easy with the Vancouver Canucks organization. I imagine it wouldn't be that way in any other market.
Tortorella will probably have a lot of fun reminding our reporters what it's like in most other markets, and I will have a lot more fun watching this happen. He'll have them whipped in shape in no time.
#2. He's going to keep the Vancouver fans in line.
Vancouver NHL fans are known for being band wagon fans. If you google "vancouver bandwagoners" you'll see blog entry after blog entry, and news article after news article detailing just how notorious we are for hopping on and off the bandwagon. Remember that phrase the hubs came up with? Yeah, that applies to Vancouver Canucks and their relationship with us fans. When we're winning, all we can holler about is how this year is our year (2013/14 season is TOTALLY our year. I can feel it!). The minutes we lose a game... scratch that, the second we miss a shot, we all scream from the mountain tops (and we have a lot here) about how we knew that was a bogus trade deal; how he's not won a face off in 10 games; how, if we'd kept the last guy with the softest hands in the league, that puck most definitely would have found the back of the net.
Torts won't put up with that mess. He will call us out on that, and have fun doing it. He'll have us whipped into shape in no time.
#3. He's going to keep the Vancouver players in line.
As with every franchise, we have some prima donnas on our team. We have The Twins who can only pass to each other (amazing passes though they sometimes are), Kesler who seems to be made of glass, and Bieska who talks too much (I adore him, but seriously, the man jaws himself into the sin bin far too many time) to name a few players who have probably been treated with kid gloves (especially The Twins, I bet). Bieska stating that they don't need someone to crack the whip tells me that that's exactly what the team needs. GM Mike Gillis probably recognized this as well I bet is the very reason he courted Torts.
Vancouver players are treated well. They have some ground breaking fitness and training philosophies; they really get down to the science of fitness and nutrition with the players, and tailor a regimen to suit each individual players needs. They have a support staff that I doubt can be rivaled by any other team in the league (save perhaps some of the Original Six teams... but even then, I'm not too sure). They live in the most beautiful city in the world. Life is good, if you're in the NHL and you're playing for Vancouver. Sure, you'll get swept out of the playoffs one season, and then get frustratingly close to the Cup in subsequent seasons, but you're living the good life here. With that, however, comes complacency. This is where Torts comes in. He's going to make some players very non-complacent. He'll have them whipped into shape in no time.
I know there are a number of sport journalists, fans, and players who aren't too comfortable with this new development, but I know one player and one fan who can't wait.
This is going to be an awesome season.