As one of the few competent Canadian teams in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks have been watched with rapt attention the last few years. Coach Alain Vigneault had optimized the Sedin twins as much as possible to squeeze every last creepy-twin point out of ’em, but still the team repeatedly disappointed in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, in New York, John Tortorella encouraged an egalitarian, block-all-of-the-pucks philosophy that yielded decent results. But after four and a half seasons without a Cup (page me when you hit 38), “decent” results weren’t enough, and Torts’ caustic media persona was no longer welcome in Manhattan.
So they swapped! Tortorella is the new coach of the Vancouver Canucks, and Alain Vigneault is the new coach of the New York Rangers. The personality stories alone would make the move worth it, but this season should also bring us some new data about how coaching does or does not drive a team’s performance. Personally, I think NYR got the far better side of the deal.
Plus, Torts is now like 3 time zones away. Water-bottle squirting yutz.