Safe to say that when writing the memoir on the coaching career of John Tortorella, the story could spin in a multitude amount of directions. In the world of professional sports, they aren't many as intimidating coaches that come to mind when it comes to the sheer presence they impose while instructing the generals as their is with the man they affectionately call "Torts". For a man that really only entered the limelight fifteen or so years ago, he's lived such an iconic journey down a path that is widely perceived to be a unsecure profession. From early successes in the American Hockey League to rejuvenating a Tampa Bay Lightning squad that was smeared with bad publicity into eventual Stanley Cup champions to proceeding to overtake a franchise in a media hotbed, ala New York City to after being thrown to wolves in the Big Apple having his demeanor torn apart by the at times overbearing Western Canadian media coaching the Vancouver Canucks. In between these coaching stints, he sprinkled in some broadcasting working alongside TSN's James Duthie as a member of the NHL on TSN panel in which he would consistently make a mockery of the quiz. It was thought that after less than memorable outings in both New York and Vancouver that he was blacklisted in the coaching fraternity, but to the surprise of most he was chosen as the Head Coach to lead Team U.S.A in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. As stated many times by commissioner Gary Bettman, the premise behind instituting the World Cup was to grow the game, is John Tortorella someone that you want associated with when attempting to complete this very mission?
Controversial. If forced to use one adjective that would be the best descriptor however the complexity of Tortorella goes well beyond such an overused hyperbole. He's witty with a very dry sense of humor something that is not picked up on easily as the national media outlets are enamored and fixated on the reputation he built up in his tense pleasantries with New York post columnist Larry Brooks. Firey coaches are the norm across the world of sports, think back to Lou Piniella, Jeff Van Gundy, Jim Schonefield and the names I just mentioned are seen in a good light so why is it that Tortorella doesn't get the same love and respect? Unlike Piniella and Van Gundy, Tortorella is a champion of his sport that's "controversial"(again overused adjective) methods are unconventional but successful. I give Dean Lombardi major props for not sticking to the script and bucking the trend and supplying Torts a way to get back in the good graces of the National Hockey League. If better restraint with his own players is shown in this international tenure, a route back to the pro's in plausible. One of the more frowned upon moments with John was when he used expletives to describe the behavior of Sean Avery on the TSN panel while unemployed only to make a push to acquire him when he was given the New York Rangers job. These kind of contradictory maneuvers do nothing as what it shows, to me anyways is that he doesn't stick up for what he believes, the ultimate last straw when it comes to that all important player-coach relationship.
Gary Bettman talks about wanting to grow the game, having a colorful personality like Mr.Tortorella on board would be a good start.