VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CBSNewYork/AP) — The former Rangers head coach is in for a change of scenery.
The Vancouver Canucks hired John Tortorella to be their new coach on Tuesday.
Tortorella was recently fired by the New York Rangers after they lost to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs in five games.
The 55-year-old Tortorella replaces former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who took over as the Rangers coach last week.
Tortorella has been an NHL coach since 2001. He led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup championship in 2004.
As coach of the Rangers the past five seasons, Tortorella led New York to the playoffs three times.
“John has coached championship teams and is passionate about winning,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. “He has a proven ability to bring the best out of his players and we believe he has all of the qualities to bring our team success.”
In an interview with the Canucks’ official website, Tortorella spoke about his reputation as a head coach.
“It’s come to the point with me where I’m kind of being defined as ‘that lunatic,’ not only on the bench, but also after games with media,” Tortorella said. “I don’t want to be defined that way but I do make my own bed in that type of situation and I need to make some corrections, I need to make some adjustments in that part of it.”
The Boston native has reached the playoffs eight times and won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2004. Known for a fiery and often abrasive style, he was let go four days after the Rangers’ season ended with a second-round loss to the Bruins.
Tortorella was an assistant with the Rangers in the 1999-2000 season and took over for John Muckler as coach for the final four games. Tortorella later spent seven seasons as coach of the Lightning before taking over the Rangers in February 2009.
Vigneault was let go after the Canucks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. He guided the Canucks to a berth in the Stanley Cup final in 2011 and helped the team win two Presidents’ trophies and six Northwest Division titles.
Tortorella, the career leader in wins by a U.S.-born coach with 410, served as an assistant for the American team that won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also handled head coaching duties for Team USA at the 2008 world championship and served as an assistant coach at the event in 2005.
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