Former Rangers coach John Tortorella, who instilled a work ethic and a shot-blocking defensive style but was undermined by his volatility and often harsh demeanor off the ice, is on the cusp of a new job.
After two interviews with Canucks brass, Tortorella, 54, who was fired on May 29, was in Vancouver to discuss an offer to replace Alain Vigneault, who, in an odd juxtaposition, was introduced as the Rangers' coach Friday.
Vancouver ownership, according to newspaper reports from that city, wants a culture change and a crack-the-whip approach, and Tortorella should fit the bill. He was 171-115-29 and made the playoffs in four of five seasons as the Rangers' coach.
Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather, who dismissed Tortorella in part because Sather favors a more up-tempo offensive style that Vigneault also espouses, indicated Friday that demeanor also was an issue.
"Well, I'd say maybe beyond stubborn," Sather said in describing one of Tortorella's personality traits. "But I like that part of Torts. I like a lot of things about him. He was perfect for us for a few years, and he's going to be perfect wherever he goes. I just felt that it was getting to be so hard on some of our players."
Sather also refuted reports that players forced his hand on the firing. "There hasn't been a player who's complained to me about Torts," he said. "He's the kind of guy who pushes to win. A.V. is a pusher as well."
Vigneault, asked during a radio interview about Tortorella, said: "That's in the past. I've got a lot of respect for him as a person and a coach. Whatever happened with him and his former players, it doesn't matter right now."