NHL releases 2013-2014 schedule, confirms participation in 2014 Olympics

July 19th, 2013

Buy 2013-2014 NHL ticketsAfter a week of waiting and false alarms, the National Hockey schedule for the 2013-2014 season was finally released today. The new season is set to begin October 1st, 2013 and features six outdoor stadium games on the schedule. The NHL also officially confirmed the participation of its players in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which leads to a two-week break in the February schedule.

Read the official press release and full schedule from the NHL.

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John Tortorella formally introduced as Canucks’ new head coach

June 25th, 2013

The rumours have been flying for weeks in Vancouver, but the Vancouver Canucks have finally named their new man behind the bench. In a press conference today, Canucks GM Mike Gillis introduced John Tortorella as the franchise’s 17th head coach. It’s a coaching swap between two franchises, with Tortorella taking over from the fired Alain Vigneault, who is taking over Torts’ old job as the head coach of the New York Rangers.

[Watch the Canucks' press conference and read the TSN article]

Tortorella’s resume includes 24 years in coaching, a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams Awards as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, and a silver medal as an assistant coach at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. After 3 seasons as head coach for the New York Rangers, he was fired after the Rangers were ousted in the second round of the playoffs this year. It should be interesting days ahead for the Vancouver sports media, as Tortorella has become every bit as famous (or infamous) for his often terse relationship with reporters as he is for his brash, fiery coaching style.

Local sports bloggers and Tweeters have wasted no time having a field day with predictions on how Torts will handle the spotlight in the hockey-mad Vancouver market. Last week, The Province’s Wyatt Arndt (also known by his Twitter handle @TheStanchion) responded to the rumours of Tortorella’s hiring by illustrating more than a few possible scenarios for the new bench boss. Love him or hate him, Torts alone should make for some interesting storylines going into next season. On the hockey side of things – you know, the side that we should probably all be concerned about – it’s a wake-up call for a Canucks team that has come close to winning it all, but has often been accused of pulling a disappearing act in the postseason in 2012 and 2013.

What do you think of the hiring of John Totorella? Do you like it or dislike it?

And the axe falls – Vancouver Canucks fire Alain Vigneault, assistants

May 22nd, 2013

He’s the franchise leader in wins in the 42-year history of the Vancouver Canucks, but that didn’t save Alain Vigneault from being the NHL’s latest coaching casualty. The Canucks fired Vigneault, as well as assistant coaches Rick Bowness and Newell Browne today after the team was ousted in the first round of the playoffs two years in a row.

With Coach V gone, who takes over as the Canucks' bench boss?

After being hired in 2006, Vigneault amassed a regular season record of 313-170-57, a Jack Adams award in 2007 and was one win away from a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. While not many expect Coach V to be out of work for too long given his resume, there was a feeling that he was losing his ability to motivate his lineup after over 6 years in Vancouver. Two years removed from the 2011 Stanley Cup final and despite continuing to win the Northwest division title, the Canucks have had lethargic showings down the stretch and in the playoffs. Their inability to score goals in the post-season has been well-documented, and calls for change could no longer be ignored after another disappointing finish this year. Vigneault’s dismissal is probably just the beginning of changes for the Canucks this summer, with an impatient fan base recognizing that the window to win for this group is rapidly closing.

With the coaching position now vacant, who do you think should take over behind the Canucks bench? There is no shortage of qualified candidates, with the likes of ex-Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Marlies boss Dallas Eakins potentially available.