John Tortorella selected to coach Team USA at the World Cup

Bobby Bevilacqua

John tortorella

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The aggressive demeanor and brusque stylings of John Tortorella are back in the hockey world.

Yes folks, get out your reporter’s notebook and recorder, because Tortorella, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, has been selected as the head coach for Team USA for the upcoming 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

“There’s no greater honor than to represent your country, and I’m humbled to have this opportunity,” Tortorella said during a press conference. “We’ll have one objective and that will be to bring the World Cup championship back to the United States.”

Tortorella has not coached since the 2013-14 season, when he was fired after turning the Vancouver Canucks into a dumpster fire, but he is a very talented and accomplished coach.

“Torts” leads all American born coaches with 446 wins, and he guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to their only Stanley Cup championship during the 2004 season. He had reasonable success with the Rangers, leading them to their third 50 win season in franchise history and one Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2012.

Hiring Tortorella is a risk, as he tends to be a bit of a hot-head, and has gotten in trouble during his coaching career.

During the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was suspended by the NHL for one game after getting in an altercation with a Flyers fan, throwing a water bottle at them, and trying to spear them with a stick through the space in the glass.

In a game against the Calgary Flames, Tortorella tried to get into the Flames locker room to confront head coach Bob Hartley after there was a line brawl to open the first period.

If there is one thing that he will provide, it’s energy and intensity to a USA team that was clearly lacking it during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Team USA failed to medal that year, losing to Finland and finishing fourth. They didn’t perform that well, and lacked passion and aggression. You can be sure that the team will be more fiery with Torts barking commands from the bench.

There will also be some familiarity for Tortorella, coaching some former Rangers such as Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh.

And on top of all of this, we will be gifted with more of the world-famous John Tortorella interviews and press conferences. He’s delivered some classic lines over the years, especially as the head coach of the Rangers.

After Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik delivered a knee-to-knee hit to Derek Stepan, and wasn’t penalized or suspended, Tortorella lashed out at Pittsburgh’s stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and the organization as a whole.

“It’s a cheap, dirty hit. I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there. I wonder what would happen. So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just not respect amongst players. None. It’s sickening.”

“That’s one of the most arrogant organizations in sports,” Tortorella said. “They whine about this stuff all the time. It’s ridiculous. But they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two … stars.”

In a Canucks press conference, Torts playfully lashed out at a reporter who accidentally called him Mike.

“I’m not Mike. You’re done. You are done. Go ahead, a—hole.”

Tortorella was criticized for scratching Rangers forward Brad Richards during the 2013 playoffs in the second round against the Bruins, but he defended his decision.

“This is a Conn Smythe winner, a guy I grew up with, a guy that I love as a person and a player. But I have to make that decision regarding this, so kiss my ass if you want to write something different.”

And best of all was the hatred often displayed between Tortorella and Larry Brooks, the Rangers beat writer for the New York Post. To be fair, Brooks is really annoying at times, asking ridiculous questions and writing sensationalist articles. Torts didn’t like that, and delivered this classic during a postgame interview after Brooks continually ripped on defenseman Wade Redden.

John Tortorella: I said I’m not answering any of your questions. Have you ever fought before?
Larry Brooks: Yes. Why, are you challenging me now?
JT: No, no, I’m not challenging you. You know, Redden sticks up for his teammates the other night and you come out with some sarcastic article.
LB: It was funny.
JT: It was funny? You were probably beat up on the bus stop most of the time.

Welcome back Tortorella.

Posted on September 24, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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