4: Alan Vigneault, John Tortorella; Coach Swap
One of the more interesting moves of the off-season was between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. Both teams were in need of a shakeup, so both fired their head coaches. Then, just a couple weeks later, they both hired the other teams’ ex-coach. This ‘coach swap’ is something never seen before in the league, which means a result no one can predict is waiting.
The problem with the ‘coach swap’ doesn’t lie in the fact that it happened, but the two different environments in each club. John Tortorella, new head coach of the Canucks, is known to be one of the most agitated, vulgar, and downright mean coaches in the NHL. His post-game comments have had more action than the game itself on some nights, and he doesn’t hold back when something is on his mind.
Vigneault, on the other hand, is recognized as one of the most cool, laid-back, and relaxed bench bosses in the league. Vigneault captured the hearts of his new ex-fans in Vancouver with everything from a coin toss to determine his starting goaltender, to laughing uncontrollably when an opponent made fun of one of his defencemen.
Their two respective former clubs have gotten used to the personalities of their ex-coaches, and are in for a shock when Vigneault and Tortorella show their true colors. The Canucks are arguably in a worse position of the two, with Tortorella’s high-strung nature seeming like a ticking time bomb for the club. However, both teams are looking to improve in 2013-14, with the Rangers getting eliminated by the Eastern Conference Champion in the last two seasons, and the Canucks playing just nine post-season games in the last two years.
The coaches will do well once they are settled in and the club is ready to follow their lead, but the time in-between could be long and costly for either team.