No NHL teams called John Tortorella about coaching vacancies last summer

John Tortorella admitted to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that no NHL teams called him last summer regarding coaching vacancies.

In Friedman’s latest must-read 30 Thoughts column, Tortorella, who’s set to coach team USA at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, “threw cold water” on the idea he took the role as an attempt to get back in the NHL. Tortorella said the job was simply too enticing.

“Seriously, who wouldn’t want this job? You’re coaching the best players to win a tournament. I don’t know how to do anything else. You’re not sure if you’re ever going to get back in the game, but I’m refreshed and can’t wait. I’m ready to play Canada right now.”

Friedman thinks Tortorella believes he’s got one more coaching run left in him, and is eager to prove that he can still coach at the highest level, but it’s easy to understand why opportunities aren’t coming his way, following his tirades during his one-and-done season in Vancouver, and his abrasive past in general.

I wrote about how Paul Bissonnette wasn’t a fan of hockey analytics, and it appears he’s not the only one who doesn’t like them. During the interview with Friedman, Tortorella really dug deep into his thoughts on the topic.

He’s never explained to me how his process works, but Tortorella has a way of looking at games through scoring chances. Breaking down how they happen gives him a true picture of what occurred. In a Tampa radio interview, Tortorella said he spent last season trying to learn about analytics. So what did he uncover? “You know what, not much…There are so many red flags going on with analytics. Corsi, Fenwick…(The year he coached in Vancouver), we were 10th in puck possession and finished 25th. Last year, LA was fifth and didn’t make it. It’s so media driven, it’s taken on a life of its own. It’s not Billy Beane, it’s an instinctive sport. It’s who you are playing against, and on a shot anything can happen. You have to be careful not to be controlled by numbers. You can’t sacrifice your beliefs to get along with the norm.”

Torts sounds like one of the stubborn old scouts from Moneyball.

What’s funny about his comments is, he’s using Corsi and Fenwick as his only tools for evaluation – which is silly. While they’re valuable resources to use, they’re only the beginning of where to start with advanced stats. The Edmonton Journal’s Jonathan Willis summarized the flaws behind the argument.

No matter how much I disagree with him, I can’t deny it’s great to hear from Tortorella again. He’s brash and aggressive, but entirely unique. I’d love to see him back behind the bench of an NHL team just for pure entertainment value. I mean look at this man’s passion!


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About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.