John Tortorella will be back behind the bench Monday to coach the Vancouver Canucks against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena after a 15-day suspension that saw him miss six games. The team went 2-4-0 in his absence and is 0-1-0 on its five-game road trip following a 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
"I apologize first and foremost to the players, to the organization and to the League. It hasn't been a great two weeks," Tortorella told reporters Monday morning. "I didn't help matters for this team and we're in a tough spot right now. It's up to me to do my job and get this team back."
With a precarious hold on a playoff spot, Tortorella and the Canucks have a lot of work to do. Vancouver has lost three straight games and four of its past five, and has allowed 17 goals in its past four games. The coach's message delivered to the media was the need for tougher skin.
"We had meetings this morning. We have a long list of things we need to improve at," Tortorella said. "We need to start over on the mental side. We're off the rails on a lot of different aspects. Every aspect of our game is off. This team can and will play the right way."