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Report: Tortorella offered Canucks coaching position

Friday, 06.21.2013 / 11:07 PM / News

NHL.com

The Vancouver Canucks have offered their coaching job to John Tortorella, according to a report by Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a radio interview Friday the former New York Rangers coach is a candidate but has not been hired.

"We're trying to finish off the process of selecting the next head coach, and that's ongoing as we speak and hopefully it will be over shortly," Gillis told Team 1040 Radio. "I can't say at this point, but John is certainly in the mix and very strong, and we're going to finish off the process the way we designed it initially, and that shouldn't take us much longer."

Tortorella was fired by the Rangers on May 29, after they lost a second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series to the Boston Bruins. He had five winning seasons in New York but was unable to take the Rangers any further than the Eastern Conference Final, which they reached in 2012. He won the 2004 Stanley Cup when he was coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tortorella, who was in Vancouver on Friday, at times clashed with the New York media and would be facing similar scrutiny.

"I think [dealing with the media] is important … it's something we obviously value," Gillis said. "We're in the spotlight here, we accept that."

Tortorella would replace Alain Vigneault, who had a solid run with the Canucks, including an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, but was fired last month after a first-round loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Vigneault was introduced as coach of the Rangers during a press conference Friday.

"I think we need a change in voice. … Alain is going to go on and be a very good coach in New York, but I felt we needed a change in direction ..., " Gillis said. "When you look at the head coach of a National Hockey League team, there isn't a bigger change you can make other than a blockbuster trade, and there just aren't many blockbuster trades out there available in this day and age. The hiring of a new coach is going to go a long way to establishing a different voice, a different approach to how our hockey team operates and plays."

NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report.

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday