Role reversal: Tortorella replaces former Vancouver coach who took over for him with Rangers

  • Updated: June 25, 2013 - 8:59 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella was surprised the subject of his famous temper didn't come up in the first question of his introductory news conference on Tuesday.

But he didn't get angry or yell.

The 55-year-old Boston native admitted his reputation needs some work, and he vowed to improve it as he attempts to give Vancouver a long-awaited Stanley Cup title.

"This is the mess I put myself into, and this is the mess I'm going to get myself out of," he said.

The Canucks hired the fiery Tortorella as the replacement for Alain Vigneault, the winningest coach in franchise history. Known for being abrasive, Tortorella is perceived as a bench boss who can lose his temper quickly, sometimes blasts players in public, and has little time for questions from reporters.

Vigneault, who was hired last week by the New York Rangers to replace the fired Tortorella, was known more as a cerebral coach who laughed on many occasions and had a rapport with the media.

But Tortorella, dressed in a dark suit and tie and smiling at times, turned on the charm on Tuesday, and even thanked a reporter for her question.

"I know how important that part of the job is here," Tortorella said. "When you lose your job, you crawl into a hole a little bit, you reassess yourself, you try to learn. I have certainly gone through that process.

"Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. I make my own bed in this type of situation with the perception of myself in the media."

Tortorella is also known for battling verbally with players. Tortorella, who has 24 years of coaching experience and won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, vowed to still be demanding of his players and hold everyone — including scoring stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin — accountable.

"We have a really good leadership group ... but we have not won the Stanley Cup," he said. "There's going to be more asked of (the players), and that starts from the twins right on down."

Gillis indicated that Vigneault's tenure with the Canucks had run its course after seven seasons. Vancouver went in the opposite direction by bringing in Tortorella.

"You have a shelf life as a coach in the National Hockey League," Gillis said. "Occasionally, a different voice is necessary.

"I think John just has a different voice than Alain. Alain is a very good hockey coach. John is a very good hockey coach. But they approach it from different places and they approach it in different ways, and I felt it was necessary to make a change."

Gillis said the team's ownership group was involved in the interviewing process, but he dismissed the idea that the Aquilini family chose the new coach.

"At the end of the day, we were both unanimous in our selection," he said.

Tortorella was fired by the Rangers after they lost to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs in five games.

As coach of the Rangers the past five seasons, Tortorella led New York to the playoffs three times.

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