Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella said he was partly to blame for the team missing the Stanley Cup playoffs in his first year at the helm but emphasized that the aging core needs to change.
“I felt from Day 1 that it’s stale,” Tortorella said. “That’s not their fault. This is a group that has been together for a long time. It’s stale. It needs youth. It needs a change. I felt that from Day 1.”
“We’re not in 2011. We have to stop talking about 2011. The team needs to be retooled. It’s a young man’s game,” he added, referring to the team’s trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
Vancouver was one win from the Stanley Cup three years ago, but since losing Game 7 of the Cup Final to the Boston Bruins in 2011 they’ve won one playoff game.
This season, they missed the postseason for the first time in six seasons, fired president and general manager Mike Gillis last week and replaced him with Trevor Linden, a former captain and fan favorite.
In addition to hiring a new general manager, Linden’s early tasks include deciding on the fate of Tortorella, who has four years left on his contract.
Players insisted Monday they aren’t far off from being the team that came so close to a Cup three years ago, but Tortorella wasn’t sure.
“I’m not going to sit up here and pretend,” he said. “The team is trending. It’s getting older. It does need to be revitalized. That’s not an excuse for me. I could get gassed out of here today.”
“It’s the truth of what is going on. To get back to being competitive for a long time, you may have to slide sideways and find your way as far as a little bit of a rebuild,” Tortorella added.
After being fired by the New York Rangers last summer, Tortorella was hired to replace Alain Vigneault after the San Jose Sharks swept the Canucks out of the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
Instead, they finished 25th in the League standings; 28th in scoring at 2.33 goals per game; and 14th defensively with a 2.63 goals-against average.