This news had been rumored for months at least.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – John Tortorella was fired Tuesday as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, four years after leading the team to its only Stanley Cup championship. He had one season remaining on his contract.
The Lightning were 239-222-36-38 and made the playoffs four times in 6 1/2 seasons under Tortorella.
“This has been a very difficult decision because of everything that John Tortorella has meant to and done for this organization,” Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement.
“Torts came to Tampa and not only built the foundation under our club but he also changed the culture and raised the expectations, eventually leading us to the Stanley Cup in 2004. What he accomplished during his tenure in Tampa was nothing short of remarkable and our organization will always owe him our thanks, gratitude and deep respect.”
The firing came as no surprise. There has already been speculation about television analyst and former Los Angeles Kings coach Barry Melrose possibly replacing Tortorella.
If Tampa Bay replaces Tortorella with Melrose, the Lightning are going to remain in the Southeast Division’s cellar for some time to come. Melrose hasn’t coached in the NHL for over 10 years and I think is out of touch with the game today.
I’d like to see the Florida Panthers now hire Tortorella. The cats have been leaderless since Jacques Martin stepped down as coach almost two months ago. Martin, who is still the Panther’s GM, hasn’t hired a new coach yet. I say hire Tortorella, the listless Panthers could use the kick in the ass this firey coach would give them. Unfortunately I don’t think the Panthers will make that move. They’ll play it safe again with the head coaching job and miss the playoffs again.
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