NHL Week in Review (January 5-11)

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John Tortorella has had a complicated history in the NHL as he has been one of the best and one of the most out of touch coaches just within the last few years.

Tortorella is a coach who has always done things his way and has no time for the extras that come with being in the NHL.

Now he is also one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NHL and the best American-born coach in NHL history.

This week Tortorella earned his 600th win in the NHL, a mark that no American has ever been able to reach.

He is now among the top 20 coaches of all time and will likely move closer to the top ten this year.

Much like how many people view Tortorella himself, it is a mixed reaction to realizing where he lands among the best ever.

At the same time, it is strange yet understandable that he reached that level and earned his 600th win.

It is surprising because Tortorella is a coach built for a different era in the NHL and shouldn’t really be behind the bench right now.

So much of the issue with so many teams and their coaches is that they struggle to relate to teams that are younger and younger.

The new generation of players are a different group with more raw talent than ever before but often needing a bit of a lighter touch.

These players often don’t want to have this game feel like work and want the freedom to make decisions on the ice.

They are a generation of players who need that freedom to make the special plays that they can make.

That comes with positives and negatives as they can make more mistakes with more freedom both on and off of the ice.

They can also come up with some special plays when given the freedom and when they are free to do what they want off of the ice they are more comfortable on the ice.

It is a balance that a lot of old-school coaches have struggled with as they are used to the hard-nosed style they grew up with.

Tortorella is one of those coaches as he has always been known for his hard-nosed style and his unwillingness to change.

That style has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way as Tortorella has gained a reputation in the NHL.

He usually joins a team and has a lot of success for a number of years but eventually, the team stops playing for him.hockey-sidebar

His style is effective but when it stops working being pushed like with little to no success like that doesn’t translate well.

He often has been on his way out of teams only to be labelled as a coach who can’t relate to his players anymore.

The media will say that he isn’t made for this type of generation and that he will always struggle to find a place among the new era.

Yet every time he loses a job he remains an in-demand coach and usually finds another job pretty quickly.

When he gets to that job he immediately makes an impact and brings that team to relevance usually from the basement.

He did exactly that with the Columbus Blue Jackets when he joined the team midway through the 2015 season, a season where Columbus finished 8th in the division.

The next season the Jackets made the playoffs and did the same last season while this year they are headed there once again.

Although Tortorella doesn’t seem like he fits in with this generation he remains one of the more successful coaches in the league.

His 600th win assures his spot in the history of the NHL and may finally get rid of the thought that he can’t manage this new era of players.

He continues to move up the rankings of all-time wins as a coach and with just about half of a season left to go, he will continue to add up his wins.

As he continues to find success though he looks towards the playoffs as the proving ground after losing both of the playoff appearances in the first round.

Through all of his success, he has only been able to win one Stanley Cup and he continues to look at the playoffs as his testing ground.

 

Overtime

Falling Out

Part of the success and failures of Tortorella is his lack of care about who are the stars of this team. That came to light this week when Tortorella benched one of the best goalies in the league. Sergei Bobrovsky has been a big reason for the success of the Blue Jackets but this week he would not even attend the game on Thursday. Apparently, the goaltender had broken some teams rules and for it was told to stay home. It was a controversial decision but one that held him accountable for a mistake he made. The decision also brought about a potential break in the team as a major star seems to be less committed than usual.

End of an Era

For years Rick Nash was one of the top scorers in the league and for the last decade was one of the biggest guns for hire. He was one of the most consistent scorers in the league and fell to different teams to up their scoring output. The last few years though he has struggled to remain on the ice and this week he announced his retirement. After suffering a concussion in March last year he has not been able to get back to playing. This week one of the best goal-scorers in the league walked away due to an increasingly worrying issue in the league.

Travelling to the Northwest

The NHL will be headed to the Northwest when Seattle gets an NHL team in 2021 but the biggest worry has always been whether or not the city will accept the team. Hockey is not necessarily a major hub for hockey and so there is some worry about how successful they can be. The NHL will stand behind that team as this week Gary Bettman has announced plans that they will be bringing major events to the city. This week he announced that the league will bring the draft and the all-star game to Seattle soon after the team is introduced.

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