A day of reckoning of sorts for the Canucks and the coaching staff as the team finished 12th in the Western Conference standings (but get the 6th overall pick in the Entry Draft!). The team was on hand for media availability today to address questions from a large group of media.
First and foremost, Daniel Sedin was present and feeling fine. He mentioned that he could not lift his head and didn't feel right after the hit. The trainer of course told him to stay down and not move. So the rest of what was seen was precautionary. The Sedins, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler were all at the interview table together as the media asked questions. Here is the footage of that:
A few of the highlights from that discussion:
-Daniel talks about the injury. Good to see he's ok. "Everything should be fine."
-Henrik: "After the Olympic Break I felt pretty close to 100% (from rib injury)." Also mentioned that his finger and oblique muscle injuries were worse and more hampering. When asked about what went wrong this season, Hank replied that he didn't want to use the injury excuse (they all say that) and that "we had a tough year injury-wise and I don't think we've been able to play the way we did up until Christmas and we had guys playing out of position...and we had to play a different way...and we weren't able to play that way."
-When asked if Tortorella is the right coach moving forward, Bieksa mentioned it's been difficult the last while with the coach (Alain Vigneault) and then the GM being let go and that the guys at the table, the core leadership feel responsible for it. "We could have been better and there are people that are suffering because of it." Bieksa was clearly in a pissed-off mood because when Jay Janowar asked Ryan Kesler what he thought, Bieksa snapped "They don't have any comment." Kesler then re-iterated what Bieksa said.
Kesler then addressed the tough time he had when all the trade rumors about him surfaced and said that he grew up here and wants to stay here. More snarkiness...when Farhan Lalji asked Kesler to comment if the rumors were true, Kesler responded: "Where did you get that, from Twitter? The French guy? I didn't ask for a trade." But then said that he was not going to comment on whether or not he gave Mike Gillis a list of team he would be traded to." If you want to take that at face value, that could mean the team wanted to trade Ryan Kesler and approached him about a trade.
Daniel Sedin said that the decline in their production had nothing to do with Tortorella's defensive system, but more that he and brother Hank did not play the way they should in those 6-7 weeks( of futility hell). Henrik mentioned prior that up to Christmas they were close to point-a-game players.
When asked what the identity of the team is and how they need to play moving forward Daniel stepped up and said "I think you win by playing well defensively." Kesler said: "It's not like Torts is in there not telling us to play offence."
When asked what kind of changes are needed Han quickly replied: "I don't think we are that far off....it's not about rebuilding...."
Bieksa then agreed with Hank. He believes in this core and that it's not too old. Bieksa also talked about how Torts encouraged the defence to join the rush, but they were not getting a lot of pucks through, or rebounds were not going on the forwards' sticks, said they were unlucky. The defensive breakdowns "were not because of our system, they were just breakdowns and bad judgement."
How did the Tortorella - Flames incident affect the team?
Henrik: "It didn't affect us at all." Bieksa mentioned that they missed the presence of their leader in the room for those 6 games, but the team played well...and Torts went to bat for his team. They still knew the system without Torts there but they :just didn't execute."
TORTS' GOLDEN PRESSER
It starts off with a hilarious Farhan Lalji gaff. Here is the entire presser with the coach:
Torts talked regrets, gave reasons for the second half collapse and of course put the blame on himself. I am not going to point too much of the highlights of that interview because you need to watch it in its entirety. Wow, he really pulls no punches.
"We're not in 2011."
"The team needs to be retooled."
"The core is stale." (But that's not their fault, he said.)
"We lack depth."
"We need youth."
"The team is trending. It's getting older. It does need to be revitalized."
"I did not do a good enough job holding personnel accountable in the details of our game at a pretty crucial part of the season."
So much more including thoughts on Zack Kassian's play (praise), David Booth (praise), "the process" moving forward, Alex Edler (taking the blame for not getting the best out of him), Ryan Kesler, his future, his meeting with Trevor Linden, Eddie Lack (Heritage Classic, consecutive starts, praise) and some of the core needs to change.
Tortorella is a reporter's dream.
The team went out unified in front of the media. The players didn't blame the coach and the coach didn't blame the players. This is why Trevor Linden gets to go in and talk to all the parties involved. Away from the cameras it's a different ball game.
It really was a screwed up season. I think that the players and coach made it very clear that there was just too much shit going on and that nobody executed a game plan properly in the second half of the season when adversity struck. Is this enough for John Tortorella to keep his job? Today I feel he is more likely to stick around. But beyond him, it's going to be quite interesting to see the changes in player personnel. We know now that Torts will be telling Linden what he aid to the media in regards to changing the core a bit and adding more youth. Is he wrong in his assessment? Nope.