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Tortorella Gets His Sidekicks

The Canucks' main coaching staff is reportedly complete.

Doug Pensinger

John Tortorella has chosen his assistant / associate coaches: Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan. There are intriguing storylines that goes with the new hires. Mike Sullivan will handle the special teams I would assume, as he did just that with Tortorella in New York for four years and in Tampa Bay for one. It is believed that Sullivan is even more hardcore, or abrasive at times than Tortorella is. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post (yea yea I know: no love there between Brooks and Torts):

If Tortorella truly does intend to become a new man, then bringing Mike Sullivan to Vancouver with him as assistant coach isn’t likely to help the transformation process.

Truth is that Sullivan, who only reinforces Tortorella’s us-against-the-world mentality, had alienated more Rangers by the end than the head coach.

Don't read too much into that, by the way. Not yet. What Brooks says is what happens at the end of a coach's life span with a team.

Much of the media had said that the best cooler head to be Tortorella's sidekick was Craig Ramsay. Well, Tortorella may have that in the other new assistant coach Glen Gulutzan. Gulutzan is mild-mannered and laid back. This is probably like a poodle hanging out with two Dobermans. Gulutzan was initially looking for work as a head coach this off season, (and was even interviewed by the Canucks reportedly) but there were no takers. I'm not going to sit here and shit talk Tortorella and Sullivan for their antics. The Canucks need a push and they are going to get it. That's all that matters.

A bit about the two new guys:


Mike Sullivan played several years in the NHL as primarily a checking, defensive energy forward:

Did I say "defensive"? Yes, folks the Canucks' defence was a major problem last season. It won't be for long.

I think Sullivan played a lot like Jannik Hansen does now.

He began his career as a coach for the Providence Bruins in 2002-03 and after an amazing season there was quickly promoted as head coach of the Boston Bruins the following season. The Bruins won their division in 2003-04 but lost to the Canadiens in the first round. Then the lockout happened. Then Sullivan had a lousy year with B's in 2005-06 and was canned at the end of the season as the Bruins missed the playoffs.

So began his career as an assistant coach. In May of 2007 John Tortorella took him in out of the rain and chose him as assistant coach of the Lightning. That was a short tenure. Both Tortorella and Sullivan were reunited again with the Rangers in July 2009. And that's where they both were until this summer.

Sullivan video:

Don't mess with Sully.

Both Tortorella and Sullivan were born in Massachusetts.


Glen Gulutzan was born in Manitoba, thankfully. Too much America going on there for a minute. Gulutzan played pro hockey as a center from 1986 - 2003. He never played in the NHL. After he retired from playing he quickly became the head coach of the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers. Under Gulutzan the Wranglers set an ECHL record with three consecutive 100 point-plus seasons. He coached there for 6 seasons and then coached the AHL's Texas Stars for two seasons. He got a massive promotion after the Dallas Stars fired Marc Crawford, becoming Dallas' new head coach in June 2011. That didn't go so well. He had a 64-57-9 record in his first tenure as an NHL coach and the Stars missed the playoffs both seasons. Barely.

When he was hired as the Stars' head coach he described his coaching style as:

"The way I describe my philosophy is that I'd like to be a two-way hockey club," Gulutzan said. "The best way to describe my style is just a hard, two-way game that has some tempo. I think that's today's hockey."

Gulutzan is described as a "good teacher". He worked very well with the Stars' kids. Jason Botchford mentioned tonight:

He is known as a player’s coach, but he has three things he has called “non-negotiable items” for his teams.
They are being hard to play against, having a good defensive structure and having fun.

DEFENCE! I come the "oh damn it! Defensive hockey is so boring.. yadda yadda." Well, look at how far the Canucks' up-tempo style that Gillis was preaching got them.

Some say he was canned this season due in large part to Joe Nieuwendyk's incompetency as a general manager. Quite possible. But who cares? He's still a young guy (41) for a coach and I am sure has learned a lot over these past 2 years as a coach in Dallas. So, I assume Gulutzan is handling the defence? There's that word again! DEFENCE.

The Canucks are going to play better defensively. My wish has come true. The Canucks are gonna get the Red Foreman foot up their ass if they suck. Another wish come true. GILLIS RESET, baby! Now, we know that Tortorella and Sullivan are more aggressive in their approach. Now check out the demeanor of Gulutzan:

Seems like a composed, kind man, doesn't he? He's the balance in the Force. He will be that Craig Ramsay type that I mentioned earlier.

This is for vancitydan:

So what do you think of the new bosses? Impending madness? Improved play? Stoked? Concerned? Let us know in the comments section.