John Tortorella and Bruce Cassidy are perfect coaching fits for their new teams

John Tortorella
Mar 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella argues a call during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL coaching carousel has been one of the more interesting topics since the season ended.

Out:

  • Barry Trotz (New York Islanders)
  • Peter DeBoer (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins)
  • Rick Bowness (Dallas Stars)
  • Jeff Blashill (Detroit Red Wings)
  • Mike Yeo (Philadelphia Flyers)

In:

  • Lane Lambert (New York Islanders)
  • Bruce Cassidy (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • John Tortorella (Philadelphia Flyers)

When looking at the recent hires, the match seems like a perfect fit for both sides.

John Tortorella with Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers were not just looking for a new head coach but someone with enough authority in order to change the culture.

There’s been a lot of criticism regarding the Flyers and their responsiveness to recent head coaches. Alain Vigneault was fired early last season with plenty of reports that he had lost the locker-room. Mike Yeo, his assistant, was promoted to interim coach with no success.

The 64 year-old Torts is a no-nonsense, hold everyone accountable type of coach. You play his way or you don’t play at all.

“I am very excited to be joining such a historic and well-respected franchise like the Philadelphia Flyers,” Tortorella said in a statement. “From my very first conversation with Chuck, I knew this was the right fit for me and I believe in the direction this team is heading. Having faced the Flyers for several years, I know firsthand how tough of a city Philly is to play in and I look forward to being on the right side of the bench on opening night in front of such a loyal and passionate crowd of Flyers fans.”

Torts comes in with a reputation of being hard on his players but very fair. He also is the 14th winningest coach in history with a record 673-541-37-132, two Jack Adams Awards, and one Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia finished dead last in the Metro last season with a record of 25-46-11. That won’t happen again under Torts.

Bruce Cassidy with Vegas Golden Knights

Bruce Cassidy
May 10, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy reacts against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Peter DeBoer was let go at the end of the season after not making the playoffs. Faulting him for that after all the injury issues the team suffered isn’t fair. However, the way he handled things with Robin Lehner, who was battling an injury probably had something to do with his dismissal.

Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins initially told Bruce Cassidy his job was safe before exit meetings with players seemed to change their mind. GM Don Sweeney cited it was his decision and he was looking for a new direction.

Well, one team’s trash is another’s gold. The Golden Knights swept up Sweeney within a week of his dismissal.

“I just want to prove to myself, more importantly, that I’m capable of doing the job and winning, winning in the postseason,” Cassidy said. “It’s not going to consume me every day, by any means. When you come close to winning to Cup, it’s always in the back of your mind and you want to finish the job. I definitely have that mindset where I’m at.”

That’s exactly what the Golden Knights want to hear. From owner Bill Foley on down this team is hell bent on winning the Cup and they have an experienced coach to get the job done.

Cassidy has a 245-108-26 record. During his tenure the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final once in 2019 losing to the St. Louis Blues. He also won the Jack Adams Award in 2019-20.

Lane Lambert with New York Islanders

When the Islanders fired Barry Trotz it stunned the entire hockey world. This was a coach that brought the Islanders to two consecutive Eastern Conference Finals before missing the playoffs thanks to COVID and injuries.

“It’s my role to make the best decision for the organization going forward and I believe this group of players needs a new voice, it’s in no way negative on Barry Trotz,” GM Lou Lamoriello said.

When they promoted Lane Lambert as their new head coach it made a lot of sense. Here was someone in the organization that is familiar with the players and system.

Lambert, 57, was mentored by Barry Trotz in both Nashville and Washington. He won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Capitals (2017-18) and also served as an assistant in Nashville (2011-14).

“I had the opportunity to work with Lane over the past four years, which includes spending time with him on a one-on-one basis when he served as the interim Head Coach this past season,” Lamoriello said in a statement. “In my opinion, he is the right person to coach this team.”

The move keeps continuity for the Islanders and should also ease Lambert into his first NHL head coaching job.