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Tortorella San Jose bound?
Marleau destined for Ohio?
6/3/08 - By Steve Flores

After weeks of rumor and not very well kept secret's the Tampa Bay Lightning finally officially dismissed Head Coach John Tortorella. The man who led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup title in 2003-04 and spent six and a half years behind their bench is now looking for a job. Let's all hope that he looks at San Jose. Simply said Tortorella is my pick to take the Sharks' reigns and lead them in 2008-09.

Tortorella is a man of caustic demeanor whose personality is, at times, too abrasive for some. Many feel that he needs a good solid assistant coach who is able to buffer his rather gruff underbelly. Doug Wilson has stated that he wants a coach that will make life a little tougher for his players on a daily basis and Tortorella fits that bill to a T!

Tortorella has no problem being critical and is known as a man who deals with an even keel in terms of his interactions with players. From this standpoint he is well respected, as players know he will not treat anyone better or worse than any other.

From an on-ice perspective Tortorella is known as a head man who demands an aggressive fore-check while desiring a more wide open style of offense; these are also things that Wilson either desires or should desire. The Sharks did not fore-check well in the post-season and their laissez faire style on the penalty kill was borderline pathetic. Tortorella will remedy that.

He is a man with a ring. He is a coach that demands effort from all who play for him and he is a man who speaks his mind. In fact he probably speaks his mind so much that it cost him his job in the state of Florida. According to Tampa Tribune reporter Joe Henderson he (Tortotrella) was "a driven, relentless hockey man who could never play the good corporate soldier. You'd never call Torts a company man and I mean that in a good way."

Tortorella truly cared about winning. He was coaching a team that has been enduring an ownership change. A team that has had a limbo leveled front office that did not provide the type of personnel that he required to achieve continued success in Tampa Bay. In San Jose he will have more parts from which to deal and if he is hired at all, or soon enough he can bang heads with G.M. Doug Wilson in regard to the inevitable forthcoming changes to the Sharks roster.

I am not inferring that the Sharks are going to hire Tortorella - I am stating that they should!

Most Canadian websites and sources keep inferring that the Sharks have all but hired Joel Quenneville. I hope not as he is quickly becoming part of the re-tread coaching fraternity that is ever present in the NHL. Tortorella is a special coach and I have my bias because he is American. I have a continual mental healthy competition with hockey loving fans of the Great White North. But I admit that I simply love the concept of having an American coach head up the Sharks. It makes me feel like he will care a bit more than someone from the province of Ontario. Of course that is simply my bias and I am aware of it, yet I like the concept nonetheless.

So here's to Tampa for making the 1994 Jack Adams winner an available candidate for the Sharks head job. Hopefully DW will see that Tortorella can fill the needs that he has laid on the table as requirements for the job and the Sharks can be re-energized come October.

In regard to another bit of Shark rumor an innuendo the possibility of Captain Patrick Marleau being dealt is fast becoming more fact than fiction. The Marleau to Columbus rumor has been rumbling for a few weeks now, but it appears now to be closer to reality as legitimate sources have begun to report it as a strong possibility.

One such source is the San Jose Mercury's Shark's beat guy David Pollak who has it on authority of an 'NHL source - not connected with either team' that Marleau is likely to be dealt to the Blue Jackets (along with one other player - not named) for the Jackets first round pick in this years NHL Draft and Nikolai Zherdev.

I am and always have been a fan of Marleau. He is a man of rare natural abilities and he showed that which he is capable of in the post season, but the team needs a game breaking scorer who has the ability to create goals on his own. The Sharks really have no one - outside of Milan Michalek - that has that raw ability; Zherdev is that type of player.

It is also the opinion of NHL experts that the first 12 picks in this year's draft are already NHL-ready. Marleau has a no trade clause that kicks in on July 1 and that is when his $6 plus million per annum kicks in. Zherdev makes about half that which would also free up some cash to sign Brian Campbell to a long-term deal. It all seems to make sense so keep your eyes peeled over the next few days and weeks to see 'How the Shark Turns'!!!


Contact Steve at stevybo@yahoo.com


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