If there’s anything John Tortorella knows how to do, it’s to speak his mind. The former Tampa Bay coach had choice words for his former employers:
“You got a couple of cowboys in there as owners. You finish 30th in the National Hockey League, I was there for seven years, I know it’s coming as a coach, and it probably should come to a coach if you finish 30th. But how it all goes about and how you treat your people and run your business is very important in this league. I look at the club and how some things have been done and how they treated Danny Boyle and really lying to the kid, and some of the other things that have gone on there, it’s a total different team. Do I think the team needed to be blown up for it to get back to competing? No, I don’t.
There still are some good players there. But new owners come in and they try to reinvent the wheel. I’m anxious to see what happens. I don’t wish anything bad on them. I have a lot of loyalty to the players who are still there and people who work in the office. But as far as the two cowboys that went in there and bought that team, I have zero respect for them.”
Tortorella further elaborates on Dan Boyle:
“I knew that was going to happen… during the trading deadline where myself, Jay Feaster and all the administration of that team were locked in the room with owners that were still in the process of trying to buy the team. It turned ugly in there because of some of the thoughts they had, and they still hadn’t even dropped a penny on the club. I sat across from Lennie Barrie and Lennie Barrie started talking to me about Dan Boyle when he played with him seven, eight years ago in Florida, which makes no sense to me because I think after seven or eight years a guy may mature and improve his game. I begged them to sign Danny Boyle. If you’re going to trade Brad Richards at the deadline, which we shouldn’t have done at that point in time, and then let Danny Boyle just go, what do you think Vinny and Marty (St. Louis) are going to think about there the next year starts? They grudgingly decided to sign him but I knew once they signed all these forwards during the summer, during the free agency, (he) was going to go.”
It’s hard not to agree with Tortorella’s points. His departure left a sour taste in his mouth, as did former GM Jay Feaster, who realized that he was quickly being pushed aside, and Boyle, who was expecting to stay a Lightning for the next 5 years.
Len Barrie and Oren Koules‘ activity this summer has been perplexing, electing to grab as many free agent forwards as they could get their hands on, while neglecting a young defensive corps and big question marks in net. Management, led by former player agent Brian Lawton as head of hockey operations, created a severe logjam up front, and Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet still haven’t been moved yet. The Bolts led the free agency charge but didn’t quite address all of their weaknesses.
Barrie was not one to back down from the war of words, and concluded with this:
“What were there, nine openings for coaches? That’s why he’s working for TV. I’ll be sure I wear my cowboy hat for the first game.”
Also, Barrie proudly stated that the Bolts would win the Southeast.