Vancouver Canucks fire John Tortorella after one season

By Daniel S Levine,

John Tortorella, who signed a five-year contract to coach the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, has been fired after only one season. The team suffered through injuries during the season and missed the playoffs.

After the Canucks were swept by the San Jose Sharks at the end of the 2012-13 season, the team fired Alain Vigneault and hired Tortorella after he was fired by the New York Rangers. Tortorella was signed to a five-year, $10 million deal.

Despite the high expectations just three seasons after a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, the team finished out of the playoffs. The Canucks went 36-35-11 and fifth in the Pacific Division, notes ESPN. Injuries hurt the team, as did Tortorella’s 15-day suspension in January.

Assistant coach Mike Sullivan was also fired on Thursday. On April 8, the day after the season ended, president and general manager Mike Gillis was also fired.

"Today we are making an important change in the direction of our team," president of hockey operations Trevor Linden said in a statement to NHL.com. "On behalf of the entire organization, we extend our thanks to John, Mike and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and wish them the very best.”

The Canucks made it to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, but were beat by the Boston Bruins in seven games. They made it to the playoffs for two straight seasons following the loss, but failed to make it past the first round both times. This season was the first time since 2008 at that they missed the playoffs.

Tortorella has been coaching for 25 years and coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to victory in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.

Vigneault was hired by the Rangers, who have just made it to the second round of the playoffs. They play the Penguins on Friday.

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