It made perfect sense at the time. John Tortorella, a high-profile coach who was fired by the New York Rangers after last season, was hired to take the reins of the Vancouver Canucks when Alain Vigneault was dismissed. The Canucks have gone 34-30-10 this season, leaving them four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference and in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 postseason. Vigneault -- the new coach of the Rangers -- has his charges second in the Metropolitan Division, a fact that is not lost on the Canucks faithful.
As with anything involving Tortorella, this season has been anything but normal. For example, there has been a rash of injuries. Alex Burrows has already missed 32 games with a broken jaw and an undisclosed foot injury, and now he will miss time due to an injured left thumb. Blueliner Alexander Edler missed 16 games with a knee injury. Daniel Sedin missed nine games with a strained left hamstring, and twin brother Henrik Sedin, the team captain, missed two games with a rib injury and is now out indefinitely with an apparent left-leg injury. Fifteen other players have missed at least two games this season.
In the goaltending department, at the end of last season, the netminders were Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, arguably the strongest duo in the league. Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils in the summer, and Luongo was shipped to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline, leaving 26-year-old rookie Eddie Lack as the team's No. 1 netminder.
And let's not forget that Tortorella was suspended for 15 days for attempting to barge into the Calgary Flames' dressing room to confront their coaching staff ... during the first intermission.
Likely no playoffs. And no division title for the first time since 2009. Does Torts even deserve a second season in Vancouver?