Torts on TV? We’re used to seeing the ex-Columbus Blue Jackets coach on TV a lot, but mostly because of his penchant for not saying anything to the media, now he’s been hired to be on TV to actually talk about hockey.
Told former #CBJ coach John Tortorella has been hired by #ESPN to work as a studio analyst beginning this fall.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 3, 2021
Tortorella had coached the Blue Jackets since the 2015-16 season, making him a notable survivour in a league of teams that regularly and ruthlessly fire coaches after only three or four years; he made it all the way through six seasons, only getting fired after missing the playoffs this year, and having a notably long list of player usage controversies. But to those of us outside of the Blue Jackets world, he was always most notable for the curmudgeonly and hilarious interactions with the media; the side that he is now joining.
Sportsnet threw together a best of Torts supercut, and it’s totally worth the time to watch it all, even including older material from many years ago when he was coach of the Lightning, Rangers, and Canucks.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be a permanent move. We all saw Brian Burke take on an analyst job with Sportsnet for several years, only to suddenly depart for a new job as President of the Pittsburgh Penguins. So perhaps Torts will follow the same path in a few years, and once again we will get to see him coaching some NHL team somewhere. I would really love to see him in Edmonton and deal with the press there. Can you imagine him and David Staples going at it? Comedy gold.
Meanwhile, there was some surprise off-season news from the Maple Leafs about the front office. Director of Amateur Scouting, John Lilley, has suddenly left for the New York Rangers.
Maple Leafs Director of amateur scouting leaves for the Rangers
OFFICIAL: #NYR have named John Lilley Director of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting. pic.twitter.com/9GeAWFwWEU— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 3, 2021
Leafs confirm no immediate replacement named for John Lilley as director of amateur scouting.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) August 3, 2021
We’ll keep watching the front office directory to see if there’s any further moves. Maybe some are deciding they want out before this coming “win or go down with the ship” season.
Thornton skating with team in Switzerland, unsure of NHL future - NHL.com
Joe Thornton is practicing with HC Davos of National League, the top professional league in Switzerland, while the unrestricted free agent forward decides on his NHL future. [Species: The St. Thomas, ON native also famously has a Swiss passport thanks to marrying a Swiss woman he met while playing for HC Davos during the 2004-05 NHL lockout.]
Doug Armstrong is an emotionless assassin - St. Louis Game Time
Once known as the suit who got contract extension happy (Patrik Berglund a few times), the St. Louis Blues General Manager works at a methodical pace these days.
Canucks make changes to business-side leadership - The Province
The Canucks are on to their third senior business executive since the departure of Victor De Bonis in 2016. [Species: they appear to have as much difficulty as the Senators in keeping off-ice hockey business executives.]
Olympics continues to hit ratings lows - Sports Media Watch
More than halfway through the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics, viewership continues to register historic lows, even when including viewers on streaming services. While still out-performing other sporting events, NBC is putting up numbers that would have once been unthinkable for the Olympics, including a 5.8 rating on Saturday night, meaning only 5.8% of households watching TV were watching the Olympics. To put it another way, 94.2% of households chose to watch something else on Saturday night.
NHL, IOC unable to agree on expanded media rights deal for 2022 Winter Olympics - ESPN
The NHL and the International Olympic Committee were unable to secure an expanded media rights deal for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but the league still intends to send its players to Beijing, sources told ESPN.
Finally, if you like crazy junior hockey trades, here’s a crazy junior hockey trade from the QMJHL.
TRANSACTION MAJEURE 🔁 @quebec_remparts— X- L'Océanic de Rimouski (@oceanicrimouski) August 3, 2021
➡️ RIM || Choix 1er tour 2022 (SHE), 1er tour 2023 (RIM), 1er tour 2023 (QUE) et 6e tour 2022 (QUE).
➡️ QUE || Zachary Bolduc.#TransactionsLHJMQ #GoNicsGo pic.twitter.com/giYhmsNy2s
No 6 year-olds involved in this one, but that’s a lot of first round picks to move in one trade. Zachary Bolduc was the first round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues a few weeks ago, so he is one of the top players in junior hockey, and this is likely his last season before moving on to the NHL. Elseldo, our junior hockey expert, noted the move by the Quebec (City) Remparts makes sense because they are bidding against the St. John Sea Dogs to host the Memorial Cup this coming season (around May 2022,) and the host city is automatically included with the top teams from the three Canadian junior leagues, so the Remparts want a stacked roster to play in the finals.