Old Yeller: Can John Tortorella Save the Mangy Vancouver Canucks' Mutt?
The Vancouver Canucks were top dog for a time.
In 2011, they were the alpha in most NHL team categories on their way to a Presidents' Trophy. They marked their territory in the Western Conference, arriving at the Stanley Cup Finals more pampered than a chihuahua in Paris Hilton's handbag.
Then they met the pitbull Boston Bruins and were reduced to a chew-toy.
Since then, it's been a steady progression of decline, to the point where many pundits believe it's time for this team to be put down.
Enter, John Tortorella. Cup Winner. Player Assassin. Media Antagonist.
Can this barking bench boss save the Canucks from the needle? Can he return this mangy mutt of a franchise to the glory days of being the humper rather than the humpee?
He has his work cut out for him. GM Mike Gillis is on record as saying the prancing poodle of a roster he has created lacks the necessary youth and size for the fight; he is ready to run with the rest of the pack in the post-lockout NHL's game of dump and fetch, where terriers and retrievers are the breed of choice. Additionally, this is Tortorella's first walkies in a hotbed Canadian market, with its requisite yapping media and pile-on mentality.
Best in show or dog day afternoons -- who can predict how it will pan out?
One thing is certain, though: with Torts holding the leash, there won't be any whispering.