At TampaBay.com, Tom Jones wrote a retrospective on the time that John Tortorella spent coaching the Lightning.
In addition to his rough public persona, Jones writes that the real Tortorella was seen behind closed doors.
“Yet, he had a soft side, too. Believe it or not, he could be a players’ coach, giving them more days off than most NHL coaches and once taking them for a four-day, in-season vacation to Atlantic City. He often sought their advice on how to best handle a certain situation or dilemma. He praised more than he criticized. You might not think it, but most players loved playing for him. (Well, the non-goalies, that is.) And his charity work, helping children who had cancer, was a passion and went unnoticed, mostly because he never wanted it publicized.”
Tortorella spoke to the team for over two hours and NYU coach Chris Cosenito said that the team has been trying to follow the Tortorella model, “Over the past few years we have been trying to instill Coach Tortorella’s philosophy on hard work and accountability into our student/athletes, and to have him speak was something we will never forget.”
He added “He is not just about X’s and O’s. He is about teaching values and developing people. It was truly an honor to have him meet our student/athletes and make such a positive impact on our program.”
At The Bio File, Scoop Malinowski went in search of how John Tortorella is remembered in Tampa Bay.
He spoke with Scott Audette, who is the team photographer for Tampa, who said that “I love the guy” and said that the charity he work did in Tampa was “amazing.”
To see the real Torts is to see him when he’s with the kids. Then you see him let his guard down. That’s his soft spot – the kids.
Tom Gilbert said of Torts “I know him on and off the ice. What he did off the ice for this community is fantastic. He had the John Tortorella Fishing Tournament, he would take underpriviliged kids fishing. He loved kids, he loved the community.”
Mike Didtler said“What I remember about Torts is not so much his success on the ice but how much he did in the community. He was a very civic-minded person though he didn’t blow his own horn about it. “
THIS SECTION is dedicated to the “other side” of John Tortorella.
In a 2009 article in the Tampa Tribune, Joe Henderson tells a story of how John Tortorella had an impact on a family going through a tough time in Tampa Bay.
Henderson writes of the Reeves family in Tampa Bay and how14 year old Jacob had bone cancer.
Mrs. Reeves says that one day Tortorella called up the family and brought over the Stanley Cup.
Mrs. Reeves says of Torts, “When I see John, I see compassion. I see a heart that John has away from hockey. He says he has to be one way with his players to get the most of out of them, but he’s different with his friends.”
The following pictures were sent by MSG and taken by Adam Pantozzi