6:59AM: During the Canucks “Summer Summit” last night, John Tortorella announced that he will have former Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan and former Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan as his assistant coaches.
Sullivan has not been listed as a member of the Rangers organization since earlier in the month.
It has been reported that more players had issues with Sullivan than they did with John Tortorella.
Ben Kuzma of The Province was at the Summer Summitt and quoted John Tortorella as saying “I coached Mike Sullivan toward the end of his career in Phoenix. He was just so cerebral. He’s just such a good teacher.”
9:39AM: Tortorella said of Sullivan, “he is a fantastic teacher, fantastic coach and a better person. He is a terrific person. I coached Mike when he was in Phoenix and I was Jim Schoenfeld’s assistant in Phoenix, he was so cerebral. He was playing on the 3rd and 4th line, sometimes out of the lineup, I spent a lot of time with him as an assistant coach after practice doing extra work. I got to know him then but I really got to know him when I was coaching in Tampa and going through different situations with Vinny Lecavalier, with putting him through the process and he was going through the same thing with Joe Thornton in Boston when he was the head coach, but we spent a lot of time talking about how to get these athletes the best that they can be and it was just a natural progress with communicating. He is such a good teacher.”
On the Rangers website, Mike Sullivan is no longer listed as an assistant coach and his spot has been replaced by a “TBD.”
While not official yet, Sullivan will join John Tortorella in Vancouver. The Rangers granted the Canucks permission to speak with Sullivan shortly after Tortorella was hired.
Alain Vigneault met with Sullivan after he was hired as head coach, but he decided to hire Ulf Samuelsson and Scott Arniel.
Arniel is still listed as the head coach of the Utica Comets, the Canucks AHL team, on the Canucks website.
Vigneault has said that he is still planning to hire a third assistant coach.
It has been reported that more players had issues with Mike Sullivan than they did with John Tortorella.
Over the weekend, James Mirtle noted that the Canucks were planning to interview Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan and Sullivan is likely to re-join Tortorella as a member of his staff.
In the NY Post Sunday, Larry Brooks wrote that Tortorella should look at other options other than Sullivan if he wants to try and change as a coach.
Brooks says that Sullivan, who “reinforces Tortorella’s us-against-the-world-mentality” had alienated more Rangers by the end of the season than Tortorella did.
It’s been suggested that Tortorella hire more of a “good cop” and positive voice and Alain Vigneault has said that he wants an assistant with pro experience and a positive voice.
John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that the Canucks have sought and received permission to speak with Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan.
Sullivan is still under contract with the Rangers and while he met with Alain Vigneault last week, he isn’t expected to stay with the organization.
Sullivan came to the Rangers to join John Tortorella in 2009-10.
6.17.13/ 4:06AM: In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that Jim Schoenfeld will not be an assistant coach, but will stay as assistant GM, Mike Sullivan will not be part of the organization and that Benoit Allaire will stay with the team.
Schoenfeld became an assistant coach when John Tortorella became head coach. Tortorella was an assistant coach for Schoenfeld when Schoenfeld was head coach in Phoenix.
6.16.13/ 9:14AM: At ESPN NY, Katie Strang writes that due to the relationship that Mike Sullivan has with former coach John Tortorella, it is unlikely that Sullivan will stay with the Rangers.
Sullivan joined the Rangers staff in 2009-10, the first full season that John Tortorella was head coach.
After Tortorella was let go in Tampa Bay, Sullivan was not brought back by new coach Barry Melrose, but once Melrose was fired the team asked him to return.
Jim Schoenfeld and Benoit Allaire are also assistant coaches.
6.16.13/3:13AM: Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that Jim Schoenfeld isn’t likely to reprise his role as assistant coach but will stay as assistant GM. Sullivan isn’t likely to remain with the situation but Benoit Allaire “certainly will” return in those capacities.
Larry Brooks tweets that Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan could be on the short list of candidates for the head coaching position in Tampa Bay.
Brooks also notes that Sullivan could also be a candidate for the head coaching job at Boston University where he went to school.
Sullivan played four years at BU, 1986-1990
This section is about Sullivan being a head coach.
Prior to joining John Tortorella with the Rangers, Mike Sullivan was Tortorella’s assistant coach in his final year in Tampa Bay.
Sullivan joined Tampa at the end of May in 2007 and GM Jay Feaster said that Sullivan was the only guy that Tortorella wanted to talk to:
“From the very first day of the search process, Torts identified Mike as his primary candidate. In fact, John made it clear that he didn’t even want to speak with any other potential candidates until he knew where things stood with Mike, because Sully was his first and ‘go-to’ choice. We appreciate the Boston Bruins granting us permission to speak with Mike and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Mike to our organization.”
Tortorella added that he wanted to add Sullivan because of his past as a winner, both as a player and a coach, and “He is smart and aggressive and he understands the way we like to play the game; our team concept.”
Tortorella coached Sullivan when he was a player with the Coyotes in the late 90s.
Torts has said that Sullivan means “everything” to the Rangers.
Following the end of the Rangers season there was a lot of talk about assistant coach Mike Sullivan possibly leaving the organization to take a head coaching job.
At the end of the season Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that he definitely felt Sullivan should be a head coach in the league and he wouldn’t stand in his way of becoming one.
Tortorella told MSG.com that he had mixed feelings about possibly losing Sullivan “On the one hand. I was worried about losing Mike and on the other hand I was excited for him getting those job opportunities. Quite frankly, Sully means everything to our team; he’s an important cog; a huge piece to our puzzle because when all’s said and done, we all do it together.”
He added, “on the one hand I was disappointed that he didn’t get an opportunity (to be an NHL head coach) but, selfishly, I’m excited that he’s back.”
On an episode of Behind The Bench from this season, Tortorella talked about how does everything relating to the team with Sullivan and Jim Schoenfeld and he appreciates when they talk during practice as it’s another voice for the players to hear.
Adam Rotter: All three assistant coaches have a great relationship and losing Sullivan would have been a big blow to the Rangers. He works so well with the defensemen and has an opinion that John Tortorella puts a lot of stock in. Losing Sullivan would have been the Rangers biggest loss in the offseason.
At CBC, Elliotte Friedman writes that Calgary GM Jay Feaster had until June 1 to hire Bob Hartley as his coach because that was when Hartley’s “out” clause expired from his team in Switzerland.
Friedman writes that Hartley may have been Feaster’s top choice but he would have liked to have interview Rangers assistant Mike Sullivan and Kings assistant John Stevens.
Hartley was thought to be the front runner for the job in Montreal.
Mike Russo of the Star Tribune tweets, “Bob Hartley reported as new #Flames coach. When Jay Feaster was up for #mnwild gig, I wrote Hartley would be frontrunner if Jay got it” and “Hartley was coach of ’97 Hershey team that won Calder Cup when Feaster was GM. Hartley is godfather of Feaster’s youngest son, Ryan. “
Mike Sullivan had been rumored to be at the top of the list of people that Calgary was considering.
The Capitals, Oilers and Canadiens are still in need of a head coach.