Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Islanders ask to talk to Tortorella
Posted Jul 19, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jul 19, 2008 at 12:14 AM
The New York Islanders have called the Lightning seeking permission to speak to former Lightning coach John Tortorella about their vacant head coaching position. Here’s the is the details:
TAMPA - Former Lightning coach John Tortorella could be in line to take over the vacant head coaching position with the New York Islanders.
The Islanders have contacted Tampa Bay seeking permission to speak to Tortorella, The Tribune has learned. The Lightning have granted the Islanders their request to talk to Tortorella.
Tortorella was fired by the Lightning on June 3 after seven seasons as head coach, including helping guide Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004. He has one more year remaining on his contract that will reportedly pay him $1.3 million this year. Because Tortorella has a year remaining on his deal, teams must have permission from the Lightning to discuss any opening. It is believed Tortorella was also contacted by the San Jose Sharks, which hired former Detroit assistant Todd McLellan on June 11.
New York fired Ted Nolan on Monday citing what Islanders general manager Garth Snow characterized as “philosophical differences’’ after two years on the job. Snow has reportedly already interviewed former Columbus head coach and current Islanders assistant Gerard Gallant. Former Atlanta and Colorado coach Bob Hartley is also believed to be on Snow’s list.
The Islanders have also requested permission to speak to Mike Sullivan, an assistant with Tortorella last year who also has one year left on his contract, although it was unclear whether it was for a head coaching position or an assistant’s job. Sullivan served as head coach of the Boston Bruins for two seasons before he was replaced after the 2005-06 season and has already spoken to Los Angeles, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Tampa Bay’s other assistant coach from last season, goaltending coach Jeff Reese, is also believed to be close to joining the Toronto Maple Leafs. Reese, who also has one year remaining on his contract, has spent the past six seasons with the Lightning.