Posts Tagged ‘Head Coach’

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford says he wasn’t taking an intentional shot at the Columbus Blue Jackets when he made an assessment about Jack Johnson‘s usage that didn’t sit well with John Tortorella.

“I have nothing but respect for the Columbus Blue Jackets,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey. “They’ve got a good city, a good franchise, a great owner, and (president of hockey operations) John Davidson to run the franchise. I feel bad that it either (came) out the way it did or it upset people; that certainly wasn’t my intent. They have a very good franchise there, and it’s very well run.”

After the Penguins made the signing of Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million deal official on the first day of free agency, Rutherford told reporters the following about the veteran defenseman, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline:

“I don’t think he had a bad year. He was a healthy scratch at the end of the season. I know the reason why. It wasn’t because of how he was playing.”

When asked Thursday to clarify what he meant by the latter remark, Rutherford declined to elaborate.

“I don’t think that’s going to do anybody any good at this point,” he told Mackey. “We feel comfortable with the homework that we did on this player.”

Rutherford’s initial comments, along with Johnson telling reporters on July 1 that, “I’ve been really wanting to be a part of a winning culture and a place where the expectations to win are as high as they can be,” clearly irked Tortorella at the time.

The always forthright Blue Jackets head coach issued an expletive-laden response in which he said that for Rutherford “to question our decision-making from three hours away, he must be a fucking magician,” later adding that the Penguins GM should “shut the fuck up,” and that Johnson’s statement was “utter bullshit.”

Johnson was scratched in all six of the Blue Jackets’ playoff games this spring and he collected only 11 points in 77 regular-season contests in 2017-18.

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Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS broadcaster Tony Romo says people shouldn’t read too much into reports of tension between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Appearing on NFL Network, Romo compared the Belichick-Brady relationship to that of a married couple.

“I just think when you work together for 15, 20 years, whatever it is, I think that, invariably, when you have the success they have, people have to come up with stuff,” he said. “I also think that I’ve been upset with my coaches before, and then you come back and you’re fine. And then you get upset with them, and you come back and you’re fine. It’s a part of sports.

“… I don’t really think there’s a whole lot to it. I think they probably squabble just like any married couple for 20 years and then they also love each other.”

Romo was also asked if he could see Brady playing for another team besides the New England Patriots.

“My rough guess is that he’s going to finish his career in New England, no question,” Romo said.

In a flash, the Los Angles Lakers transitioned from rebuilding a storied NBA franchise amid a down period to featuring a potential championship contender by bringing aboard 14-time All-Star LeBron James in free agency.

Head coach Luke Walton knows the pressure to succeed has increased tenfold, and that there’s going to be a new degree of drama surrounding his squad. Nonetheless, he’s ready to face the challenges head-on after going through a similar song and dance during his rookie year with the Lakers when Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined forces with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

“It’s gonna be completely nuts, but it’s also gonna be awesome,” Walton told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “The whole city’s gonna be behind us. We’re gonna be on SportsCenter every night. If we lose, it’s gonna be the end of the world. If we win, it’s gonna be wild. But no matter what, it’s gonna be fun.”

Walton also recalled the day he was informed of James’ decision to head to Hollywood, and how he spent roughly eight-and-a-half hours on the telephone after the news broke, which took him away from his Sunday family barbecue.

He chatted with his father, Bill, with Bryant, and even with Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who helped guide James to two titles in South Beach.

“He (Spoelstra) said, ‘First of all, you’re getting a different LeBron,'” Walton said. ‘”We (the Heat) got him eight years ago when he hadn’t won a championship.’ But he’s like, ‘Dude, he works extremely hard. He’s so knowledgeable about the game. You gotta always be honest and prepared and ready to work hard. As long as you do those things, the relationship should be fine.'”

James has appeared in each of the last eight Finals as part of the Eastern Conference representative, while the Lakers haven’t even qualified for the postseason since 2013.

John Tortorella has repeatedly called the Pittsburgh Penguins “whiners” in the past and has unleashed his fury on both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but his latest criticism is zeroed in on Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

Following Pittsburgh’s signing of former Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, who inked a five-year deal in free agency, Rutherford spoke about Johnson’s varying usage in Columbus, particularly the postseason when he was scratched for all six games.

“I don’t think he had a bad year,” Rutherford told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. “He was a healthy scratch at the end of the season. I know the reason why. It wasn’t because of how he was playing.”

Johnson’s remarks at an introductory press conference didn’t help matters, either, as the veteran defenseman said, “I’ve been looking to be in a winning culture.”

Clearly, those comments didn’t sit well with the Blue Jackets fiery bench boss.

“All I know is, this organization, from the lawyers, the front office, (president of hockey operations John Davidson), the managers, the coaches, players … has done nothing but try to help Jack,” Tortorella said. “And for him to backhand slap us like this is utter bullshit, and he should know better.

“No one wishes anything bad to happen to him and his family. We wish him the best. But for him to put it the way he put it today is bullshit. And to have a general manager question our decision-making from three hours away, he must be a fucking magician.”

Tortorella’s response comes after the Blue Jackets worked alongside Johnson to help him through an extensive personal bankruptcy case which saw him forfeit nearly all of his salary over the past two seasons.

 

“(Johnson) doesn’t have enough balls to call me back, because I’ve tried to get in touch with him,” Tortorella added. “You don’t shit on an organization that’s done nothing but try to help you. We all know Jack has had some problems along the way here. It’s very well-chronicled. All we’ve done is try to fucking help him.”

Tortorella then turned his aim to Rutherford.

“The thing that pisses me off the most is a general manager in this league questioning and talking about our decision-making,” Tortorella said. “Shut the fuck up!

“I don’t want to go to name-calling, because I know Jimmy. He’s a good man. They’re both good people. But what the fuck are they doing? Get on with your business! I hope (Johnson) plays his ass off for them, but stay the fuck out of our business when you don’t know what’s going on.”

Mark your calendars now. The first meeting between the Blue Jackets and Penguins this coming season is set for Nov. 24.

Steve Kerr is about to be rewarded for helping bring the Bay Area a third NBA championship in four years.

The Golden State Warriors head coach is reportedly finalizing a contract extension with the franchise, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The extension will make Kerr one of the highest-paid coaches in the Association. He just completed the fourth season of his five-year, $25-million deal signed in 2014, with his new extension at least doubling his $5-million-per-year average, league sources told NBC Sports’ Monte Pool.

“I’m going to need it because I just bought a house in San Francisco and I’m going to have to coach for another 20 years to afford that house,” said Kerr of his potential extension after the Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs currently has the highest annual pay among NBA head coaches at $11 million, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers‘ Doc Rivers at $10 million.

Golden State has gone 265-65 (.808) during the regular season under Kerr’s guidance, with a 63-20 record in the postseason.

The 52-year-old has taken leaves of absence while dealing with headaches and dizziness, health-related issues stemming from multiple back surgeries. Kerr has previously indicated he’d only continue coaching if his body permitted, which is why he was hesitant to sign an extension at the earliest opportunity.

Few people in Gregg Popovich’s orbit think the longtime San Antonio Spurs bench boss will coach beyond his assignment in the 2020 Olympics, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Three years ago, Popovich was named head coach of the USA Basketball senior men’s team for the 2017-20 cycle, which includes the FIBA World Cup next year, and the Tokyo Olympics two years from now.

Popovich, who turns 70 in January, is the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA, having taken the reins of the Spurs on Dec. 10, 1996. His team failed to win 50 games in 2017-18 for the first time since that initial season.

Popovich is expected to meet with Kawhi Leonard soon – possibly this week – to iron out any issues between the franchise player and the organization, while he’s also reportedly interested in having a free-agent conversation with LeBron James.

Barry Trotz appears confident he’ll begin his first season as head coach of the New York Islanders with their franchise player leading the attack.

Asked about the John Tavares situation on a conference call, Trotz said he had a “great conversation” with the All-Star and believes his negotiations with the organization are in “great hands” with new president and GM Lou Lamoriello, according to Andrew Gross of Newsday.

Since last July 1, there has been rampant speculation on whether Tavares will hit the free-agent market or re-up with the Islanders on a long-term extension. It’s still unclear which side he’s leaning toward, but by hiring Lamoriello and Trotz, it’s clear the Isles are doing everything they can to keep the 2009 No. 1 pick in orange and blue.

“I think what I know of Lou, what I know of John … I felt strongly that once Lou gets with John … Lou’s going to execute a plan, a long-term plan that will be very successful so we can chase the Stanley Cup and win a Stanley Cup,” Trotz added.

Teams can begin negotiating with Tavares on June 25, while the free-agency window officially opens July 1.

In 82 games in 2017-18, he has registered 37 goals and 47 assists