May 1, 2014 7:40 am

Canucks expected to call press conference: Tortorella to be fired?

Vancouver Canucks' coach John Tortorella laughs during an interview following a news conference after he was hired by the NHL hockey team in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday June 25, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

UPDATE – May 1: John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan have now been fired. A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m.

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The Vancouver Canucks are expected to call a press conference for Thursday morning.

The Canucks are not commenting, although there are unconfirmed reports that head coach John Tortorella will be fired.

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Tortorella was signed to a five-year contract last summer to replace Alain Vigneualt, who was fired after a second straight first round playoff exit by Vancouver. Just two seasons removed from the best regular season record in the NHL, the Canucks were expected to contend this year.

Instead, they missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, finishing with a 36-35-11 record. While the team was hampered with injuries, they also endured numerous off-ice controversies.

In January, Tortorella was suspended for 15 days after attempting an altercation with the Calgary Flames outside their locker room during the first intermission of a brawl filled game.

In March, longtime goaltender Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers. It happened days after Tortorella benched in favour of backup Eddie Lack for the Heritage Classic against Ottawa – a move that reportedly caused Luongo to reassert his demand to be traded.

In the final week of the regular season, General Manager Mike Gillis was fired and Trevor Linden was named President of Hockey Operations.

For his part, Tortorella took “full responsibility” for the season in a press conference early this month, but also said he wouldn’t be changing his coaching style.

“It’s not about cowering away from it and changing to make everybody happy — or about trying to save my job,” he said. “It’s about trying to do it the right way, and I still think I’m doing that.”

- With files from Squire Barnes

© Shaw Media, 2014

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