First there was a fellow by the name of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in the mid-nineteenth century…then the Olympic games in the summer of 1996. And now, if rumors are be believed, Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley could be ready to march another “Torch” into the city of Atlanta.
I’m speaking, of course, of John Torchetti…who right about now is probably waking up in Chicago after a night of partying with the Blackhawks and Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Hawks ended the SCF by beating the Flyers in game six 4-3 on Patrick Kane’s overtime goal. And now that the NHL season is official over, the Thrashers and Dudley can now fly him into town for an interview.
Torchetti does have limited experience as a head coach at the NHL level…39 games total as a bench boss. In 2004 he actually replaced Dudley behind the bench in Florida after the Panthers started the season 13-15-9-3. Torchetti and the Panthers finished with a 10-12-4-1 record before the team hired Jacques Martin just after that season ended. Torchetti once again was hired on an interim basis in Los Angeles. There he finished out the season’s last twelve games, winning 5 and losing 7.
His all-time record as an NHL head coach is 15-19-4-1.
However, if indeed Dudley lights the Torch here in Thrasherville, it would be his first full-time gig as a head coach for an NHL team.
Torchetti will be 46-years of age on July 9 and was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He played for Jamaica Plain High School in the Boston City League before moving on to New Preparatory School of Cambridge, Mass. He was a left wing and went on to play in the ACHL, AAHL, ECHL and AHL.
After coaching at the ECHL and IHL levels, Torchetti was hired as an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1999. In 2004, while coaching the San Antonio Rampage, he was promoted to assistant coach of their parent club Florida Panthers. In 2006 he replaced Ted Nolan as Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operation for the Moncton Wilcats. That QMJHL team finished 39-25-0-9 and qualified for the playoffs.
Torchetti has been with the Blackhawks since May 27, 2007.
As for timing…well, I would suspect he’ll want to take a few days to celebrate in Chicago with the Blackhawks and their fans, take a few days off to rest…and maybe sometime mid-to-late next week we could be hearing some sort of buzz about an interview down here.
This would set up, possibly, an announcement sometime around the NHL entry draft, which will be held in L.A. beginning June 25. Remember, two years ago then-GM Don Waddell attempted to time the announcement of new head coach John Anderson the day of the draft…but he was spotted in a local hotel days before, spoiling the surprise.
Until then, congratulation to John Torchetti, the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago on that team’s first championship since 1961!