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John Tortorella vs. ‘that damn Twitter’

To borrow a lyric from Tears for Fears, these are the things John Tortorella can do without: Losing, postseason press conferences, Larry Brooks.

And, as it happens, Twitter.

Earlier this week, Tortorella sat down with Sportsnet's James Cybulski, and the topic of social media came up. Never one to mince words, Tortorella was his usual candid self: Twitter's not for him. He finds it narcissistic and stupid.

Cybulski asked if he was opposed to his players tweeting.

"During the season, yeah, I am,” Torts responded.

If you've been following the Canucks' increasing presence and proficiency on Twitter, you can understand why this was cause for concern. On the ice, the Canucks may have fallen off in recent years, but when it comes to Twitter, they're on top of the hockey world.

And now Tortorella is threatening to cripple hockey's best tweeting team, just as they've arrived.

Not that long ago, the best Canucks Twitter account belonged to Ryan Kesler, and it's not that Kesler was a good follow, because he wasn't. It's just that there were really no other tweeting Canucks to speak of. He won by default.

At that time, the best you were going to get as a Canucks fan was either alerts about Kesler's trips to the gym, lame fan retweets on request, or unsubtle advertorials, like this one for a sandwich:

Yeah. Just in case you were wondering who has the best Montreal smoked meat sandwich in Vancouver. You know, as one does. I mean, sure, it's $16, but that's a small price to pay for that kind of #wowfactor.

Thankfully, last season, other Canucks found their way to Twitter -- Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, and, of course, Roberto Luongo -- and the quality of tweets coming out of the Vancouver locker room increased sharply. Even David Booth emerged as an intriguing follow, if you like pictures of dead animals, platitudes about the Lord, and unexpectedly funny non sequiturs, like this one, shared two hours after Kesler's sandwich tweet:

But now John Tortorella threatens the Twitter paradise that has sprung up in Vancouver. The sandwich tweets are done for sure. He spoke out against those specifically.

"I think [Twitter] is stupid," he told a concerned local media Thursday. "It’s tremendous for charity work, and our dog walk in New York raised a ton of money. But not for: ‘Here I am having a roast beef sandwich and saying hello to my fans.’ That’s just ridiculous.”

First they came for our sandwich-related tweets, and I said nothing.

Of course, it's not the sandwich updates hockey fans are the most concerned about. It's the fate of @strombone1.

And that's not to discount backup netminder Eddie Lack, who's not too shabby himself, especially if you like fan interaction and completely random nonsense in broken English, like this tweet about Chris Tanev's contract extension:

Uh huh.

But Luongo is the shining star here. His is the best Twitter account in all of sports. All through his trade saga, he used it to inject levity into an absurd situation. Other situations too, like when T.J. Oshie made him look silly during the shootout.

He once curated a list of his favourite hate-tweets from Bruins fans.

And here he is responding to Tony Gallagher's asinine suggestion that he needs to "cut the diva routine" when he returns to face the media Vancouver:

My friends, we cannot afford to lose this.

The good news is that it doesn't look like we will. He may hate it, but John Tortorella isn't going to ban his players from tweeting outright. That wouldn't be in keeping with the kinder, gentler Torts, the one that lost the room in New York and is attempting to soften his approach, so as to prevent the same thing from happening in Vancouver.

“I’m not going to handcuff them and treat them like little kids," Tortorella said. But so help any Canuck who crosses the line.

"There’d better be no information come out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble to me. But I also respect that social media and all that stuff is part of it and I need to respect that and I’m going to try."

For the sake of Canuck fans, one can only hope he tries really hard. One gets the sense his friendly act might be something that erodes with a few losses.

But don't you worry about @strombone1. For one thing, Tortorella isn't following it:

“I don’t even read Roberto’s,” he told the Vancouver Sun. “I hope he stays out of it.”

We hope you stay out of it.

For another thing, Luongo doesn't seem too concerned. Asked about Tortorella's anti-Twitter agenda and what it might mean for his beloved, but still unverified account, Luongo quipped, "I'm not on Twitter."

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