John Tortorella fired as head coach

— -- The Vancouver Canucks announced Thursday that coach John Tortorella has been fired.

Tortorella worked only one year of a five-year deal. He replaced Alain Vigneault, the winningest coach in franchise history. Vigneault also was fired.

Canucks president Trevor Linden said the team will begin looking for head coach candidates right away.

"We have a lot of important work to accomplish this off-season as we build our management and coaching staffs, improve our roster and connect with our fans," Linden said. "Our general manager search is well underway and we will begin assessing head coaching candidates immediately."

Vancouver went 36-35-11 this season and finished fifth in the Pacific Division, missing the playoffs. The team was hit by injuries and faced additional adversity when Tortorella was suspended for 15 days.

The coach was suspended without pay for charging the Calgary Flames' locker room following the first period of a game Jan. 18 that included several fights. During the suspension, which covered six games, Tortorella wasn't allowed to interact with the Canucks before, during or after games.

The Canucks fired president and general manager Mike Gillis on April 8, a day after being eliminated from playoff contention. Linden announced Thursday that assistant coach Mike Sullivan was also fired.

Vancouver advanced to the 2011 Stanley Cup finals before losing to Boston, but since then the team has been in a steady decline. The Canucks lost in the first round of the playoffs for two straight seasons before missing the postseason this year for the first time since 2008.

Tortorella has 25 years of coaching experience and won the the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. He was fired by the New York Rangers last year after they lost to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs in five games.

Tortorella has reached the playoffs eight times and won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2004.