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06-13-2004, 10:23 AM
Believe In Henke
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Taken from the Mercury News(FLA) during this years playoffs...

'Dudley would know Tortorella's tactics well. As Tampa Bay's GM, it was Dudley who hired Tortorella as Steve Ludzik's assistant coach in July 2000. It was Dudley who then made the difficult decision to fire Ludzik, his close friend, and promote Tortorella to head coach on Jan. 6, 2001.

In hindsight, Dudley says the decision to promote the outspoken, sometimes brash Tortorella and put the calm, technically minded Craig Ramsay alongside him as an assistant was as important a move to Tampa Bay's long-term success as trading for Khabibulin or signing St. Louis or bringing in wily veteran Dave Andreychuk.

"Probably as good as anything I did was the structure of the coaching staff," Dudley said. "As good a move as it was to put Torts as the coach was the move to put Rammer as his complement. What I'm proud of was to recognize what John needed to succeed as a head coach. I thought he needed Rammer.

"One begets the other. John is a very good coach, but I don't think John would be as successful without Rammer. That combination of personalities has just been perfect for them."

Tortorella is one of the rare coaches who tells it like it is. If Lecavalier isn't playing up to par, he won't just tell Lecavalier. He'll make it public by challenging him in the papers. So inevitably, Lecavalier and Tortorella butted heads soon after Tortorella was promoted.

When Fredrik Modin wasn't shooting enough, he went after him. When Khabibulin and John Grahame weren't giving Tampa Bay playoff-type goaltending in February, he publicly ripped into them. The media love it. The players hate it. But his tell-it-like-it-is style works.

But Dudley says it works partially because the mellow, nurturing Ramsay, whom Dudley originally wanted to hire to replace Mike Keenan, is next to him.

"(Tortorella) has a file-like edge to him," Dudley said. "Hiring Craig put a presence there. John does it effectively, but to build somebody up, sometimes he flaps them around a bit.

"I knew he'd do that, so to buffer it, I thought a guy like Craig Ramsay would be perfect. It's worked out that way." '

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