It's tough love

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:04 PM ET

  To understand what the NHL's final four has in common, take a quick peek behind the benches of the four teams. Just don't get too close.

In Calgary's Darryl Sutter, San Jose's Ron Wilson, Tampa Bay's John Tortorella and Philadelphia's Ken Hitchcock, the two conference finals feature in-your-face coaches who insist their players do it their way.

Sutter didn't care about Jarome Iginla's feelings when he publicly called on the Flames captain to improve his play after losing Game 1 against Vancouvers.

In the end, Sutter knew which button to push. Instead of sulking, Iginla has been the Flames' best skater.

It's no surprise that Sutter, Wilson and Tortorella are finalists for the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach. Hitchcock was a runner-up for the Adams in '97.

Wilson has never held back how he felt. With the Washington Capitals, he once boasted his team could beat the Pittsburgh Penguins "anywhere, any time."

The Caps were drubbed, but Wilson made headlines.

Hitchcock is a take-no-prisoners type of guy who sometimes rubs his players the wrong way, while Tortorella's feuds with emerging star Vincent Lecavalier are well-documented.

"What's wrong with a coach pushing his players to be their best?" Tortorella said.


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