If John Tortorella's going down, he's going down in flames.
The nice thing for the Tampa Bay coach, who looks virtually certain to be canned at the conclusion of these playoffs, is that two more experienced ex-coaches gave him some useful blueprints for post-firing conduct on Thursday.
There was the Marc Crawford example. Show up at the arena you used to call home, hang around for 40 minutes or so, answer a few media questions and ride off into the sunset.
Oh yes, and make it very, very clear that part of the problem wasn't your inability to get along with the club's star player.
Pat Quinn, meanwhile, didn't quite have the courage to do a Crawford, instead literally mailing in his farewell address. Quinn, despite all his bluster and Hamilton bully antics, never had the stomach for confrontation with those in the media who irked him., so it was no surprise he lacked the desire to show his face one last time.
His key point, meanwhile, was to make it clear he got along with just about everybody with whom he ever shook hands at the ACC. He even thanked ex-Leaf president and would-be federal Liberal leader Ken Dryden, who tried to replace him with Bob Gainey two or three times.
The message? Don't be afraid of hiring me just because I have this rep of not being able to get along with my bosses.
Both Crawford and Quinn, you see, were really submitting their coaching applications to the hockey industry more than waving au revoir.
Crawford wants any future employer to know he can get along with star players, and Quinn was making sure he could submit the fable of how much he loved each and every suit at MLSE without being questioned on the total and utter nonsense of it all.
Tortorella, meanwhile, was busy carving his own goalie, John Grahame, after the Bolts lost 5-2 to the Senators on Thursday to move to within one game of elimination.
You have to admire Tortorella's honesty, particularly here in Toronto after a season of listening to Quinn repeatedly argue it was never Ed Belfour's fault when the veteran netminder was having difficulty blocking beachballs and sofas from entering the Leaf net.
But by delivering blunt verbal force to what was left of Grahame's confidence, the Tampa coach essentially ruled out Grahame as usuable body for the remainder of the series and pointed the finger at GM Jay Feaster for failing to upgrade the club in goal at the trade deadline when the entire league understood it was the Achilles heel of the defending Stanley Cup champs.
So Tortorella has ripped the goalie and undermined the GM, all while showing himself to be unable to adequately prepare a defensive game plan for the Lightning to take on a Senators team that started the series a little unsteady without Dominik Hasek but are now firing on all cylinders.
Sounds like a coach eying the exits already.