clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blue Jackets and John Tortorella Made for Each Other

New, comments

The marriage between the Blue Jackets and coach John Tortorella was formed and has been successful, in part, because of prior fallouts.

2017 NHL Awards And Expansion Draft Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

John Tortorella is going to be the best coach in Columbus Blue Jackets history when his time is done in Central Ohio. He might have that unofficial moniker later this season, assuming the Jackets make the playoffs, something no iteration of the team has done in successive years.

Yes, the accolades run short on the franchise and its history to date, but you don’t have to look far to see how much has transpired with Tortorella at the helm.

Something to Prove

The talent is better then it has been in the past, and together, coach and players, the two are forming a duo that works. Each with something to prove. From the coaching perspective: Tortorella is still among the league’s successful coaches, as demonstrated in his Jack Adams award campaign last season, yielding a 16-win, 32-point turnaround from the year prior.

From the players perspective: The 2017-18 roster is among the league’s youngest, but that doesn’t mean winning isn’t the goal now. Consistency may still be a question, but the two are tackling the issue head-on, and particularly Torterlla, is figuring out new ways to go about it.

You may not get the classic Tortorella sound bites like from before. Such as in New York with the Rangers, against his nemesis Larry Brooks.

Although I always anticipate his press conferences, such as fallout from blowing consecutive leads Wednesday against the Penguins and Friday night against the Senators.

But in times of adversity, this is, and has been, the typical Tortorella speak.

Columbus’ market is not New York, but all the same, the coach has wised over the years. He does not let media bait him. His press conferences are consistent since coming to Ohio. He is articulate with his words and thoughts, and if you think he is going to talk about the power play because they score a few goals, you can forget that.

In spite of what the rest of the league, fans, and media think about Tortorella, they haven't been paying attention if they don’t think he has changed.

Such as when Sportsnet’s John Shannon tweeted following the Jackets 7-2 loss against the Bruins, citing that Torts nearly skipped out on his presser following the game. Credit for fixing, but whoever told him, why?

If that was the case.

Young but Effective

Since Tortorella has been hired, he has gotten his clubs to be effective with a sort of consistency that is largely unparalleled in Columbus (Todd Richards did well and I was sorry he had to go out the way he did).

The time with the Vancouver Canucks was good for Tortorella, even the way that ended because it largely forced Torts to take some time off from behind the bench and assess the situation. The league, himself, and he has been able to learn, and apply that, by taking advantage of his potential final chance.

Critics often cite that Tortorella’s old habits will return. Maybe they do. But to this point, Tortorella, who often admits his misgivings, also preaches the bumps that come with young clubs. How to go about adversity. Not that youth or especially injuries are an excuse.

Struggles are struggles at any point throughout the course of an 82-game slate. Or as Tortorella might put it, it is a teaching moment, such as what has turned into a concerning trend the past two nights, blowing three, two-goal leads, against the Penguins and Senators.

Anyway, think about what the scenario might be if Tortorella and the Canucks worked out. I say this, however, as a fan of former coach Todd Richards. It was a bit unfair how that divorce became a reality, but he’s doing quite well with the Lightning, and Tortorella is the right man for the job in Columbus.

We will all get a good look at them for the New Year’s Eve contest between the two teams Sunday night.