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Welcome John Tortorella To Columbus

added 9:15am, from TSN,

Columbus is the only NHL team without a point so far this season.

A limp start has been shocking, considering the Blue Jackets finished 2014-15 with a league-best 16-2-1 record and added blossoming star Brandon Saad from Chicago during the offseason. Columbus’ newly formed top line of Ryan Johansen, Saad and Nick Foligno combined for a staggering 29 points in just four games together during the pre-season.

Whether Columbus was overconfident heading into the season - after going 5-2-1 in exhibition action - any shred of mental fortitude was wiped away within a week. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky admitted after giving up a career-worst six goals in one game that he had “no confidence.” Bobrovsky, the former Vezina Trophy winner, allowed 23 goals in five starts for a mind-blowing .835 save percentage.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to one that is the opposite of that,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.”

The time was now for Kekalainen to make a move.


added 10:47am, Columbus press release is below...

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have relieved Todd Richards of his head coaching duties and named John Tortorella as the club’s new head coach, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Tortorella, who signed a three-year contract through the 2017-18 season, will make his Blue Jackets debut on Thursday when Columbus visits the Minnesota Wild.

Tortorella, Kekalainen and Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson will meet with the media today at 12:45 p.m. in the press conference room, located in the dressing room hallway at Nationwide Arena.


“After much deliberation and discussion, we have made the very difficult decision late last night to remove Todd Richards as our head coach and we’ve reached an agreement with John Tortorella to join the Columbus Blue Jackets in that capacity,” said General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

“None of us saw our season unfolding the way it has and every one of us from management to coaches to players bears responsibility. There is still a lot of hockey to be played and we believe this change was necessary to give our team the best chance to accomplish the goals we’ve set for this season.”

Tortorella, 57, has compiled a 446-375-115 record (.538) in 936 games during his NHL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. His teams have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs eight times and he led the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship and the Rangers to the 2012 Eastern Conference Final.

The Boston native ranks first among U.S.-born coaches in all-time NHL wins (446) and was recently named the head coach of Team USA for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. In March 2013, he became the 30th coach in NHL history to record 400 wins and the following January became the 27th coach in league history to reach 900 games.

“John Tortorella is an experienced National Hockey League coach with a proven track record of success,” said Kekalainen. “He is a Stanley Cup winner and we believe the right person to lead our team at this time.”

Tortorella began his NHL coaching career with Tampa Bay and compiled a 239-222-74 record in 535 games during six-plus seasons with the club from 2001-08. He led the Lightning to the Southeast Division title in 2002-03 and 2003-04. In the latter campaign, he won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year as the club went 46-22-14 (106 points) and won the Stanley Cup.

He joined the Rangers in February 2009 and posted a 171-118-30 record in 319 games with the club, including a four-game stint as interim coach during the 1999-00 season. He led New York to the playoffs on four occasions and ranks fourth on the club’s all-time wins list and is fifth in games coached. In 2011-12, he guided the Rangers to the third-best regular season in franchise history with a 51-24-7 mark (109 points) and a spot in the Eastern Conference Final. He joined the Canucks prior to the 2013-14 campaign and guided the club to a 36-35-11 mark.

Internationally, Tortorella was an assistant coach with Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Games and helped the club capture a silver medal. He also served as the squad’s head coach at the 2008 World Championships and was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2005 World Championships. He began his coaching career in 1986-87 with the Virginia Lancers of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, leading the club to a championship and winning Coach of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons in 1986-87 and 1987-88. He returned to coaching with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans from 1995-97 and won the 1996 Calder Cup championship in his first season. He went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres, Phoenix Coyotes and Rangers.

Richards, 49, guided the Blue Jackets to a 127-112-21 record in 260 games since being named the club’s interim head coach on Jan. 9, 2012, including a 0-7-0 record this season. He led the team to back-to-back 40-win campaigns in 2013-14 and 2014-15, three consecutive winning seasons from 2012-15, a berth in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and is the winningest coach in franchise history.

Richards joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season and replaced Scott Arniel behind the bench midway through that campaign. Last season, he led Columbus to a 42-35-5 record, including a 36-20-3 mark from December 1 through the end of the regular season. He surpassed Ken Hitchcock for the most wins in club history with his 126th victory, 4-2, vs. Buffalo on April 10.

In 2013-14, he led Columbus to a 43-32-7 record, setting franchise marks for wins and points (93) in a season as the Blue Jackets qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in club history. In 2012-13, he led the Blue Jackets to a 24-17-7 record as the club finished tied for eighth in the Western Conference with 55 points. The .573 winning percentage that season is the highest in franchise history. In 423 games as a head coach in the National Hockey League, Richards has compiled a 204-183-37 record with the Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild.

“On behalf of our organization, I want to thank Todd for his many contributions both on and off the ice to the Columbus Blue Jackets over the past four-plus years,” said club President of Hockey Operations John Davidson. “He took over under very difficult circumstances and did a terrific job guiding our team to heights it had not before reached. I have great respect for Todd as a coach and a person and wish nothing but the best for him, his wife, Maryann, and their wonderful family.”

The Blue Jackets return to action on Thursday when they visit the Minnesota Wild. Game time from Xcel Energy Center is 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 7:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan, and online at BlueJackets.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tortorella


Paul's avatar

Elliotte Friedman tweet,

Negotiations with Tortorella began yesterday. Hired at approx 130 am today. VAN still paying a portion of his salary.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/15 at 08:19 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I wonder how long Hakstol has in Philly.  They look terrible.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 10/21/15 at 08:25 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Can Torts handle the lack of NY spotlight?

Posted by duhduhduh on 10/21/15 at 08:27 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Another Friedman tweet,

CLB is sending draft pick compensation to VAN as per NHL rules

It is a 2nd round pick.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/15 at 08:29 AM ET

gowings's avatar

Hey boys…party over…welcome to boot camp LOL

Posted by gowings from MTL on 10/21/15 at 08:52 AM ET


Torts was pretty effective in NY and TB, but his ability to restore confidence would appear to be questionable.

Posted by Unhealthy Scratch from The Land of Delughesion on 10/21/15 at 09:03 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Not sure about this.
I’m a closet CBJ fan so I hope Torts can turn it around.
I’m just not a fan of Tort’s style. He was putrid in Vancouver and was happy when he was let go.

But maybe his style will fit the Blue Jackets roster better.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/21/15 at 09:11 AM ET

Paul's avatar

I think Tortorella has learned from his experiences and should do just fine in Columbus.

Small media market hockey-wise and will always play second fiddle to OSU.

Two or three beat writers too, so grilling will be minimum.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/15 at 09:14 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Bob McKenzie tweet,

John Tortorella’s contract with CBJ is for this season and two more, same as his remaining time on VAN contract. VAN paying “some of it.”

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/15 at 09:17 AM ET


I think Tortorella has learned from his experiences and should do just fine in Columbus.

I certainly hope not!

Posted by Garth on 10/21/15 at 09:18 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I think Tortorella has learned from his experiences and should do just fine in Columbus.

Small media market hockey-wise and will always play second fiddle to OSU.

Two or three beat writers too, so grilling will be minimum.

Good points and I hope you’re right.

I know it’s blasphemous for a Detroit fan to like an Ohio team, but the Jackets are a guilty pleasure of mine.
I’d like to see them succeed.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/21/15 at 09:22 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I never saw what Wings fans had against Columbus. Used them as a punching bag for what? 1.5 decades? Was Rick Nash really that much of a pain?

Posted by ilovehomers on 10/21/15 at 09:41 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I never saw what Wings fans had against Columbus. Used them as a punching bag for what? 1.5 decades? Was Rick Nash really that much of a pain?

I think it’s more of the Michigan vs Ohio rivalry.

Our family goes to Cbus once a year with another family to take in a game.
The building and the Arena District are beautiful. We love going there for the weekend.
We usually take in a game against the Oilers (my buddy is an Edmonton slappy) so the Jackets usually win, haha.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/21/15 at 09:45 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Added Columbus press release to the post.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/15 at 09:48 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Oh what could possibly go wrong with this…..

Hey JD, Mike Keenan was just fired from his KHL gig. You could save a few $$$ and get the same psychotic style of coach.

Wonder if Larry Brooks will ask for a reassignment to Columbus?

This, should be fun to watch ( the coach, not the team).

Posted by Down River Dan on 10/21/15 at 10:03 AM ET


I think Torts is a clown.  His kind of personality is always a short-term solution for any team.  Eventually, the players tune out.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 10/21/15 at 10:51 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I think Tortorella has learned from his experiences and should do just fine in Columbus.

I dont think Tortorella is the type of person that learns lessons..

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 10/21/15 at 11:34 AM ET

von Awesome's avatar

Boo! I hope this doesn’t stunt Brandon Saad. I have him on my fantasy team.

Posted by von Awesome on 10/21/15 at 11:38 AM ET

Alan's avatar

I knew I felt a disturbance in the force, but just couldn’t figure out what it was.

This ought to be interesting.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 10/21/15 at 12:08 PM ET

pautna's avatar

Tortorella stinks.

Posted by pautna on 10/21/15 at 12:55 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Good for us fans.  I’ve missed his antics behind the bench.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/21/15 at 12:57 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I think Columbus Blue Jackets are the NHL’s version of the Lions.  LOL

Posted by bigfrog on 10/21/15 at 06:57 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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