The Columbus Blue Jackets have decided that they will not be bringing back John Tortorella. The news comes after the conclusion of Columbus’s unexpectedly rough season.
The Athletic: John Tortorella won’t return as coach of Blue Jackets next season, per sources.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) May 9, 2021
Blue Jackets Part Ways With Coach John Tortorella
The Columbus Blue Jackets have parted ways with head coach John Tortorella. The team ended the season in last place in the Central Division, with a record of 18 wins and 38 losses. This constituted their worst finish since 2015.
Over his 20-year NHL career, Tortorella has split his time between the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Overall, he has 673 wins and 578 losses. His greatest success was with the Lightning in the 2004 season, when he led Tampa Bay to win the Stanley Cup.
What This Means for the Team’s Future
Tortorella has done excellent things for the Blue Jackets over his six years with the team. In the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led Columbus to a stunning sweep of the heavily-favoured Lightning. But the team’s conflict with Pierre-Luc Dubois made him a controversial figure midway through the season, and his decision to bench former Winnipeg Jets star Patrik Laine was also highly scrutinized.
For Columbus, a coaching change is the natural next step after this abysmal season. As the Blue Jackets try to figure out what caused them to fall from playoffs to last place, they’ll presumably want a different perspective to guide the team. Tortorella is known for his tough, extremely disciplined approach to coaching. That just might not be what Columbus’s disheartened group needs.
Of course, Tortorella’s coaching aptitude should not be underestimated. Though he struggled with the Blue Jackets this season, he has consistently produced better results from his teams and also possesses considerable experience. He’ll likely move on to fill another coaching position over the offseason.
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