Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time for some Torts reforms in Columbus

John Tortorella is back behind an NHL bench, taking over
for the dismissed Todd Richards in Columbus
We've not even made it to Halloween and already the witching hour has arrived for the first NHL coaching casualty for 2015-16.

With an 0-7 start to launch their season, the Columbus Blue Jackets have played their way (or not actually) to making now former head coach Todd Richards the answer to this years trivia question of "who was the first NHL coach dismissed this year"

Richards was dispatched last night by the Blue Jackets executive branch, the announcement of his departure made public this morning, a decision that was reached for the most part because as the old saying goes, it's easier to get rid of a coach than 23 players and a couple of goaltenders who can't see the puck at the moment.

To bring that theory home a quick glance at the stats package for the Blue Jackets shows how dire defensive play has been, with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky having surrendered 23 goals in his five games this year, while Curtis McElhinney has shaved the GAA down to 7 in his two appearances.

Offensively, the entire roster of the Blue Jackets has only accounted for 33 points to this point, only thirteen of them goals.

The woeful start for Columbus has found them with not a single win in their first seven games, the worst record in the relatively short history of the team and a benchmark for inconsistency that places them in the conversation for worst team starts in NHL history.

And while it was Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen up there at the head table with the new coach this afternoon, one has got to think that when the name of the new bench boss for the Blue Jackets was announced, it came from the desk of John Davidson.

The former Rangers executive, who is now running the show in Columbus and someone who has some familiarity with the work of the man tapped one of the more familiar and at times controversial names in recent NHL history to turn around the struggling squad.

Are you ready Columbus?  Are you really ready?  Cause here's Johnny Torts!!!

John Tortorella is back, ready to step behind one more bench hockey fans, the fourth of his NHL career, a new opportunity to recast his narrative for a league that probably can recreate every single controversial moment of his career.

The one year sabbatical after his stay and subsequent departure from Vancouver now a thing of the past, with much talk of pushing his new roster hard, the new boss said ready to start injecting some of the fiery emotion that he has brought to every stop on his NHL resume.

Stand by for bombast, stand by for some bellicosity and if you're a forward on the Blue Jackets, stand by, no make that get down now and start blocking some shots...

Word of his return to the NHL caught fire this afternoon, a mixture of compassion for Richards who many suggest was in a bad spot, combined with sheer glee that a larger than life presence was back, sportswriters in every NHL city sharpening their pencils and their wits for the engagements to come.

Blue Jackets -- "We have to get back to who we are"
Blue Jackets -- Blue Jackets aware of Tortorella's demanding style
Blue Jackets -- John Tortorella replaces Todd Richards as Blue Jackets head coach

Fiery Tortorella promises to rebuild club's confidence
New coach Tortorella 'honoured' to be part of Blue Jackets
Tortorella will push Blue Jackets hard
John Tortorella looking to bring 'confidence' back to the Blue Jackets
John Tortorella hired as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach after Todd Richards fired

And while the Blue Jackets are expressing their satisfaction at getting their man, the real happy place in the NHL tonight is Vancouver, where the Aquilini family suddenly got the kind of luck that sends one off to the lottery store for a mitt full of tickets on the next draw.

In addition to reportedly saving three million dollars from their continuing "thanks for coaching, sorry you gotta leave" payments, the Canucks will also receive a second round draft pick in one of the next three drafts because their former head coach found a job.

The second happiest constituency with the news of today, perhaps the New York newspapers, who always enjoy a good Tortorella tale. And while Larry Brooks (feuds passim) apparently was busy working on the Rangers files today, the Post did get it's first Tort's reviews in later in the day.

Prior to Tuesday night's dismissal the Blue Jacket players were saying all the usual things about not wanting to see a good hockey man lose his job because of their play. Yet it was their inability to get things going in the right direction that delivered Todd his fate.

If the past is any indication, we imagine that Tortorella won't much care what the players say about how he handles his new team. Whether it be an earnest proclamations of support, or shrieks of horror about his ways

For the most part, it will probably be a pretty simple process for the rest of the year in Columbus.

If the effort isn't delivered down out on the ice, the moving vans are going to find the winter of 2015-16 a very prosperous period of time for business.

Some of those engines probably will be warming up as the coach prepares to make his debut behind the Columbus bench.

The Tortorella era for Columbus starts Thursday when the Blue Jackets are in Minnesota.

You can follow the changes amongst the coaching and managerial ranks of the NHL from our Hired to be Fired archive page here.

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