John Tortorella will not be returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets as head coach next season. After six years in Ohio, Tortorella will be walking away from the Blue Jackets on his own, though it is uncertain if GM Jarmo Kekäläinen was interested in re-signing him anyway. The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs and finished last in the Central Division with a 18-26-12 record – good for 48 standings points in 56 games.
Tortorella’s time in Columbus, just like everywhere else he’s coached, was marred by controversy. His tenure in Columbus started by benching number-one center Ryan Johansen (he was later traded for Seth Jones) and ended by benching number-one center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Blue Jackets would go on to trade PLD to Winnipeg for star winger Patrik Laine. Torts would bench Laine too. Reportedly, the Blue Jackets will aggressively try to land a first-line center this summer.
Torts was never afraid to show his huge personality even if it got him in trouble. Let’s take a look back at RMNB headlines related to John Tortorella throughout the years. They’re like Old Bay potato chips, spicy but delicious.
November 21, 2016
Our coverage begins in 2016 when Torts got in a war of words with Barry Trotz through the media. The former Capitals head coach was unhappy with some embellishment Nick Foligno’s in the third period and Tortorella offered some advice for Barry that was kind of rich.
April 19, 2017
We learned later that while Torts loves taking photos with fans, he did not like taking selfies with filters turned on.
December 15, 2017
The Edmonton Oilers demolished the Blue Jackets 7-2 in December 2017. John Tortorella left the press conference early after getting some questions he didn’t like.
December 27, 2017
In this RMNB story, we learned that Torts has something in common with all of us Caps fans: he hates the Penguins.
February 26, 2018
During a Caps-Blooj game in February 2018, Alex Ovechkin was butt-ended in the mouth by Matt Calvert. In the second period, Ovi and Torts traded words at the bench and it was electfifying.
February 27, 2018
After the game, Ovi was asked about the fiery incident. He smiled and said that Torts is a “nice guy.” After the game, Tortorella took full responsibility for the argument.
“That’s my fault. That’s my fault,” the fiery coach said. “I thought he dove and I signaled to him. I thought he dove and he took objection. I have no business making any gesture or saying anything to a player. That’s not on him. That’s just stupidity on my part.”
April 19, 2018
While playing the Capitals during Washington’s Stanley Cup run, Torts said the team “sucked” in Game Four. After losing the first two games of the series, the Caps won four straight to advance.
December 7, 2018
Tortorella made a Bill Belichick-esque fashion statement in December 2018, dressing in a hoodie for the game because he was sick. Honestly, toss the suits. Hoodies look way better. It’s so cold at the rink, anyway!
February 19, 2019
In what is one of the weirdest press conference responses of all time, Tortorella went into disgusting detail about why the Bread Man was out of the lineup.
February 25, 2019
One time a reporter’s phone rang during a press conference so John answered it, said hi, and made jokes. You can’t make this stuff up.
March 2, 2019
During a Q/A in 2019, Torts revealed that he was not a fan of the shootout and wanted three-on-three overtime “until a team dies.”
December 29, 2019
This one you just need to click and see for yourself. Another classic rant.
June 10, 2020
In June 2020, Tortorella showed maturation publicly announcing that he had changed course on a policy he had in the past about protests during the national anthem.
July 16, 2020
Ahead of the 2020 bubble playoffs, Torts admitted that the empty arena games would not change his, uh, communication style during games.
August 25, 2020
February 8, 2021
After sending PLD to the Peg, it didn’t take Torts long to send a message to Patrik Laine.
Well, that was fun! Torts leaves Columbus as the winningest coach in Blue Jackets history. He led the team to its first playoff series win in 2019: a first-round sweep over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.
From all of us at the #CBJ, thank you for six incredible seasons, Torts!
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) May 9, 2021