There has not been a bigger surprise in the NHL this season than the sudden and drastic one-year turnaround of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After finishing with one of the NHL’s worst records a season ago, the Blue Jackets have done a complete 180 and will finish the 2016-17 season with one of the NHL’s best records thanks in part to a 16-game winning streak earlier in the year. It is already the best season in the history the Blue Jackets when it comes to regular season record.
In an interview with Kathryn Tappen, coach John Tortorella attributed that turnaround to a number of different variables, including an infusion of young talent (specifically Zach Werenski, Alex Wennberg), a pretty good goaltender (Sergei Bobrovsky, a top Vezina Trophy contender this season) and an attitude change in how the team approaches its business.
“I think the biggest reason, I think we have just kind of changed our attitude a little bit, and approaching it one day at a time, and more business-like on how we go about doing our business,” said Tortorella. “And let’s face it, we added some talent to our group, some young kids that can play. It’s just been a process of just taking it one day at a time, not looking behind us, not looking forward, just concentrating on that particular day. And a pretty good goaltender, too.”
You can catch all of Tappen’s interview with Tortorella in the video above and get his thoughts on the Blue Jackets’ season to this point, as well as their chances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This will be the Blue Jackets’ third trip to the playoffs in franchise history and their first since the 2013-14 season.
They will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round with the Penguins have home ice advantage.
The Blue Jackets close out the regular season with a pair of games this weekend, playing the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET then taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.