There’s something new going on in Columbus — head coach John Tortorella will no longer require players to show up at the rink on game day mornings.
“We bring them in here one time a day on practice days, but on game days we bring them in twice,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “It doesn’t make any sense. With our schedule coming up the way it is, we are trying to get our guys out of the building as much as we can.”
Per the Dispatch, Tortorella is the first coach in franchise history to implement this policy, adding that no previous bench boss has given the club more days off in between games.
The move, it would appear, is in lockstep with the franchise’s desire to keep players as fresh and healthy as possible.
Injuries have been a major issue in Columbus over the last few years. Which is why it was no huge surprise when the Jackets announced in July that they’d hired a “high performance” consultant by the name of Nelson Ayotte. The idea in bringing Ayotte aboard was to “bridge the gap between the medical staff and the staff of strength and conditioning coach Kevin Collins, so that players don’t get injured and injured players get comprehensive treatment that gets them back on the ice quickly.”
Two years ago, the Jackets led the NHL with 508 man-games lost to injury. Last season wasn’t nearly as bad, but there were still issues — a recurring groin injury limited Sergei Bobrovsky to just 37 appearances, Jack Johnson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery after just 60 games played, and David Savard missed extensive time with an oblique injury.