Tortorella claims Jack Adams Award over Babcock, McLellan (video)


John Tortorella has won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s most outstanding coach for the second time in his career.

Torts beat out Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers and Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs, after helping guide the Columbus Blue Jackets to a franchise record 50 wins and 108 points.

That’s quite an improvement from their 76-point campaign the previous season.

The Blue Jackets finished third in the Metropolitan Division this season, earning a playoff berth.

The interesting thing about Tortorella being named the Jack Adams award winner is that he was the most likely coach to be fired first during the season, according to the oddsmakers in October.

Obviously, that didn’t happen, as the Blue Jackets gained strength from a 16-game winning streak — the second-longest single season winning streak in NHL history behind the Penguins’ 17-game run in 1992-93 — and were in contention for a hyper competitive Metropolitan Division until late in the season.

The award is selected by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

Here is how the voting turned out:

Points: (1st-2nd-3rd)

1. John Tortorella, CBJ 267 (39-19-15)
2. Mike Babcock, TOR 182 (24-15-17)
3. Todd McLellan, EDM 181 (18-24-19)
4. Joel Quenneville, CHI 103 (12-12-7)
5. Barry Trotz, WSH 63 (6-8-9)
6. Glen Gulutzan, CGY 49 (2-8-15)
7. Guy Boucher, OTT 44 (1-10-9)
8. Mike Sullivan, PIT 25 (3-2-4)
9. Bruce Boudreau, MIN 22 (0-5-7)
10. Jon Cooper, TBL 3 (0-1-0)
Claude Julien, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
12. Randy Carlyle, ANA 2 (0-0-2)
13. Bill Peters, CAR 1 (0-0-1)

Report: Canucks receive Blue Jackets’ 2017 second-round pick for Tortorella hiring


It looks like a done deal now.

The Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday received the Columbus Blue Jackets’ second-round pick in this year’s draft as compensation for Columbus hiring John Tortorella in October of 2015, according to multiple reports.

At the time Tortorella was hired in Columbus, he was still under contract to the Canucks, despite being fired after one tumultuous season in Vancouver. Hence the compensation of a second-round pick in, at the time, one of three drafts between 2016, 2017 or 2018, per Sportsnet.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, that pick to Vancouver is the 55th overall selection this year. Good news for the rebuilding Canucks, who now have a pair of second-round picks, and six picks in the first four rounds of the draft.

Vancouver currently has the fifth overall pick.

Related: Talks continue with pending UFA Miller, but Markstrom is Canucks No. 1 goalie … eventually

Babcock, McLellan and Tortorella are 2017’s Jack Adams finalists


The NHL Broadcasters’ Association named the three finalists for the 2017 Jack Adams Award on Wednesday: Mike Babcock, John Tortorella and Todd McLellan.

The Jack Adams is given to the head coach who “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

It might tickle some to realize that Babcock and McLellan once coached together on the Detroit Red Wings’ staff. All three coaches share the distinction of bringing teams to the playoffs who failed to make the postseason in (at least) the previous season.

The Maple Leafs missed from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Columbus failed in its previous two seasons. And, of course, the Oilers hadn’t seen the playoffs since falling in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

One could make an argument for each coach in a number of ways.

Babcock molded a Maple Leafs team topped by young players, showing a refreshing willingness to take the good with the bad (especially for a guy who’s known for his scowl). McLellan broke that Oilers slump, gradually finding a lineup that could be “more than just Connor McDavid.” The Blue Jackets were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL to the point that they’d get Torts fired; instead, they boasted a power play that baffled opponents for much of the season and Tortorella enacted some (gasp) progressive ideas to help Columbus compete.

Now, you could critique all three in different ways – barely making the playoffs, riding hot goaltending, deploying Connor McDavid – but that’s part of the fun, right? There are certainly some cases to be made for snubs (Bruce Boudreau, perhaps even Joel Quenneville?), yet this trio of finalists is strong nonetheless.

The NHL has a more traditional rundown of each coach’s credentials, by the way.

Tortorella did not want to discuss disallowed goal


PITTSBURGH — One of the biggest moments in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night came early in the third period when the Blue Jackets appeared to tie the game at three, only to have it immediately disallowed on a goaltender interference call.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was immediately enraged on the bench not only because it took away the potential tying goal, but also because it gave the Penguins a power play.

Here is a look at the play.

The Penguins would end up scoring on the ensuing power play to help put the game away.

After the game Tortorella was in no mood to talk about the play.

“You guys watched the game, you don’t need my help with that,” said Tortorella, when asked about the call at the start of his press conference.

Later he was asked if in his opinion Fleury was out of the crease on the play, and he again repeated his desire to not discuss it.

“I am not talking about the play. Stop baiting me into it, please. There is no sense in me having a viewpoint on it. It happened.”

Once the Penguins scored on the ensuing power play that was pretty much the end of the game and the Blue Jackets’ season. Less than a minute after the Sidney Crosby power play goal the Penguins scored again to really put the game away.

As frustrated as that call obviously made him, Tortorella was still really happy with his team and the way they played in the series, saying “it was not a 4-1 series.” The Blue Jackets certainly had their share of chances, storming out of the gate in every game in the series and firing 51 shots on goal on Thursday. But it just wasn’t enough to slow down the Penguins’ offense.

“I learned that we’re a good team,” said Tortorella. “I’m not going to the young and inexperienced angle.  I’m not going there. I thought our guys had no fear. That is a very good team we played. We put a ton of good minutes in. I’m proud of our club, I am. I’m not going to piss and moan about it. They won. We have to lick our wounds and learn. I can’t wait to get going again with them, quite honestly, I’m proud of them.”

Zach Werenski shares battle scars in selfie, gains Tortorella’s (colorful) praise

via Werenski's Twitter feed

Zach Werenski‘s horrifying wound might just unseat Taylor Hall‘s grotesque injury and Logan Couture‘s damaged mouth as the grossest hockey wound in recent memory.

If nothing else, Werenski gets the edge over Hall because that wounded moment came in the playoffs.

Werenski returned briefly (following a scary, bloody moment) during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ eventual 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but couldn’t return during OT. The reason why? He basically couldn’t see out of his right eye, as’s Nick Cotsonika and others report.

Stream Penguins vs. Blue Jackets on NBC Sports

We already saw some in-game evidence of the gore when he was able to come back but Werenski himself posted evidence that it (gag) got a lot worse.

As a comparison, here’s before the swelling got out of control:

To little surprise, Werenski’s willingness to battle through the injury as much as possible gained the respect of his Columbus Blue Jackets teammates:

To even less surprise, John Tortorella provided the money quote:

Oh, Torts. Never change. (Note: he might not even change the way he flatters … brave people.)

As a reminder, there’s still some debate surrounding the goal counting after Werenski was injured.

You’re unlikely to hear any quibbling about the rookie defenseman’s toughness, however … especially in the Blue Jackets’ locker room.