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.
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 justConnor 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.
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.”
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.