On Oct. 20, Todd Richards made Cam Atkinson a healthy scratch against the New York Islanders.
That was Richards’ last game behind the Blue Jackets bench and the last time Atkinson would watch a game from the press box in 2015.
Columbus hired John Tortorella, and although he’s known for his “my way or the highway” approach, some players, like Atkinson, have found on-ice success since he’s taken over.
“I didn’t even know who he was when I got here,” Tortorella said of Atkinson, per the Dispatch. “But since I’ve been here, he’s probably been — with (Scott) Hartnell and (Matt) Calvert — one of the most consistent forwards we’ve had. I’ve used him in all areas because he’s that good … away from the puck, defensively, killing penalties, he runs the point on our 5-on-3 power play … there’s a lot there.”
The 26-year-old has been pretty consistent over the last two seasons. He’s scored just over 20 goals and has hit exactly 40 points in each year.
This season, he’s on pace to find the back of the net 23 times and he could realistically hit the 50-point mark for the first time in his career.
When the Tortorella hiring was announced, Atkinson admits that he called his off-season training partner Martin St. Louis, who won a Stanley Cup with Torts in Tampa.
“I wanted to know what to expect, and I knew Marty would be straight with me,” Atkinson said. “He was the first guy who told me, if you work hard, he’s going to love you.”