Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella will not be behind the bench on Thursday night when the team visits the Nashville Predators due to a family emergency.
Assistant coaches Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw will handle the coaching responsibilities for the game in his absence.
Along with missing Thursday’s game, he will also miss the NHL All-Star weekend where he was supposed to be the coach for the Metropolitan Division team.
The Blue Jackets released the following statement from Tortorella:
“Regrettably, there is a personal matter that requires my immediate attention that will force me to leave the team temporarily and miss the All-Star Game in Los Angeles. This decision was not made lightly as representing the Columbus Blue Jackets is something I am very proud of, but it is the right decision for my family and I. I appreciate the support of our organization and the National Hockey League and my hope is to be back with the team next week.”
Neither Tortorella or the Blue Jackets revealed what the emergency is, but according to Rob Mixer of the Blue Jackets it does not involve his son Nick who is an Army Ranger.
The Blue Jackets hired Tortorella early last season following an 0-7 start. Since being hired by the Blue Jackets the team is 66-44-12 under Tortorella, including a surprising 32-11-4 mark this season that has them in second place in the Metropolitan Division just two points behind the Washington Capitals.