Classic John Tortorella quotes have been lacking lately. The Columbus Blue Jackets are off to a good start this year, so there hasn’t been much for Tortorella to complain about…until now.
The Jackets had 2-0 and 3-2 leads against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden last night, but they ended up dropping a 5-3 decision.
Tortorella’s frustration came from his team’s inability to stay out of the penalty box in the third period. Columbus allowed New York to score the first game-tying goal (2-2), the second game-tying goal (3-3) and the go-ahead goal/game-winner (4-3) on the man-advantage.
“Stupid,” Tortorella said after the game, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We don’t deserve to win.
“When you take stupid penalties, you don’t kill them off. We were a dumb hockey team tonight.”
Some people will roll their eyes at the above quotes because it’s just “Torts being Torts,” but the fact that he’s frustrated is justified. He could probably go about it in a different way, but that’s just the way he is.
Tortorella is trying to take the Jackets from being a nice story last season to being one of the legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in the Eastern Conference and in the entire NHL. He needs to set the bar high for his hockey club that’s now 9-5-1 on the season.
The truth is that a great team finds a way to close out that game on the road. Of course, it’s a long season and weird things happen over 82 games, but the Rangers are a divisional rival. Letting those two points slip through their fingers is less than ideal.
Columbus is sitting pretty in second place in the Metropolitan Division right now, but the Devils haven’t slowed down, the Penguins will continue to stick around, the Capitals will string some victories together at some point, and the Flyers and both New York teams won’t go away quietly.
Let’s see how the team responds to their coach’s strong criticism.
The Blue Jackets host the Predators tonight.