Torts time: Jackets fire Richards and turn to Tortorella
After a season-long absence from the NHL, John Tortorella is back.
This time, it’s with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have fired coach Todd Richards after an 0-7-0 start to what was supposed to be a breakout season. The news was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Richards was in his fifth season in Columbus, but had only led the team to the playoffs once and never won a postseason series.
By contrast, Tortorella brings a lengthy track record of success. He has won the Stanley Cup and is the winningest American-born coach in history with a 446-375-37-78 career regular-season record. At the same time, Tortorella was fired in both 2013 and 2014 by the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, respectively.
Tortorella’s season with Vancouver went about as poorly as possible, as the Canucks failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The team scored just 196 goals, its lowest full-season total since 1998-99.
Tortorella is known for his clashes with the media, although he did feel that he made strides to improve that while in Vancouver. He was also suspended for 15 days during the 2013-14 campaign for attempting to confront Calgary coach Bob Hartley between periods after a line brawl at the start of a game.
Ultimately, Tortorella didn’t blame the Canucks for firing him. That being said, don’t expect him to be a totally changed man when he takes over the Jackets.
“Don’t blow your philosophy up because it was a tough year,” he said last month. “You still need to have confidence in yourself, and stay with your convictions and philosophy.”
Vancouver will receive a second-round pick from Columbus as compensation for the hiring, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The Blue Jackets start a four-game road trip Thursday in Minnesota.