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John Tortorella’s reputation tends to proceed him everywhere he goes. For good reason too, he is a brash, no non-sense, straight to the point coach. He holds his player’s accountable (not even sure I know what this means anymore) and treats every player the same, no matter the skill level. He also has a bit of a flair for the dramatics but above all else he is a team first guy.
For a coach who has been around since the early 90s, it is impressive that time has not yet caught up to him . Most coaches fade into irrelevance due to outdated systems, philosophies and coaching strategies. Torts and his style have lasted the test of time. You can argue the merits of his tactics all you want, but you cannot argue his results which includes a Stanley Cup victory. Albeit this came in 2003, close to 20 years ago, but a ring is a ring.
As I eluded to earlier, with Torts it is always a team first approach. Something that can be hit or miss with star players. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, this philosophy is paramount for small market teams. Just like he did in Tampa Bay, Torts is trying to instill a culture that grooms homegrown talent. The problem is this philosophy doesn’t work when this homegrown talent continuously leaves.
It has become clear that star players are not interested in playing for Torts. This is not an all encompassing thought, there are legends like Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier that praise Torts. However as the treatment of hockey player’s has evolved, Torts stays the course. While there is something admirable in this fact, this must be wearing Blue Jackets fans thin.
For a small market team such as the Blue Jackets, you would think they would rely on Stars for market share. The Blue Jackets play in a market with the Ohio State Buckeyes, not to mention the multiple NFL, NBA and MLB teams within driving distance. How do you keep yourself relevant in the average sports fans mind? The Natural answer would be to promote your Star players, coupled with success on the ice (which is never guaranteed), right?
Not in Columbus, guys like Jeff Carter, Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovski and Pierre-Luc Dubois are all proof that the team comes first. Not to mention things like not resigning Duchene who cost the team a 1st round pick or the worst of them all, the William Karlsson disaster.
If I am being honest and putting myself in the shoes of a Columbus fan, I would be conflicted. I can appreciate what Torts is trying to do, and as a small market team you need a culture that puts the Crest ahead of the name on the back. However there comes a point where a coach needs to remember that it is the player’s room and not his. In my basic opinion it is the locker room that holds each other accountable and not the coach. You can only change the roster so much before blaming the player’s becomes a moot point.
At the end of the day the Blue Jackets need to do what is right for them. As a small market team it usually takes a unique and bold strategy to remain competitive. Forcing player’s out of town is as bold as they come, but Torts keeps on winning. Eventually something will give, at which point we will find out if Torts has been undefeated or winless all along.
If you are looking for more of that hockey fix, don’t forget to check out all that is going on with the guys over at Healthy Skratch! Spencer, Tyler and Kristian were graciously joined by Marc Dumont last episode and the boys are keeping you up to date in the world of men’s and women’s hockey!
Don’t forget to check out our Not Sauce For Work episode this week as the boys get your ready for the Super Bowl with a trifecta of interviews. Peeze, Terry and Eagle start things off with Alouettes legend John Bowman, followed by the creator of the Past Eight Parody, Johnny Laurelli. Finally they wrap things up with Alex Roadley Trohatos, a University of Sherbrooke product who started his own GoFundMe so he can attend a football camp to help prepare him for his pro day before the NFL draft!
As a bonus piece of content this week, Terry and Peeze sat down with the one and only David Sanchez from TSN to talk all things football! Davis even gives the guys a little insight on who his pick is for this year Super Bowl Champ!