The Columbus Blue Jackets have given head coach John Tortorella a vote of confidence despite their free fall down the standings in a rough season that has them sitting at 8-10-5 and in second to last place in the Central Division, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen gave the 62-year old head coach his support on Tuesday.
“This coaching staff has gotten us out of slumps before. They’ve done a great job in the past five or six years they’ve been here. They are the ones that are going to get out of this jam as well, with the team that we have,” Kekalainen said.
Tortorella, who is in his sixth season at the helm in Columbus whom he has led to the playoffs four times during that timespan, was told of the general manager’s statement and responded by saying – “I appreciate that. I just hate him having to do that.”
“We’re all big boys here. When you’re losing games and you’re playing as poorly as we’re playing, those questions should be asked,” Tortorella said. “I’m not going to coach a team to keep my job. I’m going to coach the team to do the best I can for the team. That will never change.”
The head coach has been criticized for his conservative, grinding style of play and his fiery, at times, temperament, and has also made waves for his benching of some of the Blue Jackets most high-profile players, a style that Tortorella says he will not change.
“Accountability is accountability. It’s a great summertime word. People like to use ‘accountability’ and ‘culture’ during the [offseason] but it needs to be at hand every day when the season starts,” Tortorella said. “Don’t confuse accountability with paralyzing players or tightening them up. I feel like as professionals, you have to be held accountable. The coach’s responsibility is how to do it with each individual. Pushing the right button in one instance may be different from one guy to the other. That’s what we have to walk through.”
At this time, the organization is behind him.
“I think he has a great feel for his own coaching style, when he needs to loosen up and when he has to tighten the rope. He knows when he has to back off a bit or get a little closer,” Kekalainen said.