All those Blue Jackets players shouldering the blame for their historically woeful start? All that about Columbus seeking to make a trade before considering a coaching change? Everything about John Tortorella not having been contacted by struggling teams? Hooey. Todd Richards has been fired, and Torts is back, baby!
Darren Dreger broke the news, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise as it might, considering Tortorella’s last, disastrous stint in Vancouver ended with him saying “I deserved to be fired.” But there’s a school in hockey that holds the best thing for a bad, underachieving team is to bring in someone who will yell at them a lot.
Still, Richards couldn’t stay. After last night’s 4-0 home loss to the Islanders (a moral victory!) Columbus is pointless through its first seven games of the season. That ties a record in the NHL’s modern era.
Maybe this will work. For all the jokes about Brandon Dubinsky’s PTSD and Sergei Bobrovsky shattered confidence, Tortorella has a track record for shaking things up, at least initially, and you’d expect him to approach this job from a humbler place than he’s used to—toward the end of his Canucks tenure he sounded more self-reflective than he ever had. The Blue Jackets must think so, as per the terms of the CBA, they have to send a second-round pick to Vancouver since Tortorella is still under contract.
Anyway, you know how this will go. The Blue Jackets aren’t as bad as their record, and have been the victims of rotten luck. Columbus will be better with Tortorella than they were with Richards through the first two weeks—regression guarantees it—and Bobrovsky will be better too, and simplistic analysis will attribute the relative success to Tortorella whether he deserves it or not. And a coach who a year ago seemed unemployable will be right back in the rotation of guys who get a call when a spot opens up.