Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen offers coach John Tortorella vote of confidence

Because the Columbus Blue Jackets spiral down the standings, basic supervisor Jarmo Kekalainen gave coach John Tortorella a vote of confidence Tuesday.

“This teaching employees has gotten us out of slumps earlier than. They’ve finished an awesome job previously 5 – 6 years they have been right here. They’re those which might be going to get out of this jam as nicely, with the group that we have now,” Kekalainen mentioned.

Columbus is 8-10-5; its .457 factors proportion places it second to final within the Central Division forward of Detroit, whom the Blue Jackets host Tuesday evening. Columbus is winless in its previous 5 video games (0-4-1) and has one win in its previous eight video games (1-5-2).

When informed of that vote of confidence from his basic supervisor, Tortorella mentioned, “I respect that. I simply hate him having to try this.”

Tortorella, 62, is in his sixth season with the Blue Jackets, having led them to the playoffs 4 occasions. He mentioned over the weekend that he wasn’t involved about his job safety.

“We’re all massive boys right here. Whenever you’re dropping video games and also you’re enjoying as poorly as we’re enjoying, these questions ought to be requested,” Tortorella mentioned on Tuesday. “I am not going to educate a group to maintain my job. I’ll coach the group to do the perfect I can for the group. That can by no means change.”

Tortorella’s conservative, grinding fashion of play and his fiery temperament have created a swirl of questions on his future with the franchise. He made headlines this season for benching some high-profile gamers, together with middle Pierre-Luc Dubois, whom the Blue Jackets traded to the Winnipeg Jets, and Patrik Laine, the participant Columbus acquired for Dubois. Kekalainen talked concerning the Jackets discovering methods to make the sport enjoyable as a way to get away of their dropping streak. Can that occur with Tortorella’s fashion?

“I feel he has an awesome really feel for his personal teaching fashion, when he must loosen up and when he has to tighten the rope. He is aware of when he has to again off a bit or get slightly nearer,” Kekalainen mentioned.

Tortorella mentioned he would not change the best way he manages gamers.

“Accountability is accountability. It is an awesome summertime phrase. Individuals like to make use of ‘accountability’ and ‘tradition’ in the course of the [offseason] but it surely must be at hand each day when the season begins,” he mentioned. “Do not confuse accountability with paralyzing gamers or tightening them up. I really feel like as professionals, you need to be held accountable. The coach’s accountability is methods to do it with every particular person. Pushing the suitable button in a single occasion could also be totally different from one man to the opposite. That is what we have now to stroll by means of.”

Whereas there’s been hypothesis that Tortorella had “misplaced the room” throughout this dropping skid, Columbus ahead Cam Atkinson mentioned the gamers have “not even the slightest bit” tuned out their coach.

Together with their struggles on the ice, one issue that has sparked hypothesis about Tortorella’s future is his contract standing. Based on a number of reviews, he is within the final yr of his deal. Kekalainen mentioned the “uncommon circumstances” resulting from coronavirus pandemic “have impacted contract talks,” and that “we owe him lots for what he is finished with this franchise. All the opposite points will get solved in time.”

However when requested if Tortorella would end the season because the Blue Jackets’ coach, Kekalainen noticeably pivoted away from that assure.

“What I mentioned is that I’ve 100% confidence that these [coaches] will get us out of this,” he mentioned.

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