Columbus Blue Jackets’ head coach John Tortorella was asked after Thursday’s team loss to the Nashville Predators if he had a follow-up discussion with Max Domi after sitting him for the final five-plus minutes of his Blue Jackets’ debut? He response was direct and to the point. “Nope.”
This comes just a couple of days after Tortorella made headlines for confirming Pierre-Luc Dubois wanted out of the Blue Jackets organization and that, as a coach, his relationship with the disgruntled center could be tenuous moving forward. The GM and the player all tried to hide there was any rift and no one had actually confirmed Dubois had made it known he’d liked to be moved, but Tortorella didn’t hold back and said, “Yeah, he wants out.”
How many times does Tortorella need to make headlines to start the season before it comes crystal clear there’s an issue?
Early into the season, the coach has already confirmed the top line of Mikhail Grigorenko, Dubois, and Oliver Bjorkstrand will stay together. Everyone else will see a different line mate on Saturday in the rematch vs. Nashville.
Domi played just 12:52 in Thursday’s contest. It was the third lowest TOI among forwards and considering he was brought in as part of a trade for Josh Anderson this offseason and slated to be a top-6 center, that’s alarming.
As Aaron Portzline writes in The Athletic, “The much-anticipated second line — left wing Nick Foligno, center Max Domi and right wing Atkinson — pretty much bombed.” Domi was benched for the final 5:18.
Is It As Bad For Domi As It Seems?
Fans are going to argue Domi won’t last. Some will say this is a bad start and ask how long it will be before he wants out? It might not be as bad as it seems on the surface.
To be fair, Domi caused one of the penalties in the final ten minutes of the game and, as a result, he sat in the box for two minutes and then was on the bench for an additional PK too. That time adds up and certainly should factor in to his ice time.
Perhaps the bigger issue is that there’s so much being discussed when it comes to the Blue Jackets that isn’t about the on-ice product, it’s easy for storylines to spill over.
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