If any fans were worried that they were worried they have may seen the last of John Tortorella after he left the Columbus Blue Jackets at the end of the 2020-21 season, they need not as the outspoken bench boss will be back for 2021-22, though in a different role.
It was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the 63-year-old has been hired by ESPN to work as a studio analyst for the NHL this season. This is yet another great hire by ESPN, who will take over NHL broadcasting rights for the 2021-22 campaign. Tortorella will join many other well known names such as Mark Messier, Chris Chelios, Ray Ferraro, and several more.
This won’t be Tortorella’s first time serving as an analyst, as he briefly worked for TSN in 2008 after being let go by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Though his time there was short lived, he gave a few epic soundbites, including going off on then New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery. Given how his post game rants have been as a head coach over the years, we shouldn’t expect anything different this time around from Torts as a studio analyst.
What this move means for the future of Tortorella’s head coaching career remains a question mark. The two time Jack Adams Award winner chose to step away from the Blue Jackets after a very drama filled 2020-21 season. As things sit right now he is tied with Peter Laviolette for 12th all time in coaching wins with 673, and is in sole possession of 12th for games coached with 1383. His resume boasts a Stanley Cup win as well as a silver medal win for the 2010 Winter Olympics with Team USA, though he was an assistant coach at that event.
The one thing both ESPN and Tortorella are careful with here is that he doesn’t cross the line. He is well known for having an extremely fiery personality that has the potential to get him in trouble if he doesn’t think before he speaks. This is likely something the two parties have discussed already, so one hopes that he is on his best behavior. Regardless, he will have no problem calling out both players and teams, something that is missing from hockey media. He will be a very interesting personality to listen to next season.
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