As we all now know, John Tortorella will be moving on from the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. He informed the team that he will not be their head coach next season and the expectation is that he’ll look for another opportunity with another team in the coming weeks and months. But, this wasn’t the first time Torts tried to leave Columbus.
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Tortorella tried to leave after his fifth season. The publication confirmed that he tried to step down last offseason after the Blue Jackets were eliminated in a first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay. Apparently, he saw the writing on the wall, realized it was not a good situation and that this was not the team he thought the organization was trying to build just two years earlier.
There were a couple of issues that forced Tortorella to stick it out.
First, the Blue Jackets refused to fire him. He didn’t just want to quit, but he wanted the $2.5 million (per his contract) salary that came with his being the coach. He was ok if the team found him other work to do for that salary but he would have been paid far less than $2.5 million. The money was important.
Second, Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno asked him to stay. The two had lunch and Foligno urged the coach to return for one last season to “finish what we started”. Now that Foligno is gone, there wasn’t anyone who pleaded to Tortorella’s emotional side and got him to rethink his stance.
Best that Both Sides Part Ways
This wasn’t a season where anyone was going to try and convince the other to stick it out. There was so much tension in Columbus that everyone must have realized the best thing to do was just trying something else. Tortorella still wants to be a coach, but it’s clear his time with the Blue Jackets is done. The team has also realized a new voice is probably best.
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