Monday, December 28, 2015

Tortorella Blasts Blue Jackets Veteran Leadership (or Lack thereof)

For a while, it looked like John Tortorella had created an instant turnaround in Columbus. But after a 2-6-2 stretch that has left the 'Jackets mired in last place in the NHL, it appears that there is no simple turnaround for the flailing Blue Jackets.

On Sunday night after Columbus fell to Florida 3-2, Tortorella laid some of the blame for his team's recent struggles on the veteran leadership. Here's some scathing quotes from Torts via Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s embarrassing, and that’s what we are. I’m not going to tiptoe around here. That’s how we play right now, and I think I’m going to need to depend on the kids to get us out of this because I’m not getting squat from the top players as far as that stuff.”

“I see weakness,” Tortorella said. “I think we’re weak mentally, and it’s not the kids. I worry about the kids getting into bad habits by watching other people. That’s frightening to me. That has to change.”

On Sunday the Blue Jackets were outshot 19-1 in the first period vs. the Panthers and their record stands at 13-22-3. Columbus is the only team that has yet to reach the 30-point mark in the NHL this season.

Tortorella took over the team after they went 0-7 under coach Todd Richards. Columbus is 13-15-3 under Tortorella.

According to Mike Halford of NBC Pro Hockey Talk, the Jackets are the least disciplined team in the NHL this season. Columbus now leads the NHL in minor penalties (157) and total penalty minutes (518). It's been a bone of contention for Tortorella.

"I don’t think we really know where we’re at as a team," a frustrated Tortorella said, "so I’m going to rely on the kids. Maybe they can help us teach.”