John Tortorella isn’t afraid to do things a little bit differently.
The infamous Tortorella already had a reputation for being notoriously outspoken before this season began, but has done plenty of legwork since being hired by the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 21st to ensure that that reputation remains intact.
First, just days after being hired, he benched Ryan Johansen, the team’s star player, for the dying minutes of a game and later publicly called Johansen’s fitness into question.
He then healthy scratched Scott Hartnell, one of the team’s more decorated veteran players.
Taking it one step further, Johansen was then healthy scratched.
And, most recently, Torts again refused to hold back to the media, calling out the entire veteran core of his roster.
At this point, one might surmise, that the man must surely be running out of “tough love” ideas to help kickstart his team. Well, my friends, if you think that then you certainly don’t know John Tortorella very well.
But, just in case he is looking for some inspiration, here are the top five new and unconventional ways that Torts can motivate the Columbus Blue Jackets:
Chase his players around the ice in practice on a zamboni
Sure, a zamboni isn’t very fast, but it’s the intention that counts. Plus, a zamboni is strong enough to break down a dressing room door if the players try to barricade themselves.
Send Ryan Johansen to Mars and force him to figure out a way home
For times when the press box just isn’t far enough away. And, hey, it made Matt Damon a lot tougher and more resourceful, right?
Institute a Battle Royale-style competition of survival
Who’s more dangerous, Cam Atkinson with a crossbow or Brandon Dubinsky with a baseball bat? Even though this approach seems excessively violent, the Columbus roster would still probably come out of it a lot healthier than they did all of last season.
Take his team on a spiritual journey to Dharamsala, India to learn meditation techniques from the Dalai Lama
Because, at this point, nothing that Torts does should surprise anyone.
Probably the craziest suggestion of them all, but the one that makes the most sense.
Tortorella has already done enough unconventional and controversial things since taking over the coaching job in Columbus that his message to his team (do your jobs, regardless of who you are) has been sent loud and clear. Benching his star players some more won’t change anything at this point.
And hey, maybe it’s starting to work. The Blue Jackets did, after all, knock off the NHL-leading Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Let the media whirlwind die down, shift all the attention to the X’s and O’s of the game, and let his team play some hockey.
Derek Neumeier primarily covers the Dallas Stars, but also other various topics related to the sport of hockey. A Journalism graduate of Mount Royal University, Derek also writes for Defending Big D, and has done previous work with the Edmonton Oilers as a communications intern and Hockey Canada as a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @Derek_N_NHL