Six words that made Blue Jackets fans collectively throw up a little in their mouths.
“ I have zero confidence right now.”
Sergei Bobrovsky may have been the only member of the Blue Jackets who said these words, but almost certainly was not the only one who was feeling this way.
#CBJ G Sergei Bobrovsky: “I have zero confidence right now. It’s a tough time.”
— Shawn Mitchell (@smitchcd) October 15, 2015
After a historically bad start to this season, the Blue Jackets players, management, and fans are left in shock.
The belief of this writer is that they bought into their own hype. After the acquisition of Brandon Saad, the team believed that success was a foregone conclusion. When the New York Rangers showed them otherwise, the team went into a tailspin that they have yet to recover from.
The team needed someone to set them straight, and clearly Todd Richards was not the man to do that.
Enter John Tortorella.
It is no coincidence that the Blue Jackets management targeted Tortorella. The former Lightning, Rangers, and Canucks coach is known for many things. Coddling his players is not one of them.
The breakdowns, poor decisions, and the turnovers. Oh my, the turnovers. Tortorella will see to it that the players play the way that they are expected, or they don’t play at all.
Who Needs Fixing?
Ryan Johansen clearly has not been at the top of his game this year, but after the game against the Wild on Thursday, his name jumped to near the top of the list of issues.
At times Johansen has seemed uninspired. He, like many of his teammates, have made poor choices with the puck at very inopportune times. In fact, Johansen has been one of the team leaders in turnovers. Obviously this is a concerning situation on a team that needs him to be a leader.
Tortorella will help bring a passion back to Johansen’s game, while helping him make smarter decisions.
Dalton Prout has been one of the highest ranking members of the poor decision-making club. It almost feels like whenever the Blue Jackets have had a self-inflicted momentum breaker, Prout has been involved in some way much of the time.
With Tortorella behind the bench, Prout will either minimize the errors, or watch from the press box.
Nick Foligno has been frustrating to watch.
It would appear that Foligno’s issues can be traced to the “C” on his jersey. The Blue Jackets Captain appears to be taking his position almost too seriously. He is trying to carry the struggling team on his shoulders and win every game himself.
Tortorella needs to have almost the exact opposite approach with Foligno than what he has to have with the rest of the team. Tell Foligno to relax, and play his game. Foligno is a leader on his own without putting forth the extra effort. Trust the system, as well as his teammates and everything will fall into place.
What is Working?
In the final moments of the game against the Wild, the Blue Jackets needed a desperate goal to tie the game. On the ice, Tortorella played Alexander Wennberg, Scott Hartnell, and Cam Atkinson, with Brandon Dubinsky as the extra attacker.
These players may not be the big name “stars” but they were the most effective players throughout the game. Tortorella rewarded the players that were being successful and sent a message to the guys that normally would be on the ice in that situation.
Wennberg with the Blue Jackets first goal in the Tortorella era, ties the game 1-1 pic.twitter.com/DyF7oQJh3F
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 23, 2015
It is a shame that it took a terrible start to get to this point, but under John Tortorella the Blue Jackets just might turn things around.
There is a question that begs to be asked.
Is it too late?
Until next time.
Greg is a Pittsburgh Penguins writer for ‘The Hockey Writers’.
He is a Pittsburgh area native who has written for multiple Penguins news and opinion sites. In addition to hockey writing, he is also an experienced YouTube creator.
Greg started with THW in 2015 as a Blue Jackets writer, and spent time as a Fantasy Hockey analyst.