Sat, 17 Apr 2021

Heat on Blue Jackets' John Tortorella with Red Wings ahead

Field Level Media
02 Mar 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

John Tortorella has coached the Columbus Blue Jackets since early in the 2015-16 season.

Now there is speculation about how much longer the outspoken Tortorella will be on the Blue Jackets' bench heading into the team's home game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

The Blue Jackets havebeen successful during Tortorella's tenure but his message seems to be wearing thin. Columbus lost twice to Nashville over the weekend, extending its winless streak to five games.

"I never worry about that," Tortorella said of his job security. "I do my job the best I can. If people want to make decisions on me, that's their (choice). I never worry about that. I go about my business and I'm going to coach this team the best way I possibly can."

Columbus got off to a 7-5-3 start but have gone 1-5-2 since mid-February. The offense has gone into a funk, producing just two goals over the last three games.

"Throughout any season you're going to have some rough patches," Tortorella said.

The Blue Jackets will have a little more support on Tuesday. For the first time this season, they'll have some people cheering for them. The state of Ohio has approved 10 percent of capacity, nearly 2,000 fans, at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus plays five of its next seven games at home. Perhaps that will give the Blue Jackets a spark.

"Obviously, no one likes to lose, of course," defenseman Seth Jones said. "We find ourselves in a situation that only the guys in the room can get us out of. We'll continue to work at the things we need to do to win hockey games."

The Red Wings were missing several top players when they lost to Chicago 7-2 on Sunday.

Team captain Dylan Larkin didn't make the trip for the two-game series due to an upper-body injury. Another member of the team's usual first line, Tyler Bertuzzi, is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Robby Fabbri, who had two assists in Detroit's 5-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Saturday, was a late scratch on Sunday. One of the team's top defensemen, Patrik Nemeth, was placed on the league's COVID-19 protocol list.

The depleted Wings managed to keep the game close until the Blackhawks erupted for five third-period goals.

"Playing from behind, especially in the third period, we gave up too many chances," forward Sam Gagner said. "We didn't do our job defensively. That's going to be really important for us to be a good team. We've got to make sure it starts from a defensive standpoint."

The Wings have five losses by four or more goals.

"I actually thought we pushed back even after they scored the third and fourth goals," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We had moments of push back. You just can't give up easy chances. You've got to be able to push without giving up easy chances. Unfortunately, that's not what happened."

Thomas Greiss was the goaltender on Sunday. The Wings have won three of their last four games with Jonathan Bernier protecting the net and he'll be the starter on Tuesday.

The teams split a pair of 3-2 decisions in Detroit during the second week of the season.

--Field Level Media

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