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John Tortorella says he has not been contacted by teams regarding potential head coaching vacancies.
Talking on Sirius/XM, Tortorella was asked the pointed question of whether any struggling teams had reached out to him. He shot down the talk immediately.
“I read things, percentages of who is going to get fired first,” Tortorella said. “It’s such a disrespected position, it really drives me crazy how people treat it. So I have not been contacted, coaches being talked about are real good coaches.”
Tortorella, who hasn’t coached in the NHL since the 2013-14 season with Vancouver, also pointed out that the start of the season is the worst time to slump because losses get magnified.
Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards appears to have the hottest seat in the NHL’s early-going.
Columbus is 0-6-0 and faces the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Columbus Dispatch columnist Michael Arace questioned whether Tortorella, the winningest American born coach in NHL history, is the right guy for the Blue Jackets.
It is just nigh shocking that (general manager Jarmo) Kekalainen has not used the nuclear option. There may be no other place in the NHL where a team that looks so good on paper does nothing while 12 available points are gaffed away in front of a disgruntled, and soon to be dwindling, fan base. What is more, John Tortorella — who won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay in 2004 before he embarked upon a coast-to-coast campaign of id-driven ostracism, from New York to Vancouver — is available. Love Torts or hate him, he has proved he can flog a team toward its potential. Never in Jackets history have the players been truly flogged. Never have they been asking for it as they are right now.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen would prefer to make a trade rather than a coaching change. Though he brought up the names Guy Boucher and Jacques Martin, along with Tortorella.
Boucher, a former Tampa Bay Lightning coach is currently coaching SC Bern in Switzerland. Martin, the longtime Ottawa Senators coach, is working for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tortorella is also slated to coach Team USA at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The Blue Jackets entered the season as an under-the-radar Stanley Cup pick after losing twice in their final 17 games in 2014-15, but have struggled mightily. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovksy recently said he has no confidence and has an .835 save percentage and 5.07 goals against average through five games. Newly-acquired forward Brandon Saad has four points and three goals in six games, but is a minus-6.
The last NHL team to start 0-7-0 was the 1997-98 Chicago Blackhawks.
Other teams with high expectations off to slow starts include the Anaheim Ducks (1-3-1) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-3-0)
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