Tortorella inks two-year extension to coach NHL Blue Jackets

AFP
John Tortorella, pictured June 2017, has signed a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets to keep him behind the bench through the 2020-21 season (AFP Photo/BRUCE BENNETT)

John Tortorella, pictured June 2017, has signed a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets to keep him behind the bench through the 2020-21 season

John Tortorella, pictured June 2017, has signed a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets to keep him behind the bench through the 2020-21 season (AFP Photo/BRUCE BENNETT)

Washington (AFP) - John Tortorella, who coached the Columbus Blue Jackets to first-round playoff losses to the eventual NHL champions the past two seasons, signed a two-year contract extension Wednesday, the club announced.

The deal, which keeps the 60-year-old American behind the Columbus bench through the 2020-21 season, follows extensions last week for team president John Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

"I really appreciate the opportunity given to me to continue to keep working with this team," Tortorella said. "We're not only developing as players, we're developing as a coaching staff working with Jarmo and his staff.

"I'm really happy about it because I really like the team. That's the most important thing about it. I really like the group we have. I really like some of the things we can add to it, some of the kids that are coming through, and to be part of that I feel very fortunate."

In his first full season with the Blue Jackets, Tortorella guided them to only their second playoff berth in eight seasons but lost to eventual champion Pittsburgh in round one. This year, Columbus lost to eventual champion Washington in round one.

Tortorella, who coached Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup title in 2004, has a record of 575 wins, 462 losses, 37 drawn and 101 overtime losses over 17 NHL seasons with Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers, Vancouver and Columbus.

He has 129 wins in 239 games in three seasons with the Blue Jackets since being hired to replace the fired Todd Richards seven games into the 2015-16 campaign.

He won the Jack Adams Award as top NHL coach for a second time in the 2016-17 season as Columbus set a club record with 50 wins, including a 16-game win streak that was one shy of the NHL record.

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