When Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella was asked about how his team would balance swagger with a sense of urgency after a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena last night, he had an eye-opening response.
"Forget about swagger," Tortorella said. "The urgency–that's with capital letters–that's what has to happen."
So, why the urgency?
For starters, the Blue Jackets came out of the gate with three minor penalties in the first 20 minutes alone on Wednesday night. Two of those–as Tortorella eluded to–occurred in the neutral zone. They also led to two Edmonton goals, with the first Oilers goal coming on the power play and their second (each goal scored in the first period) being scored only three seconds after a man advantage had expired.
Add to that, goaltender Joonas Korpisalo was taken out after 25 minutes of regulation, allowing 4 goals on only 12 shots. Korpisalo, who has been the regular starter in net for the Jackets, was officially partially due to his performance–possibly leaving the door open for Elvis Merzlikins to get more playing time, or, perhaps, take the starting job.
The Oilers have defeated the Blue Jackets three consecutive times spanning back to last season and four of the last five times these clubs faced one another. More than 30 months have elapsed Columbus beat Edmonton at Nationwide Arena. The last time they accomplished the feat was in January of 2017. For whatever reason, the Oilers seem to point out the deficiencies of Columbus' hockey team.
This isn't the same as quote-unquote "hitting the panic button". The Jackets have only played 12 of 82 games in the season. Columbus gave up the final five goals in a 7-4 loss to the Flyers on Saturday and faced a 4-0 deficit against the Oilers fewer than 24 hours ago.
Urgency (with capital letters) is a proper response from the head coach, and we'll see if the team shows it when they visit St. Louis to face the Blues tomorrow night.
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