The Blue Jackets have had all kinds of struggles this season.
One of the most important ones that John Tortorella has discussed over the course of the year is intensity, or a lack thereof. The Blue Jackets always seem like they're on the back foot, which is not what they've shown in past seasons under Tortorella.
On 97.1's Hockey & Hounds, Tortorella confirmed that the lack of intensity has been something affecting the Blue Jackets all year.
"I felt it, right from the get-go," said Tortorella. "I didn't have the feel in the locker room. I just didn't sense it. It's hard to explain because you walk into a locker room, and you can sense when the intensity's there, without anybody saying anything, without anybody doing anything. It's really weird. You can feel it, and I have not felt that. This started very early for me, as far as the locker room, where we were just getting our season going, and our record wasn't great, but we certainly hadn't lost ourselves. I didn't like it."
Of course, this offseason was marked by a lot of speculation regarding Pierre-Luc Dubois' new contract, which ultimately evolved into a far more serious situation in which Dubois made clear that he wanted out of Columbus. Many thought Dubois could break club records, but instead he was dealt to Winnipeg.
"We've had a lot of things go on with our team prior to seasons, with Bread and Bob announcing they want to go, then this year Luc wanted to go," said Tortorella. "To this day, I don't like the locker room. I'm not putting blame on anybody else other than myself, because that's the biggest part of my responsibility is to create that, is to cultivate that, and I have not been successful doing that...that responsibility falls on me, and it has just not been there this year."
Later on the program, Tortorella had some praise for Seth Jones, both as a player and as a leader.
"I'm not sure what happens with Nick during the summer in free agency...but I'll tell you right now: Seth Jones is the next captain of this hockey club, in my view anyway," said Tortorella. "Those are discussions you have organizationally, but in my view, he has not taken a shift off since we've been out of it, since the trade deadline, since the injuries. He is probably one of the only players in that room that can say that...he just keeps on playing. You look at the situation, and you want to see how people react, and I watch it very closely. Man, that guy there has done nothing but stand out for me, as far as how he's acted, and he deserves a lot of credit."
Tortorella also confirmed that Jones will need some sort of procedure(s) over the summer, like Werenski.
"He's a guy that needs some work in the summer. Z needed some work in the summer...I told Z he had to go early because he needed to get his body taken care of. Jonesy's the same way, but Jonesy wanted to stay in here and play, and he's doing that."
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