The Columbus Blue Jackets saw their franchise-best season come to a premature end on Thursday night, dropping a 5-2 decision in Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Following the game, head coach John Tortorella and selected players shared their thoughts on the game and their season:
Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella
On the controversial penalty to Alexander Wennberg and disallowed goal: "You guys watched the game. You don’t need my help with that. I am not talking about the play. Stop baiting me into it. There’s no sense in me having a viewpoint on it. It happened."
On how he thought the Blue Jackets played in Game 5:
“We played our ass off. That’s not a 4-1 series."
“We have some things to work on, get better at, you’re god damn right we do, but I like our group.”– John Tortorella on HIS YOUNG BLUE JACKETS TEAM
On his team's resolve:
“That was a team effort. I like our group. We have some things to work on, get better at, you’re god damn right we do, but I like our group."
On the special teams battle:
“Special teams are very important in the playoffs, and theirs was better than ours."
On what he learned about his team this season:
“(I learned) that we’re a good team. I’m not going to the young and inexperienced (angle); I’m not going there at all. I thought our guys had no fear. That's a very good team we played. We put a ton of good minutes in. I’m proud of our club, I am. I’m not going to piss and moan about it…they won. We have to lick our wounds and learn. I can’t wait to get going again with them, quite honestly, I’m proud of them.
"We’ve grown. I thought tonight was a perfect example. They ramped it up and surged, but then we came back and played. We didn’t lose ourselves completely, then we went back. Give them credit – that’s a good hockey club and a well-coached team. Their top players hurt us."
On when he found out Nick Foligno wouldn't be playing in Game 5:
“After the warm-up. He basically played on one leg the last game (Game 4)."
Blue Jackets Center Brandon Dubinsky
On his immediate feelings post-game:
“It hurts. We talked about fighting all summer, through a tough training camp and a tough season. These are the times where you have to find a way to step up and get the job done. It hurts right now.”
On the Wennberg penalty:
“Obviously it changed the game. I didn’t see the call, so I can’t comment on the call. It changed the game, big time."
On what he liked about the Blue Jackets' play in Game 5:
“We kept fighting, there’s no doubt. It’s a tough lead to spot the defending champs. We pushed, but just couldn’t find the tier there…we couldn’t find a way to kill that one off (early in the third) and that was the difference."
Blue Jackets Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky
On his post-game emotions:
“They have a good team. Obviously it’s disappointing, but it is what it is."
On the Wennberg penalty:
“That was huge. That was the moment in the game where we have to step up, and unfortunately we lost the game."
On how he'd rate his performance in the series:
“It’s not the time to talk about it right now. I’m not thinking about what’s going to happen. It’s just a disappointing feeling. They got good players, a good team. They beat me. We’ll learn from it and move on."
Blue Jackets Defenseman Jack Johnson
On the controversial call to Wennberg:
“We thought we made it 3-3…and next thing you know, it’s 4-2. Players can’t give an opinion on calls anyway, it just gets us in trouble. Looking back on the game, that’s probably the turning point in the game for us. Things aren’t always going to go your way – you have to be mentally tough enough to stay the course."