John Tortorella and Barry Trotz went at it for six games in the first round.
Coaching match-ups are hardly relatable to what the players go through on the ice, but there's a battle of the minds behind the bench. Lineups, matching, deployment, whatever you call it...one guy wants to beat the other, plain and simple.
But when the dust settles, it's not uncommon for a rooting interest to develop.
Tortorella and Trotz are cut from a similar cloth; they both plied their trade in the minors before getting opportunities to coach in the NHL. Trotz's career has been more consistent than Tortorella's – two stops (Nashville and Washington) for Trotz and four (Tampa Bay, New York, Vancouver, Columbus) for Tortorella – but what the former is missing from his resume is a championship. Tortorella got that done in 2004 with the Lightning.
During a radio hit on 97.1 The Fan, Tortorella told Anthony Rothman and Bobby Carpenter that he's rooting for Trotz to add a Stanley Cup to his mantle, even if it's for the team that knocked the Blue Jackets out of the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion.
"When you're done competing against guys like Barry and the other (coaches), you pull for those guys," Tortorella said. "I give (Trotz) a ton of credit for where that team is right now. That team is playing hard defensively and they finally have it figured out, how you have an opportunity to win championships is defense. They've been really good."
Tortorella said he's kept some tabs on the playoffs after the Blue Jackets were eliminated.
"I know it's a tough road for Vegas – I don't count them out," Tortorella said. "I'd like to watch it as a fan, but I don't know how to. You just look at things differently. I've watched every game...to sit down and relax with a beer and some pistachios, I can't do it. You end up sitting there and analyzing things. It's been fun to watch."