When John Tortorella talks about being rooted in Columbus, he means two things.
When he arrived in Columbus in October of 2015 with the team in complete disarray in the midst of a season that had already gone off the rails, he wanted to hunker down with his new team and get into the fight with them. They weren't going to make the playoffs – everyone knew that – but establishing a new standard was the goal.
What had happened wasn't nearly good enough, and they were going to chase something bigger and better. "Good is the enemy of great," Tortorella often said.
He has also come to embrace the city of Columbus, and entering his fourth season, is one of those voices who staunchly defends the town against naysayers. When Jack Johnson opted to leave and Jim Rutherford opted to open his mouth back in July, Tortorella stood up for the organization.
It's part of him now, and with a new two-year contract extension that ties him to the Blue Jackets through 2021, he's in this for the long haul if things continue the way they have. The Blue Jackets have won 95 regular-season games the last two seasons and only three NHL teams have more in that span, but their postseason failures sting.
And in Tortorella's mind, they're still building.
"For my wife and I, we're thrilled (with the extension). We love the area. We're involved in the area, we've met some great people and we feel part of it," Tortorella said at Wednesday's media day luncheon at Nationwide Arena.
"On the hockey part of it, I really appreciate the opportunity that Jarmo, JD, Mr. McConnell and Mike Priest...have given me to continue to keep working with this team. All around, I'm really happy about it."
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