John Tortorella: Blue Jackets “Want to Perform in Front of People” at Scrimmage Open to Public Monday

By 1OB Staff on April 21, 2019 at 6:30 am
Fans stream into Nationwide Arena for Game 4 of the Blue Jackets' first round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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There's a bandwagon barreling down Front Street and the Blue Jackets are doing whatever they can to give fans more of what they want in the days after the team's stunning sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Monday, at 11 a.m., the Blue Jackets will host a game-like scrimmage at Nationwide Arena, with fans, old and bandwagon alike, invited to come out and watch the team go at it.

The intrasquad scrimmage will be full 5-on-5 simulating the pace and action of a game.

“I have the teams set, we'll put the uniforms on,” coach John Tortorella said Saturday. ”It's going to be very similar to camp except I think we'll play three periods instead of two.”

Bringing fans in to see the scrimmage is the brainchild of Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

“Jarmo and I were sitting around the office and Jarmo's the one who said this, ‘Why don't we just bring the people in?’” Tortorella said. “I hope they come in. These guys are performers, they want to perform in front of people, not coaches.”

The Front Street Plaza doors open at 10:30 a.m. Monday. The first 500 fans will receive a free “It's Time” playoff tee.


The scrimmage will also be the first chance for Blue Jackets fans to see defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov on the ice with his new NHL team.

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Russian inked a contract with the Blue Jackets earlier in the month after playing several seasons in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Gavrikov is eligible to play in the postseason and he'll get a look with defensemen Ryan Murray, Markus Nutivaara and Adam McQuaid all sidelined with injuries.

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