Sergei Bobrovsky's training camp press conference seemed to lay the groundwork for his inevitable exit – and we know now, after signing a seven-year deal with the Florida Panthers – but he kept details close to the vest.
That ambiguity has now ceased.
In speaking with Russian journalist Daria Tuboltseva (and shared by hockey reporter Igor Eronko), Bobrovsky shed light on what truly happened in his slow-burning divorce with the Blue Jackets. The comments by John Tortorella and Jarmo Kekalainen after the 2018 playoff defeat to the Washington Capitals regarding a sports psychologist, his "leave the bench" incident and subsequent suspension, and much more.
It's incredibly revealing stuff.
Sergei Bobrovsky to my wife @DariaTuboltseva : There was no chance I'd sign an extension with #CBJ. I felt I need another scenery. And its not just because of tensions with the Jackets [that started after the PO loss to the Caps]'— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 24, 2019
"No chance I'd sign an extension" is pretty damning.
Bobrovsky went on to say that the Blue Jackets tried to re-sign him throughout the season, and it's believed (and has been reported) that Columbus made another attempt to sign him before free agency opened on July 1, when he signed with the Panthers.
More Bobrovsky: 'I was suspended by the team, there were some conflicts in the team, a lot of meetings and some of them just because of me. I didn't feel myself comfortable. And Still the Jackets tried and tried to extend me all season long' #CBJ— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 24, 2019
When Tortorella said this was the most interesting season he'd ever coached, he certainly wasn't kidding.
Bobrovsky had his exit planned for a while and still managed to play some of his best hockey down the stretch and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the Blue Jackets sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round – an important step for both the organization and for Bobrovsky, who had a track record of poor performance in the postseason.
Here, Bobrovsky talks about how his time with the Blue Jackets ended:
Probably after the playoffs with Washington. I do not want to delve into the dirty laundry, for me this is an inverted page, now I look forward, my heart belongs to Florida. As for Columbus, I am grateful to both the guys and the organizations for the seven years I have spent there. We had both ups and downs. All that was, that was. We shook hands with the general manager, with the head coach and our paths diverged.
And, finally, his relationship with Tortorella:
He behaves with everyone like that. If he does not like the behavior of a player, then he will put pressure on him. But he has many advantages. It was with the arrival of Tortsa that the team began to play in a new way. He set discipline. He demanded the maximum from each player. We began to constantly go to the playoffs. He is also a subtle psychologist and a very strong motivator.
You can read the full interview here – just run it through Google Translate first.