While Matt Duchene's time in Columbus was brief, it made a lasting impression upon him.
In an interview with ESPN's Emily Kaplan, Duchene discussed John Tortorella's offseason comments, the feeling of success in the playoffs, and Columbus as a hockey city.
Kaplan: "What did you learn about that market during the playoff run last season?"
Duchene: "I couldn't believe how great a hockey city that Columbus was. I just didn't know. You don't hear about it. You don't meet a lot of Columbus fans, like, walking around the street, but then in that city, my goodness. I never heard a rink be like that in my life. Game four [of the first round], when we put out Tampa, it was deafening. We were in the room after, and all of us were on such a high because we were like, "Wow, we accomplished something pretty amazing." First time this franchise has been past the first round. The city was just starving for it. [That's] something I'll have with me my whole life and something I'll look back on."
"In (Columbus), my goodness. I never heard a rink be like that in my life."– Matt DuchenE
Kaplan: "Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella had some pretty strong comments recently to The Athletic. He talked about the free agents who left and basically said it made him angry to see you guys want to win elsewhere when Columbus has a great chance. What was your reaction to that?"
Duchene: "I didn't take it personally. He and I texted throughout the summer, even after I signed [in Nashville]. I understand. Torts is a guy that is all for his players, and he wants to show to his guys that he's in there with them still and feeling that way. It's what he does. And that's what makes him a good coach. I didn't take any offense to it. I know where he's coming from, and he's a passionate guy."
Despite departing Columbus for Nashville, in a move that was very unsurprising due to Duchene and Nashville's longtime mutual interest for each other, it's clear that Columbus made a lasting impression.
Although Duchene will no longer be in union blue, his comments help the Blue Jackets' case for attracting free agent talent, as well as commend the fans for their excellent effort this past season.