John Tortorella Is Continuing To Reinforce the Defiant, Arrogant Theme He Wants the Blue Jackets to Embody

By Rob Mixer on October 23, 2019 at 10:58 am
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella addresses reporters during his exit day press conference at Nationwide Arena.

Swagger. Arrogance. 

Those are two words we've heard a lot from Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, particularly early in his tenure that began four years ago. At that time, the Blue Jackets were a dejected group whose season had virtually ended before it truly began – but this time he's got a different kind of gas to cook with.

Here we are, now in the third week of the 2019-20 NHL season, and Tortorella's team is above the .500 mark at 4-3-2, riding a five-game points streak, and seems to have found a groove with its No. 1 goaltender (Joonas Korpisalo). 

"He's a guy that the guys like playing in front of," Tortorella said. 

Korpisalo is one of the players who has watched the Blue Jackets' transformation most intently; Sergei Bobrovsky's departure – and a subsequent conversation with management and coaches – gave Korpisalo the indication that he would be given an opportunity to take the No. 1 job. 

Tortorella loves Korpisalo's demeanor but also admires his willingness to let things roll of his shoulders, which is how he wants the Blue Jackets to carry themselves this season. He often speaks of the "right type of arrogance" and being able to walk the line between arrogance and ignorance, and while the Blue Jackets have made their share of mistakes thus far, their game has been in pretty good shape through the first nine games.

And though they try to block out the noise, Tortorella said the Blue Jackets know what others are saying. It's impossible not to.

"We're supposed to suck this year," Tortorella said. "We're just going to worry about our own business."