John Tortorella Credits Joonas Korpisalo For Addressing Team Following Emotional In-Game Reaction

By Chris Pennington on October 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Joonas Korpisalo
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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A Columbus Blue Jacket goaltender having an emotional episode during a brutal away game in 2019 - this seems to be a trend.

Last season, it was Sergei Bobrovsky being pulled in the midst of an 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 8, leaving the bench, getting undressed and showering while the game was still going on.

This season, it was Joonas Korpisalo in the midst of a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday when...well, we'll let you watch the tape.

After holding a 4-2 lead with about ten minutes remaining and a chance to extend their club point streak to six games, the team allowed four straight goals to close the contest. Korpisalo's reaction to the Flyers' go-ahead goal was entertaining at the moment but struck a wrong chord with his head coach.

"It's bullshit. It's bullshit. It's selfish no matter what the reason is, whether you're mad at yourself or a teammate, it cannot happen at that position," said Tortorella on Tuesday morning with Bob McElligott on "Timeout with Torts". It cannot happen period from anybody. Everybody in the building is seeing the tantrum."

What's the stark contrast between the two situations, though? Bobrovsky not only freaked out but left the bench and locker room, for starters.

More interestingly, though - one goaltender had to be confronted with his actions by teammates, and another addressed the whole team before anyone could call him out about it.

"I didn't see it, but when I broke the tape down on that plane, it was addressed immediately as far as his conduct," said Tortorella. "Having said that, he already addressed the team before I got to him. This is what I love about the game. He knows it's wrong."

'What's wrong with what he did?', many of us may ask. The team collapsed in front of him in a brutal implosion, and Korpisalo has the right to show his emotion, right?

Sure, but put yourself in the position of an opposing player, seeing this on Twitter that night or in your film session before you play Columbus. Are you not more excited to pepper Korpisalo and try and get in his head, knowing he may crack?

"If it happens again, so help me God, things have to change."– John Tortorella on Joonas Korpisalo's Outburst Against the Philadelphia Flyers

John Tortorella has been harping all season on Korpisalo being a goaltender who a team wants to play in front of. So far, Korpisalo has had a solid statistical start to the season and is gaining trust by his teammates even more through owning his mistakes, rather than needing to be confronted on a tarmac at Tampa International Airport by co-captains Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson. 

"I spent two years with Henrik Lundqvist, where he's such a competitor, it came across that it was him, and (then) the team. I don't think he meant it that way, but that is the way it came across," said Tortorella. "The people have to love playing in front of the goalie, not like playing in front of the goalie, love playing in front of the goalie. That's (Korpisalo's outburst) is a pretty good way of making people not want to play in front of you."

Korpisalo is growing. He's learning what it means to have consistent nights where the players in front of him make his life easy, and nights where it's the polar opposite (like the game against the Flyers). 

"It's a great lesson so early on, in him being a No.1 goalie to learn right now. If it happens again, so help me God, things have to change. Because that cannot be the way you act. I live in that world, I have made the mistakes Korpi made, as a coach. So, I think I understand it too, what he's going through".

Also, if you don't think Tortorella can sympathize, take a look here.

At the end of the day, Bobrovsky's situation last year ran way deeper and had a lot more context behind the flip out, with his impending free agency creating a time bomb in the locker room. However, Blue Jackets fans should still be encouraged that their current starting goaltender is one who clearly is about his team above other agendas.

A bit of fresh air, yes?

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