Jarmo Kekalainen Has Faith in John Tortorella To Turn The Blue Jackets' Season Around

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 2, 2021 at 1:57 pm

There's no way around it: the Blue Jackets are in a rut.

They're 0-4-1 in their last five games, and while they currently sit fifth in the Central Division, they are 25th in the NHL in point percentage. When other teams play the games in hand that they have on Columbus, those teams will catch up.

With John Tortorella's contract up after this season, many people were wondering if the longtime Blue Jackets coach might be on the hot seat after an 8-10-5 start. On Tuesday morning, GM Jarmo Kekalainen said that that simply was not the case. 

"This coaching staff has gotten us out of the slumps before...and they are the ones that are going to get out of this jam as well," said Kekalainen. "I don't believe in quick fixes, and blowing up something that you've been building for a while."

In 414 games with the Blue Jackets, Tortorella is 217-150-47, and has taken the club to four consecutive postseasons. His message still resonates with the team, and there aren't any locker room issues. It comes down to confidence and swagger, something that this year's edition of the Blue Jackets is desperately missing. 

"I'm around every day and I have my antennas up," said Kekalainen. "I know they have a tremendous amount of respect for (Tortorella) as a coach. I haven't seen or heard anything that would change that."

Tortorella said that he's not coaching for his job. He's trying to get the best out of his players every single day, and while that hasn't come easily, that he's going to keep trying.

"We're all big boys here," said Tortorella on Tuesday morning. "I'm not going to coach the team to keep my job. I'm going to coach the team to do the best they can for the team and for the organization."

The Blue Jackets have the opportunity to turn the corner tonight vs. the last-place Red Wings, and they'll try to do so with fans in the building for the first time in 366 days. The last game at Nationwide Arena with fans in attendance was March 1st, 2020 vs. the Canucks.

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