For a few reasons, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Sergei Bobrovsky seem destined for a messy divorce.
Not the least of which because his coach has literally been here before.
Granted, there are a few things about Bobrovsky’s situation that seem out of John Tortorella’s hands. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and his apparent preference to sign somewhere could theoretically have nothing to do with Tortorella.
(Before the season started, this is what Bobrovsky said about his future in Columbus: “I told the situation to the management of the Blue Jackets, so they know everything. They know my plans for the season. They know my plans for the future…they know everything. You have to ask them.”)
It’s also hard to parse exactly what happened last Tuesday after the Blue Jackets’ 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, when Bobrovsky was told to stay away from the team following his actions after getting pulled from the game by Tortorella.
But the star goalie’s relationship with his coach has never seemed particularly congenial. Even after that Tampa game, which both player and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said had nothing to do with Tortorella, the coach’s antics in the post-game press conference were somewhat comical.
“The release will speak for itself” said Tortorella about a few sentences put out by the team that really said nothing at all.
But aside from that, it’s pretty obvious that tensions between Bobrovsky and Tortorella have been simmering for some time.
The coach has called out the ‘tender’s performance in the playoffs in the past, and did so again in October of this year. He also opted to start backup Joonas Korpisalo in two of the team’s first four games, an odd move when you have a star of Bobrovsky’s calibre on the roster.
The whole scene might seem a tad familiar to Canucks fans.
After all, it was Tortorella’s decision to start Eddie Lack over Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic game back in 2014 that essentially ended the latter’s tenure with the club.
On the eve of what very well might be Luongo’s last NHL game in Vancouver tonight, it’s an interesting moment to look back on.
It was quite well-known at the time that Luongo was looking forward to playing in the “outdoor” game (the roof at BC Place was foolishly closed), and though the Canucks were in a nosedive, veteran players almost always get the courtesy that comes with notable games like the Heritage Classic.
Tortorella, known for his crusty personality and archaic ways, decided that he would give the game to Lack. Two days later, Luongo was traded from the team. It’s something that has obviously stuck with the goaltender.
He recently said that he hadn’t spoken with Tortorella since the incident, though he did recall the coach walking past him silently.
It sure seems like Bobrovsky’s relationship with the team is unsalvageable. And, given his history in this town, it’s easy to pin that on the coach.
Follow @ncaddell on TwitterMore