Tortorella won’t return as Blue Jackets coach

Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella shouts at an official after a fight between Columbus Blue Jackets’ s Gavin Bayreuther and Florida Panthers’ Sam Bennett during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Columbus Blue Jackets have mutually agreed to part ways with John Tortorella, the franchise’s winningest coach, following a six-year tenure, the team announced Sunday.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced the decision a day after the Blue Jackets (17-26-12) finished last in the Central Division, concluding their season with a 5-4 overtime win against Detroit.

The 62-year-old Tortorella was in the final season of his contract.

Tortorella led the Blue Jackets to four straight playoff appearances after the team qualified for the postseason just twice in its first 15 seasons. The Blue Jackets also won their first playoff series in team history with a four-game sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in a 2019 first-round series.

The Blue Jackets went 227-166-54 under Tortorella, including a team-best 50-24-8 finish in 2016-17.

Tortorella is from Boston and ranks first among U.S.-born coaches in career wins with a 673-541-169 record. He coached Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup title in 2004, and he also coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.

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