Columbus Blue Jackets: John Tortorella
On an admittedly short and unworthy list, John Tortorella is far and away the most beloved coach in the short history of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets were founded in 2000, and are still looking to break through in postseason as the only team left in the NHL to have never won a playoff series. It wasn’t until this year that the Blue Jackets could have anything even remotely resembling success, but current head coach John Tortorella is looking change that. The Blue Jackets have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs four times in franchise history, two of those times coming with Tortorella behind the bench.
Columbus brought Tortorella on board midway through the 2015-16 season when the team finished last in the Metropolitan Division, and in his first full season Tortorella brought the Blue Jackets all the way from last in the division to third with a season that included a 16-game winning streak for a playoff berth. In the postseason, the Blue Jackets were beaten the by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.
This postseason, the Tortorella-led Blue Jackets faced off with the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing with the first wild card spot in East. The Blue Jackets took the first two games on the road in overtime, taking a series lead for the first time in their history. Columbus looked well on their way to their first series win, but the Capitals rallied and shut the Blue Jackets down to take the next four straight games and win the series. After a Game 5 loss in overtime, Tortorella guaranteed they would be back for a Game 7, but was unable to deliver on his promise with a Game 6 loss on home ice.
While the Blue Jackets are still looking to break through in the postseason, no other coach has done in Columbus what Tortorella has. With a few more pieces Columbus is bound to break through eventually.