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Tortorella Out After 6 Years As Columbus Blue Jackets Coach

 Former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella behind the bench during a game on September 23, 2017.
Kamil Krzaczynski
/
AP
Former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella behind the bench during a game on September 23, 2017.

John Tortorella is out as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets after six seasons. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced what he called a “mutual decision" between the team and the winningest coach in franchise history a day after the Blue Jackets finished last in the Central Division.

The 62-year-old Tortorella was in the final season of his contract. The Blue Jackets went 227-166-54 under Tortorella, including a team-best 50-24-8 finish in 2016-17.

Tortorella took the Blue Jackets from a team that routinely finished at or near last place into a perennial playoff contender. He led the club to four straight playoff appearances and its first playoff series victory, a sweep of heavily-favored Tampa Bay in 2019. Prior to his arrival, the Blue Jackets had just two playoff appearances.

The Jackets also saw its best players request trades or leave through free agency over the past three seasons.

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. He also previously coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.