Report: Tortorella benched Ryan Johansen due to fitness

New Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella talks about what he saw from his hockey club and whether they can right the ship.

It didn’t take long for John Tortorella to make an impact as new head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Although the team lost its first game under Torts — 3-2 Thursday to the Minnesota Wild — the veteran bench boss made a bold decision involving Ryan Johansen.

Tortorella took Johansen off the top line and benched him late in the game. The star centre only registered 13:57 in ice time, his lowest total since January 2014, and didn’t set foot on the ice in the final six minutes of the game.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Tortorella also questioned whether or not Johansen was in shape.

Reports surfaced early last season that the Blue Jackets were unhappy with Johansen’s fitness level after the Vancouver native missed training camp due to a contract holdout.

Tortorella, who has a history of confrontations with Brooks stemming from his time as coach of the New York Rangers, has yet to respond to the allegation he told Johansen he was out of shape.

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